Saturday, September 10, 2011

Iran’s Dirty 9/11 Secrets

by Kenneth R. Timmerman

It has taken nearly ten years, but the real story of Iran’s direct, material involvement in the 9/11 conspiracy is finally coming to light. And it’s being revealed not by the U.S. government or by Congressional investigators but by private attorneys representing families of the 9/11 victims in U.S. District Court.
Just one week before the 9/11 Commission sent its final report to the printers in July 2004, diligent staffers discovered a six-page classified National Security Agency analysis summarizing what the U.S. intelligence community had learned about Iran’s assistance to the 9/11 hijackers.

They happened upon the document by chance. It had been tucked away at the bottom of the last box in the last stack of classified documents they were reviewing. But it was so explosive that several Commissioners pushed hard to make sure the information it contained was included in the final report, despite intense push back from the intelligence community.

The page and a half section that made the final cut (see pages 240-241) details repeated trips to Iran by 8-10 of the “muscle” hijackers between October 2000 and February 2001. Flying in from Saudi Arabia, Damascus, and Beirut, the future hijackers were accompanied by “senior Hezbollah operatives” who were in fact agents of the Iranian regime.

The information was so explosive that the CIA lobbied hard to get it expunged from the final report, in part because they had detected some of the movements as they were occurring but failed to appreciate their import. “They saw them as travel through Iran, not travel to Iran,” a senior 9/11 Commission staffer told me at the time.

By the time the staffers had read into the 75 source documents on a Sunday morning out at NSA headquarters at Fort Meade, MD, the Commission was pushing up against the end of its mandate and could not do any additional work. The information was so serious and had such clear geopolitical import that it “requires further investigation by the U.S. government,” they concluded. Many of the Commissions and senior staff who were aware of the document find assumed someone else would pick up the ball.

But as attorney Thomas Mellon, Jr. and his colleagues representing Fiona Havlish and other 9/11 widows and family members discovered, no such investigation was ever carried out. Not even the Congressional intelligence committees would go near the subject, despite direct appeals from the Havlish plaintiffs and a review of many of the original still-classified documents cited in the report.
I was engaged by the Havlish attorneys in 2004 to carry out the investigation the 9/11 Commission report called on the U.S. government to handle. We had no governmental authority, hardly any budget, and no access to classified intelligence or intelligence assets. But what we found and made public starting this May is enough to hang a fish. Put simply:
• The Islamic Republic of Iran helped design the 9/11 plot;
• provided intelligence support to identify and train the operatives who carried it out;
• allowed the future hijackers to evade U.S. and Pakistani surveillance on key trips to Afghanistan where they received the final order of mission from Osama bin Laden, by escorting them through Iranian borders without passport stamps;
• evacuated hundreds of top al Qaeda operatives from Afghanistan to Iran after the 9/11 just as U.S. forces launched their offensive;
• provided safe haven and continued financial support to al Qaeda cadres for years after 9/11;
• allowed al Qaeda to use Iran as an operational base for additional terror attacks, in particular the May 2003 bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Key elements of our proofs are in bullet points at the end of this article. For those wishing a more detailed account, here is a partially-redacted affidavit I provided to the Court that traces the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relationship al Qaeda back to the early 1990s.

Panic at CIA
As the Havlish case was getting closer to making its information public last year, certain old guard elements within the CIA went into a panic mode, apparently worried that their failure to act on indicators and warnings in 2000 and 2001 would come to light and ruin their post-Agency careers. I can now reveal that they made several attempts to suborn two of the Havlish witnesses who were located overseas.

In the first attempt, in August 2010, an individual presenting himself as a CIA official, told our witness that the Agency wanted to “break” the Havlish litigation against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and considered the witness’s testimony to be crucial to the lawsuit’s success.

He asked the witness to publicly recant his testimony, in exchange for which the CIA official promised to provide him with fresh passports for himself and his family under new identities, as well as a job and two year’s salary guarantee.
The second attempt, in December 2010, was even more audacious. This time, another individual claiming to be a CIA official showed a different witness confidential documents that clearly had been stolen from the legal consortium, then took him into a U.S. embassy and grilled him for five hours.

The stolen documents included internal Havlish memos, PowerPoint presentations, and an excerpt from the videotaped testimony of one of the witnesses. None of these documents had ever been made public nor were they in possession of the witnesses themselves. Havlish took great care to protect these documents out of concern for the security of our witnesses. The CIA officer then asked that the witness retract his testimony and offered him a substantial monetary payment in exchange.

After I reported those attempts at witness tampering to a Congressional oversight committee, they ceased.
In the past six months the intelligence community, under new leadership, has begun to take a hard look at what it actually knew about Iran and al Qaeda prior to the 9/11 attacks. From what I’ve been hearing, what they’re finding is coming as a big shock to a lot of people, especially those who bought into the conventional wisdom that the Shiite fundamentalist regime in Iran would never cooperate with Sunni extremists such as al Qaeda (or Hamas, for that matter).

Recent events in Iraq and Afghanistan, where the U.S. military has publicly cited Iran for providing weapons, money, and military training to the Taliban and other insurgent groups to kill Americans, has helped to change the mindset. So have the announcements over the past two years by the Department of Treasury that Iran is arming and training al Qaeda and the Taliban. Most recently, Treasury designated a group of al Qaeda financiers they revealed were operating out of Iran.

But the big question remains: now that we can begin to appreciate the extent of Iran’s involvement in the 9/11 attacks – and in the ongoing attacks that are killing Americans in Iraq and Afghanistan – what are we going to do about it?

Stay tuned.

Kenneth R. Timmerman is president and CEO of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran, and returns to FPM with this essay. His latest book, St. Peter’s Bones, explores the origins of Islam and the persecuted church in Iraq. He was awarded the Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media prize for Investigative Journalism in February 2011.

Kenneth R. Timmerman


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

Islamist Sleeper Cells Proliferating in Germany

by Soeren Kern

The number of potential Islamic terrorists currently living in Germany has jumped to around 1,000, according to new information provided by the German Interior Ministry.

Many of these home-grown Islamic radicals are apparently socially alienated Muslim youths who are being inflamed by German-language Islamist propaganda that promotes hatred of the West. In some cases, the extremists are being encouraged to join sleeper cells and to one day "awaken" and commit terrorist attacks in Germany and elsewhere.

In a September 4 interview with Bild, Germany's largest-circulation newspaper, German Interior Minister Hans-Peter Friedrich said: "We have almost 1,000 people who could be described as possible Islamist terrorists. Of these, 128 are highly dangerous, that is to say, they are known to be capable of committing serious crimes, including terrorist attacks."

Friedrich said that around 20 of these had received training in camps in places such as Afghanistan and Pakistan that are associated with terrorist groups. He said that these individuals are at least partly under surveillance by Germany's security services.

Although the death of Osama bin Laden has damaged the al-Qaeda terrorist network, the group still represents a threat, Friedrich said. Nevertheless, "the greatest danger today is rather individual offenders. They are difficult to detect," he said.

The head of the German Police Union (DPolG), Rainer Wendt, told the Bild newspaper on September 5 that he was concerned about the presence of clandestine Islamic sleeper cells made up of Muslim immigrants and converts in Germany. He has called for the recruitment of undercover agents to infiltrate the Islamic environment. It is the "only way to monitor the scene," Wendt said.

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

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

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

Friedrich and Wendt were speaking after the August 31 opening in Germany of the trial of a 21-year-old man from Kosovo who said he was acting alone under the influence of Islamist propaganda when he shot and killed two American soldiers at the Frankfurt Airport who were heading to Afghanistan by way of Germany.

The March 2 attack was the first successful attack by a suspected Islamic extremist on German soil. It sparked fears about the danger of "lone wolf" terrorism carried out by a self-radicalized individual, unaffiliated with any organization and previously unknown to the authorities.

German prosecutors say Arid Uka was radicalized by Islamist propaganda he saw on the Internet trying to incite Jihad. They believe he acted alone and did not belong to a terrorist network.

Germany's indigenous militant scene has been steadily growing on the fringes of Muslim communities in the country. Populist imams are using online videos and discussion forums to spread Salafism, an ultra-conservative branch of revivalist Islam with roots in Saudi Arabia that calls for restoring past Muslim glory by forcibly re-establishing an Islamic empire (Caliphate) across the Middle East, North Africa and parts of Europe.

The surge in online Islamist propaganda, much of which warns Muslims that they are not to integrate into German society, comes as immigration from Muslim countries continues to surge. With an estimated 4.3 million Muslims, Germany has Western Europe's second-biggest Islamic population after France.
Whereas much of the Islamist propaganda circulating in Germany once originated in places like North Waziristan, a Pakistani tribal region known for al-Qaeda and Taliban activity, the Islamist movement in Germany is now being fuelled by Muslim immigrants from Turkey, Kurdistan, North Africa, Central Asia as well as West Africa.

One man German officials say is a major security risk is Denis Mamadou Cuspert, a former street rapper of Ghanaian origin. Cuspert, who converted to Islam sometime in 2009, has been accused of inciting violence and unrest through inflammatory videos and fiery speeches that praise terrorists and attack the West.
Some of the Islamists are Germans who recently converted to Islam. This would include former boxer Pierre Vogel, who converted to Islam and studied in Saudi Arabia. He is now an Islamic preacher who rails against Muslim integration into German society.

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

The BfV office in the western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia has analyzed the lives of some 130 Muslim converts living in that region. In their analysis, the BfV concludes that they are very often "unstable characters with abnormalities in the course of socialization." The majority are male and between 20 and 30 years old. About 25% of this group is unemployed. About 60% have committed crimes, before or after their conversion. In about 15% there is an affinity for violence, according to the BfV.

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

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

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

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group.


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Egypt's Military Council Toying with Israel

by Mudar Zahran

While the Egyptian revolution was still boiling, Israel and its close allies were concerned that a change of regime in Egypt might compromise its four-decade long peace treaty with Israel. Shortly after Mubarak was toppled, a study conducted by the Egyptian cabinet's Information and Decision Support Center (IDSC), showed that 67% of Egyptians believed "it was important to uphold the 1979 Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty". For a while this seemed to hold, but now hundreds of protestors are gathered before the Israeli Embassy in Cairo, calling for an end of the treaty. Is Egypt's peace with Israel about to crumble?

Following a terrorist attack near the Israeli resort of Eilat that claimed the lives of eight Israeli civilians and wounded 30 people, the Israeli Defense Forces reacted by killing Hamas terrorist leaders inside Gaza; in the process, some of the attackers fled to the Egyptian border where they detonated a bomb that killed two Egyptian soldiers.

The al-Jazeera news network, however, reported a different story: according to al-Jazeera, Israeli gunships were chasing the terrorists, who were fleeing towards the Egyptian border and launched a strike that killed five Egyptian soldiers in the process.

Shortly after the story broke, scores of Egyptian protesters gathered before the Israeli Embassy in Cairo calling for "Revenge;" for "ending the peace treaty" and "launching a war on Israel." The Egyptian interim government quickly recalled its ambassador from Israel, while the protests before the Israeli Embassy in Cairo continued evolving into an epic scene when an Egyptian young man, who immediately became a national hero called "Spiderman," climbed the 18-storey building in which the Israeli embassy is located, and took down the Israeli flag.

This fiasco served the military council ruling Egypt well in many ways: instantly, it took away the attention of the Egyptian public from their demands, especially those relating to political reform and livelihood, and shifted their focus onto Israel, so now they can drive their anger onto something else while the fact remains that no serious improvements have touched either political freedoms or the livelihoods of Egyptians, who paid for the regime change with their blood.

At the same time, Egypt's military council has been able to remind Israel and the West of the significance of its work by keeping the Egyptian masses from attacking Israel -- a trick all Arab dictators neighboring Israel have played at times of political pressure, be it Jordan's King Abdullah, Syria's Assad or even people as far from Israel as Libya's Colonel Muammar Qaddafi, when he took into the streets with one million Libyans in 2001, all chanting anti-Israeli slogans, and pledging war on Israel at a time when the Bush administration was calling for political reform in Arab countries.

Two things are significant about the ongoing anti-Israeli protests in front of the Israeli Embassy in Egypt: The protesters were few in numbers compared to other protests in Egypt since January 2011. Also, what the protesters were calling for is nothing new: during Mubarak's reign, when Egyptians would face jail and torture for merely criticizing the regime, they were always allowed to organize anti-Israeli protesters. The Egyptian TV industry—one of the most prominent in the Middle East and North Africa-- was not able to criticize the president, but it could criticize and demonize Israel and Jews all they wished. A popular Egyptian lifestyle show, for example, "Roubou Mushakil," or "A Quarter-Pound of Assorted Desserts," rarely comes close to criticizing the government; nonetheless, a fixture of the weekly show is about "Misha'a" and "Isra Ben Samaan," portrayed as two Israeli orthodox Jews who are stupid, ignorant, cheap, and sexually-depraved, with ambitions of working for the Mossad to spy on Arabs. The show has been on Egyptian TV for years, and made it through the Egyptian revolution uninterrupted -- in other words, business as usual.
Moreover, the Egyptian Military Council has been able to utilize the killing of its soldiers perfectly. It is now demanding the redeployment of its soldiers in Sinai Peninsula that lies between Israel and Egypt. While this might seem like an expedient way for even the Israelis to address the problem of Egyptian terrorists and materiel infiltrating into Israel from across the Sinai Desert, it is against the Camp David Peace Treaty that Egypt signed with Israel more than four decades ago to limit Egypt's military presence there. The Egyptian withdrawal from the Sinai Desert was Israel's condition for withdrawing its own forces from Sinai, an area from which which the Egyptians had been unable to drive out the Israelis by force.

The Egyptian military Council is dancing an ugly dance of defusing anger from the public, then pouring it down on Israel. This gambit might escalate into serious trouble for the Military Council before anyone else if it picks up momentum and turns into a public demand for fighting Israel. So far, combat with Israel is not the public's choice; and so far, at least, the leaders of the Egyptian revolution have not called for a million-man-protests for this cause.

Should peace with Israel end, the Egyptian Military Council has the most to lose, as the peace treaty has brought serious US financial support to Egypt's military, approximately $1.3 billion annually, that possibly translates into the lavish life styles by which Egypt's military commanders were reported by al-Jazeera to live, while the revolution was still boiling at Tahrir Square.

The current situation could also serve the Israelis and their American allies as an opportunity to re-establish the understanding for peace with Arab regimes. Many Israelis and pro-Israeli American forces sensualize peace with Arab regimes to the point of romance, such as the peace with the late King Hussein of Jordan, and his son Abdullah, as well as the peace with Egypt under the late Anwar Sadat. These men were not the dovish peace lovers that the Israeli establishment might imagine them to be. They had just given up on fighting Israel when they understood for a fact that they could not defeat Israel at war, and could even end up losing much. But while their war machines have been silenced, other methods have not: their media has always demonized Israel and charged up their people against it; they would not hesitate to harm Israel politically at every opportunity, as in Mubarak's patronage of Arafat, and King Abdullah of Jordan's demographic harassment of Israel by stripping his Palestinians of their Jordanian citizenship while going on Israeli TV Channel 2 and saying "Israel faces a demographic threat."

Israel should come to accept that it will always live on hostile ground, no matter what the surface might show; sadly, it should literally stick to its guns, even while talking peace. While there are leaders in the Arab world who might like peace with Israel and democratic reforms, there are also always those who, as in the assassination of Egypt's former president, Anwar Sadat, consider it their holiest duty to make sure that the "true" Way, or Sharia, is taken instead.

Mudar Zahran


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

A Stunning Shift of Iran's Image in the Arab World

by Dan Murphy

Pollster James Zogby surveyed Arab public opinion about Iran in June, and released his findings at the end of July. I glanced at the poll when it came out, intended to write something about it and then forgot about it.

It came to mind again today because of a small piece I wrote about Iraq this morning, in which I included a statement from senators Joe Lieberman, John McCain, and Lindsay Graham predicting that Iran's influence in Iraq will skyrocket in response to a withdrawal of most US troops from that country (which looks increasingly likely). I also came across a story in the Wall Street Journal yesterday which, citing unnamed officials, says US officers are seeking authority to conduct "covert operations to thwart Iranian influence" in Iraq.

What Mr. Zogby found was a stunning reversal in Iran's general popularity among six Arab nations of the region. Five years ago, Iran and Hezbollah – the Shiite militant group that has become a major political power in Lebanon – were on a high, symbols of resistance to the US and foreign occupation in the region. But with the US drawdown in Iraq, the domestically driven political change sweeping countries like Egypt and Libya, and Iran's own brutality against domestic democracy activists, Iran's ability to exert soft power in the region has clearly taken a beating.

Asked if Iran plays a positive or negative role in the region, large majorities in Morocco, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates said "positive" five years ago. In the latest poll, those numbers were almost exactly reversed. In Morocco, Iran dropped from an 82 percent "positive" rating in 2006, to an 85 percent "negative" rating today. In Egypt, the shift was from 89 percent positive to 63 percent negative. In Saudi Arabia, it went from 85 percent positive to 80 percent negative, and in the UAE it went from 68 percent positive to 70 percent negative.

Only in Lebanon itself, which has a large Shiite population, did Iran retain a positive rating, down from 71 percent positive last time around to 63 percent now.

I don't think the declining US military role in Iraq and decline in support for Iran are disconnected. With the near disappearance of the US military fighting in Iraq from regional front pages, attention has refocused on Iran's treatment of its own people. Supporters of the uprising that threw Hosni Mubarak from power in Egypt can look across at Iran's own Green Movement, for the moment largely squashed by repressive government measures, and draw a line between Mr. Mubarak and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

What does this mean in practical terms? I'm not really sure. Iranian political influence in its neighbor Iraq is a current fact of life. Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki received support from Iran while he was fighting Saddam Hussein from exile and is close to Tehran, as are other Shiite and Kurdish political figures in Iraq. Polling of attitudes in countries like Egypt aren't going to change Iran's views of what's in its own best interests, and creating an alliance with Iraq – with which it fought a mutually ruinous war in the 1980s, has got to be near the top of the list.

When I was living in Egypt and Baghdad, I remember much worry about the growing popularity of Iran in diplomatic circles. It's worth noting that now Arab publics are demanding and receiving a stronger voice inside their own countries, and that the tide of opinion in Iran's favor appears to have completely reversed.

Dan Murphy


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Israeli Tensions Rise over ‘Radical Islamic Winter’

by P. David Hornik

A battle raged in Israel this week—for the time being, a verbal one. It started with some words from the homefront commander, Maj. Gen. Eyal Eisenberg, in a conference at Tel Aviv University on Monday.
First it should be noted that the Israeli Homefront Command only goes back to 1992, when it was set up in the wake of Saddam Hussein’s Scud missile attacks on Israeli cities during the First Gulf War. Since that time, in fact, attacks on Israel—whether suicide-bombing campaigns and other terror, or rocket and mortar barrages from Gaza and Lebanon—have been waged primarily against the civilian population, that is, the homefront.

Eisenberg indeed mentioned that during the most recent barrage from Gaza last month, a “new weapon” was fired and as “a result we instructed the public to take extra precautions and to seek cover under two roofs and not just one.” That remark fell within the purview of his post.
It was more far-reaching statements by Eisenberg, though, that sparked controversy. As he said:
The revolutions and upsets in the Arab world, coupled with the deteriorating relations with Turkey, might lead to an all-out regional war…. What is called the Arab Spring can become a radical Islamic winter, which increases the likelihood of an all-out regional war, and this might even involve weapons of mass destruction.
The “deteriorating relations with Turkey” Eisenberg mentioned got even worse in the course of the week as Turkish prime minister Erdogan, in a tizzy over the fact that the UN’s Palmer Commission mainly blamed Turkey for last year’s Mavi Marmara incident and the fact that Israel refused to apologize for its soldiers’ self-defense against a violent Turkish mob aboard that ship, reacted by drastically downgrading diplomatic ties with Israel, ending defense trade between the two countries, threatening Israel with naval warfare, and hinting at forming an anti-Israeli alliance with Egypt.

The latter country also figured in Eisenberg’s statements when he said: “The Egyptian military has been overwhelmed, effectively losing its grip over the Sinai; what was once a manifestation of Egypt’s strategic choice to maintain peace has now been supplanted by terrorism.” As for Jordan, he said its stability was far from assured; and as for Iran, he noted that its nuclear program is moving “full steam ahead.”

The first one to take issue—sharp issue—with Eisenberg’s words was Amos Gilad, political adviser to Defense Minister Ehud Barak. Calling the homefront commander’s assertions “too simplistic and incorrect,” Gilad said in a radio interview on Tuesday:
Our security situation has never been better: There is no terrorism inside Israel, we have deterrence in the north and south, we are not facing a coalition of Arab armies and the regimes in the region are stable, although there are some processes underway that we must watch closely.
In other words, it seemed as if Eisenberg and Gilad, both professionals in the area of Israeli security and related matters, were living in different worlds. And later on Tuesday, it was Defense Minister Barak himself who came out against Eisenberg’s statements, saying after a tour of the Lebanese border: “We do not see a reason why any of our enemies would launch a broad attack against Israel at this time.”

As for Eisenberg’s warning about mass-destruction weapons, Barak said: “They know full-well why they should not even think about using chemical weapons against Israel.”

In turn, Barak’s claims drew a particularly bitter riposte on Thursday from Israel Harel, one of the few hawkish voices at the left-wing daily Haaretz. Regarding Barak’s supposedly cowed, passive enemies who would not launch an attack, Harel asked:
None of them? Really? Not even Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Why exactly has [Hezbollah leader] Hassan Nasrallah been stockpiling thousands of rockets [in Lebanon]? Have we really heard no hostile voices coming from Egypt? Why are missiles, some of them capable of hitting Ben-Gurion International Airport, being smuggled into Gaza? And does anyone really know what might happen next in Amman?
And as for the adversaries’ supposed knowledge that using chemical weapons against Israel would be unwise, Harel retorted:
Sorry, but they don’t know. Because Barak and his ilk, the serial threateners, have taught them that threats like “It’s not worth it for them” are idle threats.
Who’s right?

Was Eisenberg, the homefront commander, needlessly scaring the citizens with visions of all-out war and WMD attacks? Or was he raising timely warnings?

First it should be pointed out that Eisenberg himself subsequently qualified his words by saying they referred to a “worst-case-scenario situation.” But with that caveat in mind, it has to be stated with regret that Eisenberg—and Harel, and those like them—are talking sense while Barak and Gilad—yes, the defense minister and his adviser—and those like them are mouthing folly.

Particularly astonishing are Gilad’s statements; there is “no terrorism inside Israel” only if rocket fire doesn’t count as terror, and meanwhile on Thursday the Shin Bet (internal security service) announced the arrest of 13 Hamas cells on the West Bank that were in advanced stages of planning attacks—which were, in other words, narrowly averted. And if Israel’s “deterrence in the north,” in Gilad’s phrase, is arguably working for now (while Hezbollah amasses rockets), residents of southern Israel, who just a week ago were scampering to air raid shelters in the middle of the night, can only be perplexed to hear that it’s been working there, too.
Even stranger, though, is Gilad’s assertion that “the regimes in the region are stable”—as the post-Mubarak military clique in Cairo wavers before the Islamist tide, and the Assad regime in Syria fights for its life. True, the fall of the latter would be a blow to Iran’s alliance; but the possibility of Assad’s Alawites being replaced by an extremist Sunni regime that could become part of no-less-threatening alliances is very real.

As for stable regimes, there are indeed some in the region—such as Erdogan’s in Ankara, becoming more Islamist and menacing by the day, and that old mainstay, the mullahs in Tehran, with Ahmadinejad continuing to foretell Israel’s demise and the IAEA sounding the alarm about its nuclear progress.

Overall: the post-“Arab spring” regional situation is fluid to the point of chaotic, hence unpredictable. Worst-case scenarios from Israel’s standpoint need not materialize; but to discount them is irresponsible folly. That the administration in Washington views Israel’s possible action against the current fulcrum of hostility—Iran—as perhaps the greatest evil, to be prevented at all costs, may be the most unsettling datum of all.

P. David Hornik


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

The War America Fights

by Caroline Glick

Ten years ago, in the shadow of the crater at Ground Zero, the smoldering Pentagon and a field of honor in Pennsylvania, America found itself at war.

Today, a decade on, America is still at war.

Ten years after the September 11, 2001, attacks, the time has come to assess the progress of America's war. But to assess its progress, we must first understand the war.

What war has the US been fighting since September 11? 

President George W. Bush called the war the War on Terror. The War on Terror is a broad tactical campaign to prevent Islamic terrorists from targeting America.

The War on Terror has achieved some notable successes. These include Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan which denied al-Qaida free rein in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban.

They also include the overthrow of Saddam Hussein and his fascist regime in Iraq, which played a role - albeit far less significant than the Taliban regime and others - in supporting Islamic terrorism against the US.

Moreover, the US has successfully prevented multiple attempts by Islamic terrorists to carry out additional mass terror attacks on US territory.

This achievement, however, is at least partially a function of luck. On two occasions - the Shoe Bomber in 2001 and the Underwear Bomber in 2009 - Islamic terrorists with bombs were able to board airplanes en route to the US and attempt to detonate those bombs in mid-air. The fact that their attacks were foiled by their fellow passengers is a tribute to the passengers, not to the success of the US war effort.

The US's success in killing Osama bin Laden and other senior al-Qaida members is another clear achievement of this war.

But 10 years on, the fact that Islamic terrorism directed against the US remains a salient threat to US national security shows that the War on Terror is far from won.

And this makes sense. Despite its significant successes, the War on Terror suffers from three inherent problems that make it impossible for the US to win.

The first problem is that the US has unevenly applied its tactic of denying terrorists free rein in territory of their choosing. In his historic speech before the Joint Houses of Congress on September 20, 2001, Bush pledged, "We will pursue nations that provide aid or safe haven to terrorism. Every nation in every region now has a decision to make: Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime."

And yet, while the US applied this principle in Afghanistan and Iraq, it applied it only partially in Pakistan, and failed to apply it all in Iran, Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority. By essentially ending its application of the counterterror tactic of denying terrorists free rein of territory and punishing regimes that provide them shelter, the options left to the US in fighting its war on terror have been reduced to catch-as-catch-can killing and capturing of terrorists, and reactive actions such as arresting or detaining terrorists when they are caught on US soil.

On the positive side, these limited tactics can keep terrorists off balance if they are applied consistently and over the long term. Taken together, the tactics of targeted killing and financial strangulation comprise a strategy of long-term containment not unlike the US's strategy in the Cold War. US containment then caused the Soviet Union to exhaust itself and collapse after 45 years of superpower competition.

UNFORTUNATELY, THE US's containment strategy in its War on Terror is undermined by the second and third problems inherent to its policies.

The second problem is that since September 11, 2001, the US has steadfastly refused to admit the identity of the enemy it seeks to defeat.

US leaders have called that enemy al-Qaida, they have called it extremism or extremists, fringe elements of Islam and radicals. But of course the enemy is jihadist Islam which seeks global leadership and the destruction of Western civilization. Al-Qaida is simply an organization that fights on the enemy's side. As long as the enemy is left unaddressed, organizations like al-Qaida will continue to proliferate.

It isn't that US authorities do not acknowledge among themselves whom the enemy is. They do track Islamic leaders, and in general prosecute jihadists when they can build cases against them.

But their refusal to acknowledge the nature of the enemy has paralyzed their ability to confront and defeat threats as they arise. For instance, US Army Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan was not removed from service or investigated, despite his known support for jihad and his communication with leading jihadists. Rather, he was promoted and placed in a position where he was capable of massacring 12 soldiers and one civilian at Fort Hood, Texas.

Had the US not been in denial about the identity of its enemy, Hasan's victims would likely be alive today.

So too, the US's refusal to identify its enemy has made it impossible for US officials to understand and contend with the mounting threat from Turkey. Because the US refuses to recognize radical Islam as its enemy, it fails to connect Turkey's erratic and increasingly hostile behavior to the fact that the country is ruled by an Islamist government.

In the face of the rising political instability and uncertainty in the Arab world, the US's refusal to reckon with the fact that radical Islam is the enemy fighting it bodes ill for the future. Quite simply, America is willfully blinding itself to emerging dangers. These dangers are particularly acute in Egypt where the US has completely failed to recognize the threat the Muslim Brotherhood constitutes to its core regional interests and its national security.

The last problem intrinsic to the US's War on Terror is the persistent and powerful strain of appeasement that guides so much of US policy towards the Muslim world.

This appeasement is multifaceted and pervades nearly every aspect of the US's relations with the Islamic world.

The urge to appeasement caused the US to divorce the Islamic jihad against the US from the Islamic jihad against Israel from the outset.

Appeasement has been the chief motivating factor informing the US's intense support for Palestinian statehood and its refusal to reassess this policy in the face of Palestinian terrorism, jihadism and close ties with Iran.

Appeasement provoked the US to embrace radical Islamic religious leaders and terror operatives such as Sami Arian and Abdurahman Alamoudi as credible leaders in the US Muslim community. It stood behind the decisions of both the Bush and Obama administrations to embrace US affiliates of the Muslim Brotherhood as legitimate leaders of the American Muslim community and to court the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood to the detriment of US ally former president Hosni Mubarak.

Appeasement stood behind the US's bid to try to entice Iran to end its nuclear weapons programs with grand bargains.

It motivated US's decision not to confront Syria on its known support for al-Qaida and Hezbollah as well as Palestinian terror groups; its proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; or its involvement in facilitating the insurgency in Iraq.

It is what has compelled the US not to seek the dismantlement of Hezbollah in Lebanon and indeed to fund and arm the Hezbollah-controlled government and army of Lebanon.

The urge to appease has motivated the US's decision to take no action to stem the advance of Iran and its terror allies and proxies in al-Qaida and Hezbollah in Latin America.

WHEN A nation engages in appeasement at the same time it wages war, its appeasement efforts always undermine its war efforts. This is particularly the case, however, in long-term wars of containment such as the one the US is fighting against Islamic terrorism.

The logic guiding a containment strategy is that an enemy force will eventually collapse if kept off balance for long enough. Given that militarily the forces of Islamic jihad are weaker than the US, it is reasonable to assume that if applied consistently for long enough, a policy of containment can indeed cause the forces of global jihad to collapse.

The chronic instability of the Iranian regime and the current unrest in Syria demonstrate the structural weakness of these regimes. The dependence of terror groups such as Hezbollah, al-Qaida and Hamas on the support of governments make clear that containment could potentially defeat them as well by drying out their support structure at its roots.

The problem is that the US's moves to appease its enemies empower them to keep fighting.

Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah are far stronger militarily today than they were on September 11, 2001. Hamas controls Gaza and would likely win any Palestinian elections. 

Hezbollah controls Lebanon.

Iran is on the verge of nuclear weapons and is poised to become the predominant power in Iraq. Its Egyptian nemesis Hosni Mubarak is gone.

Ten years ago Iran and its terror allies and proxies could have only dreamed of having the presence on the Western Hemisphere they enjoy today.

In Europe the threat of domestic terrorism is more salient than ever because the jihadist forces and leaders on the continent have been appeased rather than combated by both the governments of Europe and the US.

The US was able to win the Cold War through its policy of containment because throughout the long conflict there was strong majority support in the US for continuing to pursue the war effort. Despite the widespread nature of Soviet efforts at political subversion, US public opinion remained firmly anti-Soviet until the Berlin Wall was finally destroyed.

The US government's moves to appease its Islamic enemies undermine the domestic consensus supporting the War on Terror. And without such domestic solidarity around the necessity of combating jihadist terrorists, there is little chance that the US will be able to continue to enact its containment strategy for long enough to facilitate victory.

Even as it has continued to prosecute the War on Terror, since it came to power in January 2009 the Obama administration has worked intensively to confuse the American people about its nature, necessity and goals. President Barack Obama dropped the name "War on Terror" for the nebulous "overseas contingency operation." He has rejected the term "terrorism," and expunged the term "jihad" from the official lexicon. In so doing, he made it impermissible for US government officials to hold coherent discussions about the war they are charged with waging. Meanwhile, the public has been invited to question whether the US has the right to fight at all.

Today the events of September 11 are still vivid enough in the American memory for America to continue the fight despite the administration's efforts to discredit the war in the national discourse and imagination. But how long will that memory be strong enough to serve as the primary legitimating force behind a war that even in its limited form is far from won?

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

Caroline Glick


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How Obama "Misled" the Palestinians

by Khaled Abu Toameh

If anyone is to be held responsible for the Palestinian Authority leadership's decision to ask the UN to recognize a Palestinian state along the pre-1967 lines, it is US President Barack Obama and his Middle East advisors.

When and if violence erupts in the Palestinian territories after the UN vote later this month, it will be the direct result of Obama's failed Middle East policy, which is likely to see a dramatic rise in anti-American sentiments not only among the Palestinians, but also throughout the Arab and Islamic world.

Through their statements over the past three years, the Americans gave the Palestinian Authority and many Arabs the impression that Washington is in favor of a Palestinian state at all costs.

The Obama Administration had also initially given the Palestinians the impression that the US was "on our side," and would force Israel to accept all their demands, first and foremost a complete withdrawal to the pre-June, 1967 lines and the re-division of Jerusalem.

Palestinian leaders in Ramallah say that Obama has misled them twice in the past few years: first, when he gave them the impression that the US would support a Palestinian state even if it is not achieved through negotiations and, second, when he dropped his demand for a full cessation of settlement construction.

Obama is now being condemned by Palestinian Authority officials for being "biased in favor of Israel" and succumbing to the "powerful Jewish lobby" in the US.

The Palestinian Authority has reached a stage where it prefers to embark on a collision course with Obama than abandon its statehood plan.

In his meeting this week with US envoys David Hale and Dennis Ross, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas reminded them that his decision to seek UN recognition of a Palestinian state was in accordance with "promises" made by Obama – who is not trying to stop the statehood bid.

The Palestinian Authority is even using a speech by Obama to the UN General Assembly last year in which he voiced support for the establishment of a Palestinian state before the end of this year.

In the speech, which is now being used as part of a media campaign, broadcast on Palestine radio to drum up support for the statehood initiative, Obama says: "When we come back here next year, we can have an agreement that can lead to a new member of the United Nations, an independent, sovereign state of Palestine living in peace with Israel."

At the end of the radio spot, Abbas states, quite sarcastically: "If he [Obama] said it, he must have meant it."

Abbas's aides say that the media campaign is intended to expose Obama's "lies" and "hypocrisy."

Many Palestinians are now planning anti-US demonstrations when and if Washington uses the veto to foil the statehood bid at the UN Security Council. The Palestinian Authority, which relies heavily on US funding, is also taking part in the campaign of incitement against the US.

"The same Obama who promised us a state by the end of 2011 is now threatening to veto it at the UN and impose financial sanctions on the Palestinian Authority," said one aide. "Instead of supporting our move at the UN and exerting pressure on Israel to change its policies, Obama is sending us his envoys in an attempt to thwart the creation of a Palestinian state."

Khaled Abu Toameh 


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Thursday, September 8, 2011

At NY Times, a headline writer eager to smear Israel

by Lee Kayser

On Sept. 7, Stewart D. Nosette, a former senior government scientist with highest security clearances, pleaded guilty to espionage and accepted a 13-year prison term for trying to sell top-secret information to an FBI agent posing as an Israeli spy.

At the sentencing, the Justice Department emphasized that Nosette was not charged with spying for Israel -- in its probe, the FBI found that Nosette also showed an intent to sell classified information to another country, which so far has not been named.

In his meetings with the FBI impersonator of an Israeli agent, Nosette asked for $2 million and an Israeli passport. His motive for offering to spy thus was clearly due to greed -- not to any personal political or ideological agenda.

As a result, the Justice Department emphasized that the government did not allege that "Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed any offense." Nosette was simply looking for a way to cash in his access to top-secret materials for a big score.

The New York Times runs the story in its Sept. 8 edition under the following headline:

"Ex-White House Scientist Pleads Guilty in Spy Case Tied to Israel" -- page A18.

Nosette's intended espionage "tied to Israel"? Where does the Times get off making such a toxic allegation? Especially since the Justice Department unambiguously stressed that the sting operation and the indictment against Nosette were not tied to Israel in any shape or form.

Headlines are supposed to reflect the actual content of articles. In this case, a headline writer brushed aside the Justice Department's declaration that there was no connection whatsoever to Israel -- duly noted by Times reporter Scott Shane -- and decided that the headline would state the very opposite. Why? Perhaps because libels against Israel seem to be de rigueur at the Times anyway -- as attested again in this instance when a libelous headline sailed through all the supposed editing checks.

Lee Kayser


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Islamic Sharia Law Proliferates in Germany

by Soeren Kern

The spread of Islamic Sharia law in Germany is far more advanced than previously thought, and German authorities are "powerless" to do anything about it, according to a new book about the Muslim shadow justice system in Germany.

The 236-page book titled "Judges Without Law: Islamic Parallel Justice Endangers Our Constitutional State," which was authored by Joachim Wagner, a German legal expert and former investigative journalist for ARD German public television, says Islamic Sharia courts are now operating in all of Germany's big cities.

This "parallel justice system" is undermining the rule of law in Germany, Wagner says, because Muslim arbiters-cum-imams are settling criminal cases out of court without the involvement of German prosecutors or lawyers before law enforcement can bring the cases to a German court.

Settlements reached by the Muslim mediators often mean perpetrators are able to avoid long prison sentences, while victims receive large sums in compensation or have their debts cancelled, in line with Sharia law, according to Wagner. In return, they are required to make sure their testimony in court does not lead to a conviction.

German police do investigate cases involving serious crimes. But parallel to that, special Muslim arbitrators, also known as "peace judges," are commissioned by the families concerned to mediate and reach an out-of-court settlement.

In an interview with the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, Wagner said political correctness in Germany is contributing to the problem: "I've studied 16 recent crime cases here with Muslim citizens involved. In almost 90% of all cases where Muslim arbitrators were commissioned, the perpetrators were acquitted by German courts or the cases were dropped altogether by the prosecution for lack of evidence. It's an alarming finding, and it throws a bad light on our courts."

In fact, German judges often refer and/or defer to Sharia law. For example, the Federal Social Court in Kassel recently supported the claim of a second wife for a share of her dead husband's pension payments, which his first wife wanted to keep all to herself. The judge ruled they should share the pension.

In another case, the Administrative Appeals Court in Koblenz granted the second wife of an Iraqi living in Germany, the right to stay in the country. She had already been married to him and living in Germany for five years, after which the court said it would not be fair to send her to Iraq alone.

A judge in Cologne ruled that an Iranian man should repay his wife's dowry of 600 gold coins to her after their divorce – referring to the Sharia which is followed in Iran. A court in Düsseldorf arrived at a similar verdict, forcing a Turkish man to repay a €30,000 ($43,000) dowry to his former daughter-in-law.

In March 2007, Judge Christa Datz-Winter, a judge at Frankfurt's family court cited the Islamic Koran in a divorce case involving a 26-year-old German woman of Moroccan origin, who was terrified of her violent Moroccan husband, a man who had continued to threaten her despite having been ordered to stay away by the authorities. He had beaten his wife and he had allegedly threatened to kill her.

Judge Datz-Winter refused to grant the divorce, arguing that a woman who marries a Muslim should know what she is getting herself into. In her ruling, the judge quoted Sura 4, verse 34 of the Koran. She wrote that the Koran contains "both the husband's right to use corporal punishment against a disobedient wife and the establishment of the husband's superiority over the wife."

In February 2011, Germany's Federal Labor Court ruled that a Muslim supermarket employee can refuse to handle alcohol on religious grounds. The case in question involved a Muslim man who was employed in a supermarket in the northern German city of Kiel. He refused to stock shelves with alcoholic drinks, saying that his religion forbade him from any contact with alcohol, and was dismissed as a result in March 2008.

In an interview with the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Wagner described the Islamic shadow justice system in Germany as "very foreign, and for a German lawyer, completely incomprehensible at first. It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbitrators aren't interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and unlike in German criminal law, the question of who is at fault doesn't play much of a role."

When Der Spiegel asked why it was wrong for two parties to try to resolve a dispute between themselves, Wagner replied: "The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses. At that point they undermine the state monopoly on violence. Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I've experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It's often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family."

Wagner's findings largely confirm a report published by the German Interior Ministry in 2009 which warned that Islamic groups in Germany want to live under Sharia law in Germany.

Wagner's book comes at a time when Germany is immersed in a heated national debate over Muslim immigration. That debate was launched in August 2010 with the publication of a best-selling book titled "Germany Does Away With Itself," which broke Germany's long-standing taboo on discussing the impact of Muslim immigration.

Authored by Thilo Sarrazin, a renowned German banker who is also a long-time member of the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), the book is now on its 20th edition. At last count, more than 1.5 million copies have been sold, making it one of the most widely read titles in Germany since the Second World War.

Sarrazin's book has resonated with vast numbers of ordinary Germans who are becoming increasingly uneasy about the social changes that are transforming Germany, largely due to the presence of millions of non-integrated Muslims in the country.

German President Christian Wulff has tried to defuse the row ignited by Sarrazin. During a keynote speech to mark the 20th anniversary of German reunification on October 3, 2010, Wulff proclaimed that "Islam belongs in Germany" because of the four million Muslims who now live there. Germany has Western Europe's second-biggest Islamic population after France, with Turks the single biggest minority.

Opinion polls, however, show broad public support for Sarrazin's argument that many Muslim immigrants shut themselves off from Germany, do not speak German and do not share the German, European or Western worldview.

According to a poll conducted by the mass-circulation Bild am Sonntag, 89% of those surveyed say Sarrazin's arguments are convincing. "For them, Sarrazin is somebody who is finally saying what many are thinking," according to the pollsters.

The Friedrich Ebert Foundation, a think tank linked to the center-left Social Democratic Party (SPD), recently published a survey which found that many Germans believe their country is being "overrun" by Muslim immigrants. It also found that these views are not isolated at the extremes of German society, but are to a large degree "at the center of it."

An opinion survey, "Perception and Acceptance of Religious Diversity," conducted by the sociology department of the University of Münster, in partnership with the prestigious TNS Emnid political polling firm, shows that only 34% of West Germans and 26% of East Germans have a positive view of Muslims. Fewer than 5% of Germans think Islam is a tolerant religion, and only 30% say they approve of the building of mosques. The number of Germans who approve of the building of minarets or the introduction of Muslim holidays is even lower.

Fewer than 10% of West Germans and 5% of East Germans say that Islam is a peaceful religion. More than 40% of Germans believe that the practice of Islam should be vigorously restricted.

Only 20% of Germans believe that Islam is suitable for the Western world. Significantly, and more than 80% of Germans agree with the statement "that Muslims must adapt to our culture."

As the political winds shift, so are German politicians. After initially distancing herself from Sarrazin's views, German Chancellor Angela Merkel recently said Germany's roots are Judeo-Christian. She also said: "Now we obviously have Muslims in Germany. But it is important in regard to Islam that the values represented by Islam must correspond with our constitution. What applies here is the constitution, not Sharia law."

But the proliferation of Sharia law in Germany suggests Merkel is mistaken: Sharia law now does apply in Germany.

Soeren Kern


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Where Are We, Ten Years After 9/11?

by Frank Gaffney, Jr.

So, where are we ten years after 9/11? It is comforting that we have been blessed with a near-unbroken decade without further mass-casualty attacks since those that killed nearly 3,000 Americans on September 11, 2001. Unfortunately, our government is pursuing policies that can only encourage those who aspire to do us harm to redouble their efforts.

Such an assessment was implicit in a critique of President Obama's new counter-terrorism"strategy" delivered last week by Senate Homeland Security Committee Chairman Joseph Lieberman. The Democrat-turned-Independent from Connecticut described the President's so-called "Empowering Local Partners to Prevent Violent Extremism in the United States" white paper as "ultimately a big disappointment":

The administration's plan... suffers from several significant weaknesses. The first is that the administration still refuses to call our enemy in this war by its proper name, violent Islamist extremism. We can find names that are comparable to that, but not the one that the administration continues to use which [is] ‘violent extremism.' It is not just violent extremism. There are many forms of violent extremism. There's white racist extremism, there's been some eco-extremism, there's been animal rights extremism. You can go on and on and on. There's skinhead extremism, but we're not in a global war with those.

Sen. Lieberman observed, "We're in a global war that affects our homeland security with Islamist extremists. To call our enemy violent extremism is so general and vague that it ultimately has no meaning. The other term used sometimes is ‘Al-Qaida and its allies.' Now, that's better, but it still is too narrow."

The Homeland Security Committee chairman concluded:

It is vital to understand that we're not just fighting an organization Al-Qaida, but we are up against a broader ideology, a politicized theology, quite separate from the religion of Islam that has fueled this war. Success in the war will come consequently not when a single terrorist group or its affiliates are eliminated, but when broader set of ideas associated with it are rejected and discarded. The reluctance to identify our enemy as violent Islamist extremism makes it harder to mobilize effectively to fight this war of ideas.

As it happens, Sen. Lieberman is, like President Obama, right up to a point. If we are properly to recognize the enemy we face, however, we must appreciate two facts the Senator misses, as well: 1) The threat from adherents to the "politicized ideology that has fueled this war" are also using non-violent - or, more accurately, pre-violent - techniques to wage it against us. And 2) that ideology is actually not "separate from the religion of Islam." Rather, this politico-military-legal doctrine known as shariah is derived from the sacred texts, interpretations, rulings and scholarly consensuses of Islam. The reality that many Muslims around the world practice their faith without following the dictates of shariah simply means that some believe this code is separable from Islam. But, it is surely not "separate" from it.

These errors are at the heart of the present danger ten years after 9/11 - namely, a failure to recognize that, in addition to "violent extremism" at the hands of Islamists, we confront what Professor Richard Landes of Boston University has characterized as those foes' concerted efforts in the area of "cognitive warfare." The author of a timely new book, "Heaven on Earth: The Varieties of the Millennial Experience," writes in a riveting essay published online at Tablet, that:

Cognitive warfare aims to paralyze the will of the enemy to resist attack, to maneuver that enemy into adopting vulnerable positions, and eventually to get him to give up in a conflict. In cognitive warfare, real violence (such as terror attacks) are adjuncts to the mental conflict, and the targets of such warfare are large audiences both among populations at home (recruitment and mobilization) and, still more significantly, among the enemy (paralysis)....

One the most important dimensions of their cognitive war is to get infidels, even without being conquered, tobehave according to the restrictions of Islam. Among the most important impositions we have seen of this the absolute prohibition on criticizing Allah or his prophet [known as "shariah blasphemy" laws]. Thus, a major battlefield of the cognitive war between jihadis and the West concerns tolerance for criticism of the other.

Cognitive warfare, or what the Muslim Brotherhood calls "civilization jihad," is about creating the conditions under which so-called "non-violent" Islamists can achieve their ultimate objective - which is precisely the same as the one pursued by their violent co-religionists: imposing shariah worldwide and a Caliph to rule according to it.

So where are we ten years after shariah-adherent Islamists sought to destroy the centers of American economic, military and government power? We remain dangerously exposed to similar sorts of violence from an enemy the President declines to name. Worse yet, to the extent we fail to perceive the cognitive war being waged against us against by al Qaeda's partners in the Muslim Brotherhood and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation - to say nothing of persisting in the Obama administration's willingness to give ground in that war, notably by submitting our freedom of speech to shariah blasphemy laws - our Islamist foes will only be emboldened.

And that means aheightened likelihood of success in the violent attacks the shariah-adherent jihadists are sure to mount in the years to come.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is President of the Center for Security Policy, a columnist for the Washington Times and host of the nationally syndicated program.


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Dissident Watch: Maikel Nabil Sanad

by Rebecca Witonsky

Maikel Nabil Sanad, a 25-year old pacifist currently on a hunger strike in an Egyptian prison, is one of the Arab world's most pioneering human rights activists. A veterinarian by profession, in April 2009, Sanad founded the "No to Compulsory Service Campaign," which aims to end the compulsory three-year military service term for Egyptian males and reportedly has upward of 3,000 members. Last year, he became the first known conscientious objector in Egyptian history when he refused to report for duty.[1]

While distaste for the draft is not uncommon among middle-class Egyptians, the reasons for Sanad's conscientious objection are virtually unheard of in the Arab world. "I don't want to point a weapon at a young Israeli, recruited into obligatory service, defending his state's right to exist," he explained in October 2010.[2] He has frequently expressed his admiration for Israel's democratic freedoms, respect for women's rights, and religious tolerance while voicing rejection of Arab terrorism and outrage over the blatant anti-Semitism propagated by the Egyptian military and political establishment during the Mubarak years. He even went so far as to publish an article on the Arabic language website of the Israeli foreign ministry entitled, "Why I Am a Pro-Israel." He is learning Hebrew and has a Hebrew section on his blog.[3]

Sanad has been severely persecuted for his pacifism and expressions of solidarity with the Israeli people, both of which are deeply taboo in Egypt. He was briefly imprisoned twice for two days each, and on one of these occasions was sexually harassed.[4] After the fall of the Mubarak regime, he was targeted for more severe persecution because of his outspoken criticism of the Egyptian military junta. On March 28, 2011, Sanad was arrested for "insulting the military" and subsequently brought before a closed military tribunal. While other activists who dared criticize the new regime have been released within days of their arrest, on April 11, Sanad was sentenced to three years imprisonment.[5]

Sanad has suffered numerous abuses in prison, such as denial of access to decent food, placement with common criminals, being forced to shower in dirty water and to sleep on insect-laden bedding. Until recently, he was denied access to essential medical care.[6]

On August 23, Sanad began a hunger strike to protest the injustice and conditions of his imprisonment. On August 30, he began refusing to drink water and stopped taking his heart medication. His father and brother Marc tried to visit him in prison on that day but were told by prison guards that Sanad "refused" to see them.[7] His family and friends warn that he is fully prepared to die for his beliefs. And all this in the new, "democratic" Egypt.

[1] The Huffington Post, Apr. 15, 2011.
[2] YNet News (Tel Aviv), Oct. 25, 2010.
[3] Maikel Nabil Sanad website, accessed Aug. 31, 2011.
[4] The Huffington Post, Apr. 15, 2011.
[5] "Egypt: Blogger's 3-Year Sentence a Blow to Free Speech," Human Rights Watch, Apr. 11, 2011; The Huffington Post, Apr. 15, 2011.
[6] The Committee to Protect Journalists, New York, Aug. 31, 2011.
[7] Maikel Nabil, "Declaration of Hunger Strike," MidEast Youth, Aug. 26, 2011; The Committee to Protect Journalists, Aug. 31, 2011.

Rebecca Witonsky is a blogger on USA Freedom.


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Jawad in American Spectator: "Libya Burning"

by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi

As troops aligned with the Libyan interim government continue to advance on the few remaining strongholds of Gaddafi loyalists -- such as Bani Walid (where the tribal elders are refusing to surrender) -- much debate is still raging over Libya's future. Will the country emerge as a stable liberal democracy, will it be torn by ethnic and tribal divisions, or will it transform into an Islamist state?

Of course, there is always a degree of uncertainty in prediction here, but some signs appear to have emerged that strongly discount the first, desirable outcome. To begin with, despite the assurances of the National Transitional Council (NTC) that there will be a focus on reconciliation to avoid punishing all those associated with the Gaddafi regime and thus not repeat the "mistakes of Iraq," it is not at all clear that these soothing words are being put into practice.

Indeed, recently concerns have been raised over the treatment of blacks residing in Libya at the hands of forces loyal to the interim government, and even outlets like the New York Times are starting to pay attention. It is true that a few of these blacks have been employed as mercenaries by Gaddafi, but the overwhelming majority are simply innocent migrant workers imported during Libya's oil boom for construction and menial work. Yet blacks are being targeted by anti-Gaddafi insurgents as though they are all mercenaries guilty of the crimes of the Gaddafi regime.

In fact, as the Wall Street Journal noted, in one town called Tawergha, a brigade of anti-Gaddafi troops that describes itself as dedicated to "purging slaves" and "black skin" has engaged in ethnic cleansing of blacks in the town, and has vowed that in the "new Libya" all remaining blacks in Tawergha would be denied access to health care and schooling in nearby Misrata, from which all blacks have already been expelled.

Similarly, the BBC recently showed a video of hundreds of bodies found in the Abu Salim hospital in Tripoli, but failed to mention, either through genuine neglect or a deliberate intention to mislead, that most of the corpses were those of black people, who had obviously been killed by anti-Gaddafi forces when the city was taken.

The "blacks are mercenaries" myth has been useful to those wishing to downplay the idea that Gaddafi could be receiving support from any native Libyans, and portray the entire conflict as "Gaddafi vs. the people." However, if collective punishment is the way the rebel forces are going to treat those suspected -- rightly or wrongly -- of links to Gaddafi's regime, on what grounds should we presume that there will be no punitive measures implemented against native Libyan groups who have backed Gaddafi during the conflict, including many of the rural Arabized tribes of southwest Fezzan? As I predicted, the rebel forces have recently been giving the Berber Touareg in the far south this kind of harsh treatment.

Clearly, the horrific treatment of blacks is not only a result of racism but also part of an attempt to dismantle anything associated with Gaddafi's legacy (the importation of Africans was one aspect of Gaddafi's eccentric turn towards notions of pan-Africanism and a vision of a "United States of Africa" after 1998).

In any event, it is worth recalling that the Iraqi Shi'a politicians and public figures who pushed for the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 (e.g. Ahmad Chalabi​, who is the first cousin of my aunt's husband in Baghdad) repeatedly affirmed that their sole interest was in creating a genuinely free and democratic Iraq after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's regime. Yet once in power through the interim Iraqi Governing Council, whether for reasons of ideological conviction or political expediency, they effectively turned the de-Baa'thification process into "de-Sunnification" in the hope of creating a majoritarian Shi'a democracy. This only aggravated sectarian tensions and culminated in the civil war around Baghdad in 2006.

Even so, it is also evident that there are deep tensions within the anti-Gaddafi forces. In particular, there is good reason to expect a forthcoming conflict between the Amazigh Berbers and the Islamists. The Amazigh Berbers, denied civil rights for decades by Gaddafi and forbidden to speak Tamazight, played a key role in the fighting in the western Nafusa Mountains that eventually led to the successful push towards Tripoli. Quite rightly, they are keen to assert their rights to celebrate their Berber culture and language, and will undoubtedly take further inspiration from the success of Berber activists in Morocco, which has now given Tamazight the status of an official language alongside Arabic.

Meanwhile, the Islamist presence among the anti-Gaddafi forces is now something that cannot be ignored. As Barry Rubin points out, Abdul al-Hakim al-Hasadi has just been named commander of the Tripoli Military Council. This man was formerly head of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a U.S.-designated terrorist organization affiliated with al-Qa'ida, and although he claims to have disavowed his record of extremism, many rebel fighters around Misrata are highly suspicious of him. It does not follow from this that Libya will necessarily become an Islamist state, but as the experiences in Algeria, Sudan and Iraq show, Islamists in the Middle East and North Africa despise any assertion of a non-Arab identity and aim to suppress it by instilling terror through indiscriminate attacks.

I sincerely hope that I am proven wrong and that the post-Gaddafi government will promote liberal democracy (nor do I believe that it was wrong to stop Gaddafi's forces from taking Benghazi back in March). Nevertheless, idealistic wishes cannot obscure hard evidence on the ground. At best, NATO can now only make it clear to the NTC that any Islamist aggression originating from Libya will be met with severe retaliation.

Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi is a student at Brasenose College, Oxford University, and an intern at the Middle East Forum.


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Lessons That Last a Lifetime

by Ferne Hassan

What do you say to a special friend who has to carry around a “security blanket” for just such times as happened this past Monday morning when, on her way to work at Ben Gurion University in Beersheva, the sirens went off and with no time to run for cover she did the next best thing – spread the blanket out on the ground and lied down on it.

I don’t know about you, but this scene jolted me and has been playing out in mind as I wonder – what next? One hundred missiles in less than a week have landed in southern Israel and, to add insult to injury, the story has been avoided by the mainstream press. This, on the heels of multi-staged attacks in Eilat last week that targeted a bus, civilians in cars and members of the IDF and left eight dead and more than 30 wounded.

And, Israel’s “peace partners” – those whom the world’s experts are encouraging Israel to sit down with and negotiate a peace agreement that will result in “two states for two people” living “side by side in peace” – where are they? Where are their statements of denunciation? Where are their apologies? For that matter where is the United Nations and/or The International Court of Justice?

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), which claimed responsibility for the Eilat attacks, is according to an IDF spokesperson, “an independent terrorist organization in Gaza that is supported, subsidized and trained by the Hamas terrorist organization.”

Hamas, which is recognized as a terrorist organization by the United States and the European Union and recently reconciled with Fatah with the intention of forming a unity government, would then be part of that group that Israel would negotiate with. Are we sliding from the ridiculous to the sublime? And then there is Fatah’s Mahmoud Abbas, the man we are told is a moderate. Here is what he has to say, “We will not ask Hamas to recognize Israel.”

So, do we proceed as if nothing has happened and accept the chanting from the world’s chorus that Israel “return to the negotiating table?” With whom will Israel be negotiating? Have you read the PLO Covenant? Let me share an article from the Covenant – one of thirty-three – which, despite protestations to the contrary, has never been changed.

Article #9: Armed struggle is the only way to liberate Palestine and is therefore a strategy and not tactics. The Palestinian Arab people affirm its absolute resolution and abiding determination to pursue the armed struggle and to work for an armed popular revolution, to liberate its homeland…

Maps used in children’s textbooks, official documents, etc. show the boundaries of their homeland as all of Israel. Have you heard the chant – From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free? Hint: The river is the Jordan, the sea is the Mediterranean. Israel then is missing!

And, have you read the Hamas Charter? For starters the preamble includes, “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” And, Articles 11 and 13 state, “The Islamic Resistance Movement [Hamas] believes that the land of Palestine is an Islamic Waqf consecrated for future Moslem generations until Judgment Day…” “Initiatives, and so-called peaceful solutions and international conferences, are in contradiction to the principles of the Islamic Resistance Movement…” “There is no solution for the Palestinian question except through Jihad. Initiatives, proposals and international conferences are all a waste of time and vain endeavors.”

Where is the outrage from decent people? Is this how it happened before in history? Where people close their doors, try to close their minds, live within the confines of their world and hope that the madness doesn’t reach them. And, when that approach fails, well, as history has shown us, there’s always the road to acquiescence. We know where that road led the free world – into a hell that left millions killed, Europe overrun and the very foundation of civilization and sanity hanging on by threads.

Golda Meir, Israel’s fourth Prime Minister and its first and only female head of state, was born in Kiev and, in her autobiography My Life, she vividly recalled the memory of her father having had only a piece of wood to barricade his family and “protect” them against the pogrom inspired marauders. This left a deep impression on her and, regardless of how much easier life in Milwaukee was for her and her family, Golda knew her place was in the Land of Israel, then under mandatory control by the British. She was determined to do all she could to insure that Jews were able to reestablish their place in the land of their forbearers. Her hope was that a Jewish state would protect the Jews who, for many generations past, had been barely tolerated as “guests in other countries.”

Years ago at a CAMERA conference Prof. Alan Dershowitz spoke of the “Shah Shtil”/ “Don’t rock the boat” mentality of many Jews. He exhorted the audience to stand proud reminding them that “We Jews have given, more than we have taken!” He was speaking about the role of Jews in America but his words could easily be applied to Israel as well. Israel’s contributions in myriad fields are world renowned – agriculture, medicine, literature, music, humanitarian assistance – to name a few. So why do Jews in the diaspora and Israel forget this and allow the “red line” of acceptable behavior to constantly be moved? Why have Jews allowed themselves to fall prey to intimidation?

Possibly they aren’t on the same mailing lists I’m on and/or they are allowing their senses to be dulled, and are just “going along to get along.”

Those concerned with peace, beyond lip-service, would have somehow learned about the recent report from the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center that details how Palestinian children spent this summer, as summers past. Tens of thousands of young Palestinian children attended Hamas run “summer camps” where the lessons of martyrdom – like those in their school textbooks and the messages heard everywhere in their towns and on television – were reaffirmed. Likewise, the precepts of the PLO Covenant and the Hamas Charter were reiterated.

The camps, for all intents and purposes, are incubators for future generations of Jihadis. And so the question that begs to be asked is how can these children – heirs to any peace agreement that may be signed – who have been raised to hate and are dedicated to killing themselves and others, implement any peace agreement when they have been prepared for anything but peace.

Lest all the onus be placed at Hamas’ doorstep, a 2004 story posted by Emma Hurd of Sky News shows children who attended a training camp sanctioned by the Palestinian Authority and run by, none other, than the Popular Resistance Committees – the same group that orchestrated the Eilat attacks. If you look at the photo gallery you will see the faces of 10 year-old boys who, as 17 year olds today, could very well have been recruited by the PRC for these last attacks.

The words of the Irish statesman and political theorist, Edmund Burke, are as true today as when he wrote them in the 18th century, “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.”

Many of those who perpetrated the recent attacks and who are issuing the orders for the barrage of missiles are “summer camp graduates.” The only way my girlfriend can get up off the road and put away her “security blanket” is if we have the facts in hand and are prepared to stand up and speak the truth. Her future, Israel’s future and ours depend on it.

Ferne Hassan is a New Jersey-based concerned citizen.


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