by P. David Hornik
As reported on Jihad Watch this week, an adviser to President Obama has tweeted a criticism of President Bashar Assad of Syria for not being able to mount enough “resistance” to Israel. In the Arab and Middle Eastern context resistance is, of course, a codeword for terrorism and war.
The adviser is Dalia Mogahed. Yet another example of the strange company Obama has kept and continues to keep, he appointed her to serve on the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. On March 10 she tweeted on her Twitter account:
To those siding w/Assad: he cannot deliver stability, protection of minorities, or resistance to Israel. He is a killer w/o legitimacy.
It wasn’t Mogahed’s first venture in radicalism. Two years ago she advocated Sharia law on British TV, saying it provided “gender justice” even though, as Robert Spencer noted at the time, Sharia prescribes wife-beating, permits taking the vows with prepubescent girls, and discriminates against women in matters of testimony, inheritance, marriage and divorce.
Indeed, the show was hosted by a member of Hizb ut-Tahrir—banned as a terrorist organization by many countries—and included two Hizb ut-Tahrir guests who denounced Western society and called to make Sharia “the source of legislation.” Hizb ut-Tahrir’s alumni include 9/11 architect Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Jordanian jihadist Abu Musab Zarqawi, killed by U.S. forces in Iraq in 2006.
Mogahed was also coauthor with John Esposito of Who Speaks For Islam?: What a Billion Muslims Really Think—a book whose blatant distortions of poll data were exposed by Robert Satloff among others. Arabian Business magazine has named Mogahed one of the Arab world’s most influential women.
And what of her take on Assad? Does he indeed come up short on “resistance to Israel”?In fact, since becoming president in 2000, Bashar has continued his father Hafez Assad’s policy of making Damascus a headquarters for Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and other anti-Israeli terror groups. It was in Damascus that—in a move many attribute to Israel—Hizbullah arch-terrorist Imad Mughniyeh was assassinated in February 2008. Under Bashar, Syria has continued its role as weapons-conduit from Iran to Hizbullah in Lebanon.
It’s only recently that Hamas—with Bashar’s largely-Alawite forces killing many of Hamas’s Syrian Sunni compatriots—appears to have left Syria. But Palestinian Islamic Jihad remains based in Damascus, and with Iranian and Syrian encouragement and assistance played the major role in last week’s bombardment of southern Israel from Gaza.
Seemingly, then, Bashar’s credentials on “resistance to Israel” aren’t bad.
And yet Mogahed may have a point. Since the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the Assad dynasty—while a hub of anti-Israeli terror—has kept Syria’s border with Israel quiet and avoided war. Even if the reason is deterrence, that leads many in Israel to think Assad could be a lesser evil than forces—especially if Islamist-dominated—that might ultimately topple him.
In other words, if one sees Bashar Assad as unable to “deliver” on “resistance to Israel,” it can only mean one favors an “upgrade” from mere terrorism to war. And that appears to be the stance of Dalia Mogahed, one of President Obama’s advisers on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships.P. David Hornik
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