Saturday, August 18, 2012

Syria Reveals Arab Leaders’ Hypocrisy

by Evelyn Gordon

If you want to understand why much of the Arab world is a basket case, it’s worth considering Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s address to an Islamic Solidarity Conference in Mecca this week. Morsi came out in favor of regime change in Syria. But the most urgent problem facing the Muslim world today, he said, is the Palestinian issue.

Now consider a few simple statistics: Since the Syrian uprising began 17 months ago, more than 19,000 people have been killed, including more than 2,750 in July alone, according to the Syrian opposition. The number of Palestinians killed by Israel during those 17 months is around150, according to B’Tselem – less than 1 percent of the Syrian total. In fact, according to Palestinian casualty data compiled by the University of Uppsala, the Syrian death toll over the last 17 months is greater than the total number of Palestinians killed by Israel over the entire 64 years of its existence.

So by any objective standard, the Syrian problem would look incomparably more urgent: Solving it would save far more Muslim Arab lives than solving the Palestinian problem would. But for Morsi, and for all too many others in the Arab world, securing the well-being of his fellow Muslim Arabs is evidently less important than undermining the well-being of the hated Jewish state. The Syrian crisis being a purely intra-Arab conflict, solving it doesn’t contribute one iota to the latter goal. But an obsessive focus on the Palestinian problem does.

Of course, it’s also possible that Morsi doesn’t actually believe in the primacy of the Palestinian cause, but is merely playing the time-honored game that Arab opinion leaders – politicians, journalists, artists and intellectuals – have been playing for decades: Let’s divert attention from the internal problems of Arab society by focusing on an outside enemy. But either way, the message is the same: What really matters isn’t what the Arabs do to themselves, but what the Jews do to them, even if what Arabs are doing to themselves (or each other) is far worse. And therefore, the focus of Arab activity must be Israel, not the Arab world’s internal problems – even if focusing on the latter would do more to actually improve the lot of ordinary Arabs.

More than half a century ago, former Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir famously said that “Peace will come when the Arabs will love their children more than they hate us.” Sadly, that’s still true. But it’s equally true that as long as Arab leaders accord higher priority to their campaign against Israel than they do to the welfare of their own people, the Arab world will continue to lag far behind the West by almost any standard of human well-being.

In fact, the Arab world has paid a far higher price for its Israel obsession than Israel ever has. The Jewish state has grown and thrived despite being continuously at war. But ordinary Arabs can still be slaughtered by their own government while their Arab brethren look on and yawn – and continue prating about Israel.

Evelyn Gordon


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

Will America act against Iran?

by Dore Gold

In the internal debate in Israel over the subject of Iran, it is generally assumed by many that at the end of the day the U.S. will destroy the nuclear infrastructure of Iran when it becomes clear that sanctions and negotiations have failed. But is that a reliable assumption? True, President Barack Obama made clear last March during his address at AIPAC that he would use "all elements of American power to pressure Iran and prevent it from acquiring a nuclear weapon." However, with the exception of the 2003 Iraq War, which was launched in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the historical precedents indicate that the U.S. has not used military force in the past to stop rogue states from developing nuclear weapons.

Writing in Haaretz on August 8, Israel's former ambassador to the U.S., Salai Meridor, warns that it cannot be assumed that Washington will act in the Iranian case as well. He correctly noted that in the past, the U.S. in fact condemned the 1981 attack on the Iraqi nuclear reactor and it refused to take military action against the Syrian nuclear program. He doesn't completely rule out the possibility that the U.S. will act, but he points out that it is not at all certain, for when past administrations were faced with making a decision and the moment of truth was reached, they chose to accept the nuclearization of rogue states over starting a war.

The case of North Korea stands out as an instance in which the U.S. would not take action against a dangerous rogue state that was developing a nuclear weapons capability. In March 1994, North Korea blocked inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) from inspecting its nuclear reactor at Yongbyon. By June, it appeared that the North Koreans were about to take the spent fuel rods from the reactor and extract enough weapons-grade plutonium for five or six bombs.

The U.N. imposed economic sanctions on North Korea. President Clinton wrote in his memoirs that he was determined to stop North Korea from developing a nuclear arsenal, "even at the risk of war." The Pentagon planned to destroy the Yongbyon reactor, but ultimately pulled back from its threats. Just like today, high-level U.S. officials said that all options are on the table — but that was as far as they went. Negotiations were launched with North Korea that led to the signing of the "Agreed Framework," which the North Koreans violated within a few years. It would become clear that Washington had not pushed hard enough.

The weakness of the "Agreed Framework" was revealed in December 2002, when North Korea removed the IAEA seals from the containers with the spent fuel rods and began to produce plutonium from them. In the months that followed, the Bush administration took no firm action. North Korea then expelled the IAEA inspectors and announced early 2003 it was withdrawing from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). Four years later on Oct. 8, 2006, the North Koreans conducted their first underground test of an atomic bomb.

As a result, the U.N. Security Council adopted a tough resolution on North Korea , but the U.S. did not take any measures to eliminate North Korea's nuclear infrastructure. Six-party negotiations began leading to another agreement in 2007 that was similar to the "Agreed Framework" of 1994. For its part, North Korea was clearly unimpressed with the Western reaction to its atomic test. Thus it conducted a second nuclear test on May 25, 2009, when President Obama was already in office.

Why has the U.S. not taken more forceful action against rogue states crossing the nuclear threshold? First, there is the issue of intelligence. Even a superpower like the U.S., may not have a sufficiently clear intelligence picture that would allow it to detect that a state like North Korea, which is isolated from the world, is about to conduct a nuclear test. This is also a problem for the American intelligence agencies in a country like Iran.

Indeed, just two years ago, Robert M. Gates, who was then the defense secretary, was quoted saying about the Iranians: “If their policy is to go to the threshold but not to assemble a nuclear weapon, how do you tell that they have not assembled? I don’t actually know how you would verify that.” Gates comments were important. He was a former head of the CIA and has a keen understanding of the real limits of intelligence.

The problem that Gates describes explains why it is hard to move against states developing nuclear weapons if you don't know they are actually taking the last steps towards a bomb. In his memoirs, former Vice President Dick Cheney adds that since the Iraq War, the U.S. intelligence community is afraid of repeating the same error of relying on false intelligence, thereby affecting its decision-making even when it has "solid" information, as was the case with Syria.

According to President Bush's account, while CIA Director Mike Hayden said that he had "high confidence" that the Syrians were building a nuclear reactor, since he could not find the facility for the weaponization of the plutonium that the reactor generated, he only had "low confidence" that the Syrians had a nuclear weapons program. Bush concluded that the U.S. could not operate against the Syrians with such a murky intelligence picture. According to foreign sources, Israel had to strike instead.

Thus, U.S. decision-makers understandably demand a level of certainty that intelligence agencies cannot always supply. Before acting, Obama will want to know how definite the information is that Iran has enriched uranium to weapons grade, has assembled a nuclear warhead, and is mounting it on a Shahab-3 missile.

A second limitation influencing the U.S. is the United Nations Security Council and the American dependence on multilateral approval. President Obama justified American military involvement in Libya to Congress by repeatedly saying that he had U.N. authorization. Following administration policy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, that in the case of Syria, before the U.S. could get militarily involved, “our goal would be to seek international permission.” Since that time the Russian and Chinese have proven that they are willing to block a consensus in the Security Council over a resolution calling for stopping the bloodshed in the Syrian uprising.

Given this international environment, the chances the U.S. would receive United Nations authorization to take action against Iran's nuclear program are virtually nil. The U.S. would have to act outside of the U.N., which it has done in a number of notable cases, like Kosovo, under President Clinton. In the case of the Obama administration that would require a sharp break in past policy.

Finally, it must be remembered that the U.S. is a superpower with global commitments. That means it has conflicting priorities, which constrain its ability to take on missions against rogue states that are in the last phase of assembling nuclear weapons. The Bush administration was focused on Iraq and Afghanistan, which undoubtedly affected its approach to North Korea — and later Syria. Perhaps, in the near future, the Obama administration will be involved in supporting an international intervention against the Assad regime in Syria, and will not be focused on the Iranian issue.

Then there is the issue of America's forward-deployed forces around the world. During the Clinton administration it was understood that a strike on North Korea could lead to a retaliatory attack against U.S. ground forces along the Demilitarized Zone protecting South Korea. In the debate over whether the U.S. should take out Syria's nuclear reactor, the risks of Syrian retaliation against U.S. forces in Iraq was raised. Thus while the U.S. unquestionably has the military power to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons by the world's most dangerous states, or organizations, repeatedly successive administrations have been reluctant to use their vast military capabilities for that purpose because of the international circumstances they have faced.

Dore Gold


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

What’s Arabic for ‘Reichstag Fire’?

by Kyle Shideler

The signs were there for those who cared to see them.

Shortly after the August 5th attack on an Egyptian army base in the Sinai, in which more than a dozen Egyptian soldiers were killed by jihadists, who seized two armored personnel carriers and attempted to breach the Israeli border, Egyptian President (and Muslim Brother) Mohammad Morsi responded by sacking the Egyptian intelligence chief, and the governor of Northern Sinai. He also replaced the head of the Egyptian presidential guard. That took place Wednesday, August 8th. A communiqué issued the same day on the M.B.’s described a so-called “unfolding conspiracy,” in vague terms, calling the soldiers who died in the attack on the Egyptian base, “victims of treachery and treason” and complaining of an attempt to use the incident to “violently and viciously [target] Islamists.” President Morsi also ordered APCs, troops and attack helicopters into the Sinai to target the “militants,” but residents were reporting little evidence of battle, although a handful of jihadists were reportedly killed in gunfights over the weekend.

Late Sunday night (in Washington), August 12th, reports began to trickle out that President Morsi had sacked Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) head, Defense Minister Tantawi, Army Chief-of-Staff Sami Annan and several other notable commanders, and canceled the constitutional arrangement instituted by SCAF intended to limit Morsi’s power. Essam El-Erian, the Chairman of the M.B’s “Freedom and Justice Party,” called the move an effort to “foil counter revolutionary plots.”

It will probably never be known for sure whether the initial attack which precipitated events was in the strictest sense orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to engineer the downfall of SCAF. It’s certainly possible, considering accusations by members of the Egyptian military that several high-ranking Hamas members in the Gaza Strip, Ayman Nofal, Raad Atar and Mohammed Abu Shamala, were responsible for the attack. Hamas, after all, openly describes itself as the “Palestinian” chapter of the Brotherhood, and Nofal actually escaped from a Sinai prison during the 2011 revolution, which would have given excellent opportunities for ties with both the Egyptian Brothers and the bedouins who frequently make up the Jihadist factions in the Sinai.

The question of course is what happens now. In all likelihood what little resistance existed to a Muslim Brotherhood state in Egypt is now broken. With SCAF member Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, formerly head of military intelligence taking over as defense minister, and several other key commanders (including the head of the Egyptian 3rd Army based at Suez) taking plum positions in the new hierarchy, it will become increasingly easy to find collaborators within the army structure willing to side with the Muslim Brotherhood. That means moving forward the M.B. will be able to replace those who participated in or benefited from this bloodless coup, if they should later on resist orders.

For students of revolutionary movements in general, and analysts in the Brotherhood in particular, there ought to have been no surprise here. The only actor in the Egyptian theater which possessed a conspiratorial organization, swiftly and purposefully acting on orders from its leadership was the Muslim Brotherhood. In heady times of revolution and counter-revolution, such parties are always likely to rise to the top of the pile.

Whether the Brotherhood sparked the events in the Sinai to provide justification to carry out their coup, as the Nazis lit the Reichstag fire to justify their actions, or whether they simply responded to unfolding events with precise and aggressive action is ultimately irrelevant – the outcome, regardless of the excuse, was preordained. The Egyptian army, the “most secular and pro-western institution in Egypt,” which is the refrain we have heard repeated ad nauseam, has failed to serve as the bulwark to Brotherhood power that we were promised.

Indeed, if there is one silver lining to the weekend’s events in Egypt, it is that policymakers can perhaps finally outgrow their belief in the fictional security blanket of a secular, pro-Western Egyptian military preventing the creation of an Islamist Egypt, and finally move on with the dealing with the world as it really is, one in which Islamism is in a dangerous ascendance across the region.

Kyle Shideler is the Director of Research at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (


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

The Huma Abedin-House of Saud Connection Exposed

by Jamie Glazov

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Walid Shoebat, a former PLO terrorist and Muslim Brotherhood activist who is the author of For God or For Tyranny.

FP: Walid Shoebat, welcome back to Frontpage. The interview we did last year, The Dark Muslim Brotherhood World of Huma Abedin, has become extremely relevant and I would like to discuss your new highly disturbing findings with you.

Shoebat: Thanks for having me again Jamie.

FP: Last Friday, President Obama voiced strong support for Huma Abedin during the Iftar dinner, saying the top aide to Secretary of State Hillary has been “nothing less than extraordinary in representing our country and the democratic values that we hold dear.”

Yet you have presented a 37-page dossier and WTC 1993 prosecutor Andrew McCarthy has linked the Abedins [here] and [here] to two terror supporting supervisors: al-Qaeda financier Abdullah Naseef and the spiritual head of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradwi. Moreover, you have now made a discovery that links the Abedins’ Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs enterprise to a sinister Wahhabist Saudi agenda called Muslim Minority Affairs. Kindly share your new discovery with us.

Shoebat: President Obama needs to refute the facts and provide answers that are void of rhetoric. He can’t and he won’t. My findings all started as I was researching Huma’s father “Sayed Zaynul Abedin” in Arabic looking for further clues and suddenly there it was, an unbelievable document commissioned by the late King Fahd bin Abdul Aziz which can be downloaded [here] and [here]. I couldn’t believe my eyes. It had a long grandiose and fanciful title: The Efforts of the Servant of the Two Holy Places to Support The Muslim Minorities. It included Huma’s father and his work Muslim Minorities in the West published in 1998 as part of 29 works to construct this conspiratorial manifesto. (#11. P. 134) It explained the Muslim Minority Affairs (hereafter MMA) not simply as a title or as a religious or social entity but as a Saudi foreign policy of the Ministry of Religious Affairs.

It is an entire management system using MMA as the vehicle to catapult MMA to gain specific goals:

1—Recruit individual Muslims that live in non-Muslim lands and transform them as a collective unit by establishing centers, educational programs, mosques and organizations like ISNA and MSA in order to stop Muslim assimilation in non-Muslim host nations.

2—These then can influence the non-Muslim host nations by shifting the demographic scale due to their population growth in favor of the Saudi agenda.

3—A gradual implementation of Sharia will ensue by becoming a major revolutionary powerhouse.

4—This will tilt the host nation in favor of Muslims due to their increase as a population.

5—By this, a transformation then ensues in the host nation to gradually begin to implement a Wahhabi style Sharia.

6—The host state then will join the Muslim commonwealth.

Amazed, I began to research the Abedins’ Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs (hereafter IMMA) from historical accounts and testimonies. The two connected perfectly and what emerged was extremely troubling from a national security perspective: the Abedins for decades were actually serving a foreign entity, the government of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Islamic Affairs and not American Democracy as President Obama stated. The Abedins’ IMMA is a Saudi-based branch implemented, commissioned and stationed through the same entity that produced this policy to serve Saudi Arabia’s and not American interests.

FP: Ok, but how exactly can you connect the Abedins’ IMMA to the Saudi MMA?

Shoebat: Easily, we have:

[1] Testimonies.

[2] The hierarchical construct of the Abedins’ IMMA fits the Saudi manifesto MMA chain of command.


[3] We have historical references showing IMMA was officially under these authorized organizations that were set up by Saudi Arabia.

These make an ironclad case. Here is an example; the manifesto states that:

“It [MMA] will work under the umbrella of the Muslim World League (MWL) and International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and World Association of Muslim Youth (WAMY) and others” (P. 6, also see P. 23)

The Arabic Dictionary on Media Icons by Zarkali confirms the above plan fits IMMA:

“Sayed Z. Abedin is a specialist on Muslim Minority Affairs issues… In the early 1970′s, Sayed Z. Abedin went to Saudi Arabia for one year as a visiting professor. He was welcomed by King Abdulaziz University, which provided him the means to create a scholarly program regarding Muslim Minorities. Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, the Dean of King Abdulaziz University then envisioned the creation of an academic entity called the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA), under the management of Ahmad Bahafzallah, who was the General Trustee for the World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY). Professor Sayed Z. Abedin was encouraged to supervise the Muslim Minority Affairs and served as IMMA’s chief editor.” (Al-I’lam by Zarkali, is an encyclopedia on major figures in the Arabic-Muslim Media, P.p. 218)

Abdullah Ghazi, a graduate of Harvard University in Comparative Religion, provides additional testimony as he reminisces about how he met the Abedins:

“Later we shifted to Gary in Indiana State, 40 kms from Chicago. In 1976, I met Rabita (MWL) chief Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef and Dr. Zainul Abedin of Institute for Muslim Minority Affairs. They encouraged me to take up this venture. The first book to come out was Our Prophet, an assignment from King Abdul Aziz University, Jeddah at Dr. Naseef’s behest…”

The history of the Abedins’ IMMA and of the Saudi manifesto’s hierarchy for MMA perfectly match. As we see, it was the Muslim World League (MWL) with Abdullah Omar Naseef, a Wahhabist who created IMMA under Ahmad Bahafzallah of World Assembly of Muslim Youth (WAMY) to supervise the Abedins.

FP: What proof can you provide from the manifesto itself regarding the goals you mentioned?

Shoebat: We provided several snapshots from the manifesto itself:

This snapshot in English says:

“The Muslim societies in all continents of the world exist as either ‘Muslim Nation’ or ‘Muslim Minorities’. The assessment to determine what constitutes ‘state’ from a ‘minority state’ is done based on a number of measures. First the numbers scale, which is, if a nation has Muslims exceed half the population and its Constitution states that Islam is its official religion or that Islamic Sharia is its source of law, this state is then considered an Islamic state.” (p.29) “Since the number of Muslims has risen greatly in the last years where they became 1.3 billion Muslims. From these we have (900) million already in Muslim nations. The 400 million live as communities and as Muslim Minority” (p. 31) “… In Africa resides (250) million Muslims and in Europe resides (60) million Muslims and in North America and South America resides (10) million Muslims. So, according to these statistics it is expected that the number of Muslims will reach 2.6 billion six hundred thousand within a short span of time. The Muslims then will become a mighty and effective power in the world, of course, due to the increase in their numbers—then these will shift the demographic balance in their favor.” (p. 32).

It actually maps out with statistics and demographic analysis every nation where Muslim minorities exist. Remember, Huma’s mother is an expert on demography and world populations and contributed greatly to that effect in the JMMA journal. Regardless how small the numbers, these are expected to advance Wahhabist ideology.

FP: Ok, what about this “Wahhabist” link? Can you provide proof?

Shoebat: The document pulls no punches. It mentions “puritan Islam” as directed by “Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab,” the father of Wahhabism:

“Allah destined this region [Saudi Arabia] for a historic role. So He commissioned the two Imams—Muhammad bin Saud and Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab, may Allah have mercy upon them. But the times have passed on Imam Muhammad bin Saud by the emergence of the reformer—Muhammad bin AbdulWahhab. So the two Imams cooperated together to judge by what Allah brought forth, to fight against heresy and to bring Muslims back to puritan Islam.” (p. 8 )

FP: Is the United States mentioned in the plan?

Shoebat: Indeed, all over it, it discusses accomplishments in ISNA, MSA, banking, centers and even names the mosques designated to fulfill the plan in the United States, except there are obstacles. The United States is the home of the main obstacle that hinders their agenda—the Jews. There the manifesto shifts, sounding more like an Arab version of Mein Kampf. Here I include the original snapshot from the document itself and translated it to English:

“The greatest challenge that faces Muslims in the United States and Canada are the Jews who take advantage of their material ability and their media to distort the image of Islam and Muslims there by spreading their lies and distortions in the minds of the people in these countries. The Jews employ their efforts and direct their material wealth and their high positions to serve Zionist interests in the Arab region. They [the Jews] take advantage of situations to distort the image of Arabs and Muslims. The Zionist organizations spend enormous efforts to obstruct the spread of Islam in these areas.” (P. 79-80)

FP: This is scary stuff, and our media and government are completely silent and blind.

Let’s continue: how can we know that the MMA is not some isolated issue or something simply on paper?

Shoebat: McCarthy’s The Grand Jihad perhaps can provide a better analysis as to the billions spent by Saudi Arabia in the U.S. to advance their agendas. I am here to provide missing links, the proclamations from the Arabic texts that westerners don’t review, things considered taboos to discuss and translate, an insight from a defector who switched sides. That’s what I do.

As to the MMA concept, it is not isolated to the Abedins or even the Saudis. Salafists and the Muslim Brotherhood support the same concept, they even link to each other with the same title: “the Jurisprudence of Muslim Minority Affairs.”

In other words, the IMMA is not simply a name of an outfit; it represents a definition, a jurisprudence rooted in a sinister doctrine with short and long-term goals. Qaradawi has a similar manifesto for the Brotherhood. MMA scholars across the board have an obsession using this jurisprudence steering Muslims into this theocratic collective revolution.

FP: Give us some examples.

Shoebat: No problem. Take Europe’s Abdul-Majid al-Najjar, Assistant Secretary-General of the European Council for Fatwa and Research. While working on supposed building relations with the West, he adheres, in Arabic, to the same collectivist concept. In his “Creating a Fundamentalist Jurisprudence of the Muslim Minorities in the West,” he states:

“Islamic Sharia ruling is for every circumstance, time and place and in all circumstances… It was ordained that Islam was assigned the mission to inherit the globe. It is a mission possible through only the collective religious performance and mission impossible through individual religiosity.”

Let’s take Taha Jaber al-Alwani who is an ardent anti-Semite who, by the way, runs the United States Department of Defense program (out of all places) for training Muslim military chaplains in the U.S. military. This is the first time we translated this:

“… it [MMA] is a Jurisprudence for a group confined to its special circumstances which is allowed what others are not. Its exercise needs an understanding of social sciences, especially sociology, economics, political science and international relations… for the fundamentals of success for the Muslim Minority Jurisprudence it must adhere to the collective earth concept.” [here]

Alwani, a man commissioned by our government, even calls for a soon-to-be military conquest and provides an official fatwa permitting and preparing for the use of force:

“Commitment to the Quranic concept of Geography: The land belongs to Allah, his religion is Islam, and every country is already in the House of Islam—now in the present time—since they will be in the House of Islam by force in the near future. The whole of humanity is a Muslim Nation: it is either ‘the religion of the nation’ which has embraced this religion [Islam], or a ‘proselyte nation’ we are obliged to conquer.” (Alwani, The Jurisprudence of Muslim Minority Affairs. No. 7)

This is no mirage; it’s real and it is why we see people like Nidal Malik Hasan attacking military personnel and military installations from within; he snapped and couldn’t wait.

FP: So it’s on all levels, military and civil?

Shoebat: Yes. In America, even the Director of the Islamic Center of Lubbock Texas Mohammed bin Mukhtar Shanqeeti agrees:

“The Muslim Minority Jurisprudence is not a heresy or a novel, it’s an ancient doctrine filled with the provisions for Muslims living in Dar al-Kufr (House of the Heathen) or Dar Al-Harb (House of War).” [link, here]

Even the Abedins’ Journal for Muslim Minority Affairs (JMMA ) confirms that their program stems from these same extremist sources: “The theory of the Jurisprudence of Muslim Minorities is most easily clarified by shedding light on its founders” which the notes state are none other than Muslim Brotherhood “Yusuf al-Qaradawi” and “Taha Jabir al-Alwani”.

In a nutshell, The Muslim Minority Affairs program is part of a grand plan to destroy America from within, exactly as what the Muslim Brotherhood planned, which was exposed in the Holy Land Foundation trials.

FP: Tell us a bit more on the provisions for Muslims living in the House of the Heathen.

Shoebat: Now you are entering into how the plan combines two Jurisprudences; the Minority Affairs Jurisprudence and the Jurisprudence of Muruna (Flexibility). Muruna is the “process of permitting evils” specifically for Muslim Minorities that is “sanctioning prohibitions for the sake of an interest”. You can learn all about it [here]. This jurisprudence permits “reversing Sharia rulings” in order to “gain interests.”

So the rulings on marriage with non-Muslims as we have with Huma and Anthony Weiner now become sanctioned even if Sharia prohibits it.

While the media argues that Huma married a Jew as evidence for her assimilation, in actuality it’s more the reason for suspicion, especially since that her mother is a Muslim Brotherhood leader who never denounced the marriage. That with Huma’s years of service as part of a Wahhabi scheme provides reasonable concerns.

FP: You keep referring to this character from Saudi Arabia, Abdullah Omar Naseef, as an al-Qaeda affiliate. What is the evidence that he is tied to al-Qaeda?

Shoebat: Besides much evidence reported on Abdullah Omar Naseef contributions for al-Qaeda, we have the WTC vs. Al Baraka, et. al. (see pp.384-386), It mentions Naseef, who arranged to meet Osama bin Laden and launch what seems like a major attack, right from one of Naseef’s Muslim World League (MWL) offices:

“…a Memo on IIRO [International Islamic Relief Organization] / MWL letterhead detailed a meeting between Abu Abdallah (Osama bin Laden), Dr. Abdullah Omar Naseef, Sheik Abdel Majeed Zindani, and Dhiaul Haq, in which it is stated that, ‘the attacks will be launched from them (these offices)… You must pursue finding an umbrella which you can stay under…and I prefer the name of the League (most likely, Muslim World League) because Dr. Naseef is one of the brothers…’”

While these statements were only in the preliminary documents that were removed in later documents, possibly since they are regarding older operations prior to 9/11, yet, Naseef, according to this, was in direct communication with Osama bin Laden; this might shed a different light on the matter of Huma Abedin. For years, she had close ties with Naseef. But despite this, Naseef was proven to have been an al-Qaeda financier. The Naseef-Huma connection has no degrees of separation as many claimed. These statements made by the media were simply false.

Andrew McCarthy wrote that Naseef could have escaped the civil lawsuits on a technicality:

“…he was named as a defendant in the civil case brought by victims of the 9/11 atrocities. (In 2010, a federal court dropped him from the suit — not because he was found to be uninvolved, but because a judge reasoned the American court lacked personal jurisdiction over him.)”

The Abedins went back and forth, setting foothold in India, where Huma’s parents worked during 1978 with Maulana Muhammad Yousuf of Jamaat-e-Islami. Yusuf came after Abu Al-Ala Maududi, who was key in the Tabligh in the Indian subcontinent’s equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood. It has extensive ties to Wahhabists, including Al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. They represent an extremist Salafist brand. Then somehow they were in Saudi Arabia working with Naseef who spearheaded IMMA and commissioned the Abedins from Saudi Arabia to launch the program is the U.S. and the United Kingdom. Do you think they circulated the earth promoting this program solely by themselves as part of an American dream?

FP: What can we do about this?

Shoebat: Here are some things citizens can do immediately:

1—Petition to bring Huma’s ex-boss Naseef to face American justice.

2—Connect the dots between the Saudi Wahhabist plans and the Abedins’ IMMA, only then can we begin to unravel why the Abedin family works with nefarious characters like Naseef and Qaradawi.

3—Understand how interlinked these organizations are, their layers and sub-layers.

4—IMMA was a family affair under Saudi management, a foreign entity that intends to do harm to United States interests.

5—Ask politicians why is it a taboo to discuss Huma Abedin, and demand they refute the facts and provide answers that are void of rhetoric.

6—Support these courageous Congressmen. These are heroes, not slanderers as McCain says. They represent the interest of the people and not the policy of silence. McCain says to question Abedin’s loyalty is “dangerous” when it is silence that is, in fact, dangerous.

FP: Thank you Walid for sharing this very important information with us.

Shoebat: My pleasure.

Jamie Glazov


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

On Iran, Israel Sees Endgame Approaching

by P. David Hornik

The open-to-the-public U.S.-Israeli war of words on Iran continued this week.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he didn’t believe Israel had “made a decision as to whether or not they will go in and attack Iran at this time” and added: “With regards to the issue of where we’re at from a diplomatic point of view, the reality is that we still think there is room to continue to negotiate.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other top Israeli officials, for their part, have been saying the negotiations with Iran have failed and demanding that Washington announce an end to them.

With Panetta at the same Pentagon briefing, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, cast doubt on the efficacy of an Israeli strike on Iran, saying: “I may not know about all of their capabilities but I think that it’s a fair characterization to say that they could delay but not destroy Iran’s nuclear capabilities.”

Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., responded: “Diplomacy hasn’t succeeded. We’ve come to a very critical juncture where important decisions do have to be made.”

As for Dempsey’s statement that an Israeli strike could only delay Iran, Oren said: “That, on the basis of our previous experience, is not an argument against [a strike]. In the past, we have operated on the assumption that we can only gain a delay.”

And he added: “An Iranian nuclear weapon is an existential threat to Israel. We don’t just say it. They say it as well. They confirm it.”

Indeed, “they” have been saying it more than ever lately. On Wednesday an Iranian defense official said that “there is no other way but to stand firm and resist until Israel is destroyed.” On Thursday Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that Israel “will disappear” from the map.

All this at a time when Israel’s domestic discourse has been abuzz with talk of a possible strike on Iran, with citizens lining up to upgrade or replace gas masks and rushing to renovate air-raid shelters.

To understand better how things came to such a pass, it will help to go back.

Last February 14, European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton received a proposal to hold talks from Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili. She sat on it; as far as is known, she made no reply.

On March 5, Netanyahu met with President Barack Obama at the White House; by all accounts, their talk focused heavily on the Iranian issue. The next day, in his speech to AIPAC, Netanyahu again put great emphasis on the need to stop Iran from going nuclear.

That same day, March 6, the New York Times trumpeted: World Powers Agree to Resume Nuclear Talks With Iran.” The Times quoted Ashton saying: “I have offered to resume talks with Iran on the nuclear issue” and noted: “Ms. Ashton’s positive response to an Iranian offer made last month to resume the talks…came one day after…Obama urged…Netanyahu…to give diplomacy and economic sanctions a chance to work before taking military action.”

It was hard, in other words, not to infer that Obama, worried about a sense of urgency and resolve that he heard from Netanyahu, called up the EU foreign policy chief in a last-ditch move to box Israel in by quickly setting up talks with Iran, after all.

On March 8, Charles Krauthammer published a Washington Post column called “Obama vs. Israel,” worth quoting at length:

After ostensibly tough talk about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the Obama administration acquiesced this week to yet another round of talks with the mullahs….

These negotiations don’t just gain time for a nuclear program about whose military intent the International Atomic Energy Agency is issuing alarming warnings. They make it extremely difficult for Israel to do anything about it (while it still can), lest Israel be universally condemned for having aborted a diplomatic solution….

Obama garnered much AIPAC applause by saying that his is not a containment policy but a prevention policy. But what has he prevented?…Holding talks is not prevention. Imposing sanctions is not prevention.

Prevention is halting and reversing the program. Yet Iran is tripling its uranium output, moving enrichment facilities deep under a mountain near Qom and impeding IAEA inspections of weaponization facilities.

So what is Obama’s real objective? “We’re trying to make the decision to attack as hard as possible for Israel,” an administration official told the Post in the most revealing White House admission since “leading from behind.”

Revealing and shocking.…

Almost half a year later, where are we?

The U.S. and its allies have boosted sanctions on Iran—while, at the same time, Obama has handed Iran loopholes and Iran has boosted its ability to evade and circumvent the sanctions.

The renewed P5+1 talks with Iran have essentially broken down, the last two rounds having been demoted to the level of technical experts instead of diplomats—yet are still being cynically strung along. Ashton and Jalili are set to meet yet again at the end of this month in a transparent, mutual effort to keep the pretense of talks going and keep Israel boxed in.

And what has Iran been doing while the talks have been maintained on life support?

The latest U.S. National Intelligence Estimate “contends that Iran has made surprising, notable progress in the research and development of key components of its military nuclear program.”

A senior Israeli official “has said Iran has made significant progress in assembling a nuclear warhead.”

The new NIE further states, it was reported this week, that Iran has “boosted its efforts to attach a nuclear warhead to ballistic missiles.”

In other words, just as those—like Krauthammer and others—who opposed the talks predicted, Iran has exploited the gift of several months’ more time to keep surging ahead toward the bomb and the ability to deliver it.

Israel sees Iran rapidly reaching a point where its nuclear facilities will be sufficiently dispersed and shielded underground to be immune to an Israeli strike. Jerusalem’s “time is running out” talk is not a bluff. Obama wants to avoid a war, and rising gas prices, before the elections; Israel wants to survive—possibly irreconcilable goals.

P. David Hornik


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

Lebanon Close to the Edge of Chaos as Syrian Civil War Rages On

by Rick Moran

This was inevitable given the factionalization of Lebanon, divided as it is between Sunnis and Shias, with a large Christian population that is itself divided.

What divides them is Syria and the civil war that continues to rage. Riots have broken out in Beirut as well as along the Lebanese Syrian border. And the Hezb'allah dominated government is powerless to stop it.

Wall Street Journal:

Rival extremist Shiite and Sunni groups kidnapped Syrians and staged violent riots near the Syria-Lebanon border on Thursday, as the bloodiest Arab Spring crisis pushed neighboring Lebanon into deeper unrest.

The Mukhtar al-Thaqfi Brigade, an obscure Shiite armed group, said it had captured 10 members of the rebel Free Syrian Army operating in Lebanon on Thursday.

Separately, the Meqdad family, a powerful Shiite clan that had taken 40 Syrians and a Turkish citizen hostage on Wednesday, vowed to continue to target Syrians perceived to sympathize with the country's rebels until they released a Meqdad family member currently held as a hostage. The group said it had released 18 people it said had no connection to Syria's opposition.

With violence continuing inside Syria as well, the United Nations Security Council said Thursday it would let the mandate expire for the unarmed U.N. monitors who have been in the country since April. The mandate will be allowed to expire at midnight on Sunday, said U.N. assistant secretary-general for peacekeeping Edmund Mullet.

In Lebanon's eastern Bekaa Valley, violent protests erupted near the Masnaa border crossing when Sunni Islamists-supporters of the Syrian opposition rebels-burned tires, blocked the main highway and attacked a car of a Lebanese journalist, according to Lebanese media reports and television footage. The group was apparently seeking to retaliate against Shiites and family members of the Meqdad clan, and their allies in the area.

"We are now entangled in the Syrian conflict. The sectarian spillover is officially here and I'm afraid it won't go away until the situation in Syria is resolved," said Bassem Shabb, a parliament member with the March 14 political bloc, known for being pro-Western and supporters of Syria's opposition.

Officially, Hezb'allah opposes the crackdown by President Assad, but in reality, members of the terrorist militia have been assisting Assad's forces from the start. And the spillover into Lebanon becomes a great matter of concern for Israel and other neighbors who would see their own borders threatened by the chaos of a sectarian conflict in Lebanon.

Unless the violence and sectarian strife can be halted sometime soon -- a remote possibility -- tensions are sure to rise across the region and the prospect of more sectarian strife in other countries becomes a danger.

Rick Moran


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

Potentially Devastating News on the Obama Economy

by William Tate

The Gallup Organization had some bad news for Barack Obama on Friday. It's not that Obama fell behind Mitt Romney by two points in Gallup's daily tracking poll, although that couldn't have helped the the O-Team's spirits heading into the weekend. Between now and the election, polls are likely to be less stable than Joe Biden's thought process.

The really bad news for the Chicago mob is that Gallup's unemployment survey shows the Obama economy is getting even worse. Gallup reported an uptick in joblessness in their latest survey of 30,000 households.

"(T)his suggests that the government's unadjusted unemployment rate could increase to 8.7% ... The government's measurement of the unadjusted unemployment rate has been known to differ with Gallup's findings, but a drop of 0.3% ... is necessary to bring the government's unadjusted rate down to Gallup levels."

However, the figure that is most commonly used in reporting joblessness is the Bureau of Labor Statistics's (BLS's) seasonally adjusted rate. Of that rate, Gallup notes:

"More interestingly, there were no BLS seasonal adjustments in August 2011. If this remains the same in 2012, the Gallup seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for August would be 8.3% while that of the BLS would be 8.7%, assuming a similar increase to that shown in the Gallup data."

That would represent a .4% increase over last month's numbers and would raise the official government jobless rate dangerously close to 9%.

Gallup adds:

"Further, Gallup's data show the labor force participation rate to be increasing in August. In turn, that could have an additional negative impact on the unemployment rate for August if the government's data show a similar pattern."

Gallup hints that only something like manipulation of data will prevent the BLS from reporting a substantial increase in unemployment.

"Regardless, barring heroic adjustments or a sharp change in direction, Gallup data suggest the seasonally adjusted U.S. unemployment rate for August will increase -- possibly substantially -- when announced in early September." (emphasis added)

As previously noted, Gallup pointed out that last year's August data was not adjusted. It will be interesting to see if the BLS decides to adjust their data this year.

The BLS has generally enjoyed a favorable reputation. However, under the Obama gang, economists have begun to scratch their heads over some of the numbers produced. Last month, for instance, the Bureau's payroll survey of employers reported the economy added a slightly better than expected number of jobs, but the BLS also reported that the unemployment rate actually increased. That's because its separate survey of 60,000 households, the one that most closely matches Gallup's, reported that 200,000 fewer folks had jobs in July.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics will report its August unemployment figures, the next-to-last report before the November election, on September 7th -- about the time many people start giving the election serious thought. It's been said that the campaign doesn't start until after Labor Day.

With Gallup reporting on Friday that 1 in 4 American workers are either unemployed or underemployed -- not counting the millions of folks who've given up looking for work -- this is simply devastating news for the guy who said he'd be a one-termer if he didn't fix the economy. Or would be if it's reported.

Look for it to be buried, though.

Instead we're likely to see coverage of how many years of his taxes Romney should release, or the differences between Romney's and Paul Ryan's budget proposals, or Obama campaign stops, or, say, Hillary's hairdo. Anything but the one thing that just about everybody predicted would be the central issue heading into this election.

There used to be an old joke that, if you wanted to distract somebody, you'd point in the air behind them and say, "Look, it's the Goodyear blimp!"

So, when you hear or read about Romney's taxes, or Ryan's budget, or even gaffe-a-minute Biden's latest mis-statement, it's the media's way of pointing over your shoulder and trying to convince you that there's a certain dirigible back there.

Don't fall for it. It's a trick.

William Tate is an award-winning journalist and author


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

How Palestinians Keep Shooting Themselves in the Foot

by Hisham Jarallah

Instead of using the billions of dollars that were given to them by Americans and Europeans to create new jobs, the PLO leadership stole most of the funds and later blamed Israel for damaging the Palestinian economy.

As the Arab countries continue to impose strict employment restrictions on Palestinians, Israel is opening its doors to Palestinian workers from the West Bank. Palestinians say, in fact, that Israel is becoming one of the largest employers of Palestinians in the Middle East.

Figures released this week by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics in Ramallah showed that at least 80,000 Palestinians were now working in Israel and even in Jewish settlements.

In the first quarter of 2012, according to the bureau, there were only 77,000 Palestinians working in Israel and the settlements. In the second quarter of the ear, the number grew to 80,000; and earlier this week, the Israeli government issued work permits to another 10,000 Palestinians from the West Bank.

The move has been received with a sigh of relief among Palestinians, especially as it comes on the eve of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr, marking the end of Ramadan.

The figures also showed that Palestinians employed by Israelis earn more than those who work for their Palestinian brethren in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. A Palestinian construction laborer often earns more than a senior ministry official in the Palestinian Authority government in the West Bank or the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip.

What is interesting about the bureau's report is that the number of Palestinians working in Jewish settlements has increased despite calls from the Palestinian Authority to boycott the settlements.

Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad's attempts to prevent the workers from going to the settlements has failed largely because they were not able to provide them with alternative employment. Despite the billions of dollars that were showered on the Palestinian Authority in recent years by the international community, Abbas and Fayyad still have not been able to solve the problem of unemployment in the Palestinian territories.

The Arab world, which once used to absorb hundreds of thousands of Palestinian employees, is beginning to close its doors in the face of Palestinians. Many of the Arab countries accuse the Palestinians of being ungrateful. Others do not want to see Palestinians at all: they consider Palestinians troublemakers and a source of instability.

Some Arab countries such as Lebanon, Egypt, Kuwait and Jordan even impose apartheid-like regulations and laws that prevent Palestinians from earning a decent living.

The Palestinians could have built one of the best economies in the region after the beginning of the peace process in 1993. But instead of using the billions of dollars that were given to them by Americans and Europeans to create new jobs, the PLO leadership stole most of the funds and later blamed Israel for damaging the Palestinian economy.

Suicide bombings and financial and administrative corruption are the main reason why the Palestinian economy remains as weak as ever. The Palestinians are experts in shooting themselves in the foot and then blaming Israel.

Hisham Jarallah is a journalist based in the West Bank.


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Alawites in Syria and Alevis in Turkey: Crucial Differences

by Stephen Schwartz

Most significant is the political difference. Alawites support a brutal dictatorship, while Turkish and Kurdish Alevis defend electoral democracy.

Sectarian differences, threatening to ensnare Muslims outside Syria's borders, have emerged as a key aspect of the horrific bloodshed there. Since February 2011 the Syrian protestors, mainly following Sunni Islam, have mobilized against the Baathist government of Bashar Al-Assad, as a further chapter in the "Arab Spring." As of the end of July 2012, fatalities in the Syrian fighting are estimated at more than 20,000.

In Syria, Al-Assad's state, military, and irregular militias draw significantly on a small – and, to the world, mysterious – variant of Shia Islam known as Alawites. Of Syria's population of 22 million, at least two million are Alawites; it is common to see them credited with 12 percent of the country's inhabitants. They mostly reside in the Syrian province of Latakia, from the northwest border with Turkey along the Mediterranean coast, and in southern Syria. Alawites are also found in Lebanon, and among Syrians and Lebanese abroad.

In Turkey, northward beyond the uneasy Syrian-Turkish frontier, and concentrated in eastern Anatolia, another Shia sect, the Alevis, comprise, according to many estimates, a quarter of the Turkish census, or 20 million out of 80 million. They include, in addition, a million in the Turkish diaspora in Germany, and still more in the ranks of emigrants from Turkey to the Netherlands and other Western European lands.

It is easy to conflate the Alawites and Alevis. Superficially the Alawites and the Alevis may seem related closely or even identical, especially because of their corresponding names; moreover, about a half million Arab Alawites also live on the Turkish side of the border with Syria.

The similarity of their common designation – Alawite and Alevi both mean "devoted to Ali," the son-in-law and cousin of Prophet Muhammad – denotes that they are Shia in origin. Shiism is defined essentially by reverence for Ali, the fourth caliph, or successor, to Muhammad as leader of the Muslims, before he was murdered in 661 CE. Mainstream Shiism recognizes 12 imams or religious guides, beginning with Imam Ali; and Alawites and Alevis are known as "Twelvers" in honoring them.

While they are "Twelvers," Alawites and Alevis hold to principles and practices that set the two communities off from the rest of the global Shia community. Alawites and Alevis view Imam Ali as embodying the divine. In this they are far from conventional Shia doctrine, according to which Imam Ali was noble, but purely human. But notwithstanding these points of resemblance between the Alawite and Alevi believers, they are, in reality, markedly unalike from one another.

First, as indicated by a Swedish academic, Marianne Aringberg-Laanatza, in a contribution to the 1998 volume, Alevi Identity, Syrian Arab Alawites, and Turkish and Kurdish Alevis, are nationalistic, and represent conflicting ethnicities.

Syrian and Turkish Alawites speak Arabic; Syria – both Alawite and Sunni – has considered Turkey, in the main, an opponent of its historic interests. Turkish Alevis, however, speak Turkish; and Kurdish Alevis speak Turkish and Kurdish. The majority of Kurds desire autonomy, if not full self-determination, free of Arab or Turkish domination. This aspect of their cultures is central to the religious life of the Alevis and distinguishes them from the Alawites as well as from established Shiism. Alawites and Alevis do not share a liturgical language, as Turkish and Kurdish adherents to conventional Sunnism and Shiism possess in Arabic.

Second, neither Alawites in their majority, nor Alevis as a whole, pray in mosques or support clerics as mainstream Shias do. Yet Alawites do not even maintain their own places for worship, except for shrines to their leaders (sheikhs), while Alevis congregate in a ceremony called the "cem" (pronounced "jem") in a meeting-house or "cemevi."

Third, Alawite religious literature is apparently limited to the Koran and the collected sermons of Imam Ali (entitled Nahjul Balagha or Peak of Eloquence). An enigmatic volume of purported Alawite scripture, the Kitab al-Majmu or Book of Collection, may not exist. Alawite teachings are transmitted incrementally through the lifetimes of selected disciples, but denied to most acolytes, and kept rigorously secret.

Alevis, on the other hand, possess an extensive and widely-read religious literature, mainly composed of spiritual songs, poems, and epic verse. The Alevi "cem" combines singing, music, and dancing. Alevis consider themselves spiritual Muslims, or Sufis. Their recitations are drawn from the outstanding and beloved Turkish poet, Yunus Emre; the Kurdish Sufi, Safi Al-Din; the Persian-Turkish Sufi, Hajji Bektash, and the Turkish poet, Pir Sultan Abdal, among others.

Fourth, the Alawites and Alevis emerged at distant times and places. The Alawite faith was founded early in Islamic history, in the ninth century, by Abu Shuayb Muhammad ibn Nusayr, a Shia adherent, and may reflect the survival of Phoenician paganism as well as pre-Islamic Persian religions.

The creed of the Alevis, however, more a movement than a sect, began among 14th century mystical dissenters in Central Asia. Parallel with the Alawite faith, Alevism preserves pre-Islamic elements of Turkish shamanism and Kurdish angel-worship. Alevism became a significant factor among Anatolian peasants supporting Shah Ismail, a Kurdish Shia Sufi, who conquered Persia in the 16th century. Shah Ismail was also a poet whose works are featured in the Alevi "cem." The appearance of Shiism in Turkish-ruled Anatolia led the Ottoman sultan, Selim I, a Sunni, to fight an unsuccessful war against Shah Ismail and Persia. In its aftermath, the Alevis would suffer under the Ottomans for assisting Shah Ismail's armies.

Fifth, Alawites consider women inferior and exclude them from sacred observances. By contrast, Turkish and Kurdish Alevis are confirmed supporters of gender equality, and women participate in leading the Alevi "cem."

But most significant is the political difference between them. Although both Alevis and Alawites are opposed to Islamist ideological governance, Alawites support a brutal dictatorship, while Turkish and Kurdish Alevis defend electoral democracy.

Although the Turkish and Kurdish Alevis may be labeled by some as "the same as" Syrian or Turkish-Arab Alawites, their history, culture, and attitudes are clearly disparate. As Prof. Aringberg-Laanatza concludes, "The Turkish Alevis... do not relate themselves in any way to the Alawites in Syria." Aringberg-Laanatza sees "to some extent... a common historical background based on elements of Christians converted to these special forms of Islam." That is, however, a slim reed on which to lean any claim of Alawite-Alevi commonality.

For Alawites and Alevis, as the axiom goes, analysts should make distinctions, not confuse them.

Stephen Schwartz


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Which Candidate Cares More About Israel?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Ever since the last of a series of full-scale blowups between the Obama administration and Israel, Democrats have been desperately trying to convince Jewish voters that the president really is the Jewish state’s best friend. In order to do so, voters would have to ignore most of what had happened in the first three years of his presidency but they were able to argue that his decision not to blow up the U.S.-Israel alliance completely ought to serve as proof of his good intentions. That’s enough for many Jews whose partisan preferences leave them ready to believe the Democrats’ talking points. But while American voters, Jewish and non-Jewish who consider the question an important one, ponder the question of which presidential candidate is a better friend to Israel, the people with the most on the line in the Middle East also have an opinion.

The latest poll of Israeli views of the U.S. election is similar to previous surveys on the question of American leadership: they don’t trust President Obama. As the Jerusalem Post reports, a new Peace Index/Dahaf Institute poll shows that 2-1 majority of Israeli Jews think Mitt Romney cares more about them than the president. Forty percent of respondents said Romney “assigns more importance to defending Israeli national interests” while 19 percent said Obama did. Ten percent saw neither as being more supportive than the other while 25 percent said they didn’t know and six percent said “neither” backed their country. Back in April a Smith Research/Jerusalem Post poll found that 60 percent of Israelis saw Obama as either pro-Palestinian or neutral in the Middle East conflict. All of which leads one to wonder why so many American Jews think they understand Obama’s views of the question better than Israelis.

The answer to that question is fairly obvious. It’s not that most Jewish Democrats really believe that Obama is sympathetic to the Jewish state. They have eyes and ears like the rest of us and can easily pick up the fact that, as veteran peace processor Aaron David Miller put it, “unlike [Bill] Clinton and George W. Bush, Obama isn’t in love with the idea of Israel.” It’s not just that most Jews aren’t single-issue Israel voters, it’s that for many of them, it doesn’t much matter. Others, including many liberals who do care about Israel, find reasons to grade him on a steep curve that allows him to pass muster because of his liberal positions on domestic issues.

But for that 10-25 percent of the Jewish electorate whose votes are in play this fall, the question of the president’s record on Israel will be important. Polls showing Israeli distrust of the president — which is getting deeper because of his lack of resolve on the Iranian nuclear threat — will make it even harder for Democrats to convince voters that he can be trusted to do the right thing for the Jewish state.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: King Mursi the First

by Mordechai Kedar

Read the article in the original עברית
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)

Nine months ago, in November of 2011, the Muslim Brotherhood won almost half of the seats of the Egyptian "Peoples' Council", thus translating the long-standing support of the population into a political asset of undeniable strength. This success encouraged them to contend for the presidency as well, and in June their representative - Mohammad Mursi - won this exalted office. The Supreme Military Council, the military body that had been managing affairs in Egypt since Mubarak was sent packing in February 2011, ground its teeth with rage, and the head of the Council - Field Marshall Hussein Tantawi - who was suspected of intending to remain in control until the end of his days, announced again and again that he does not intend to turn into Mubarak number 2. Despite this, there was an open rivalry between the military and the Brotherhood: on one side is an unelected body, which is powerful, violent, hated, secular, self-interested, armed, hierarchical, obedient and disciplined; and on the other hand there was an elected body, supported by the public, not violent, religious, ideological, connected to the population and perceived as the embodiment of the dream of many years.

During the past months, especially since Mursi was elected in June, Egypt seemed like a rickety cart, pulled by two horses, but each in its own direction. Each horse tries to step on the other's hoofs, trying to negate the strength of the other, despite the fact that both of them know that they are destined to pull the cart together. The Supreme Constitutional Court dispersed the parliament, thus pulling an important rug out from under the feet of the Brotherhood. The Supreme Military Council issued an order to freeze the powers of the president, but then Mursi cut off the head of the military snake, Tantawi, Commander in chief Anan, Head of General Intelligence Muaffi, and a long line of officers, "tails" of the old regime, who had been appointed by Mubarak, with one decision that appeared as if it was exploiting the attack on the Kerem Shalom Crossing two weeks ago.

As of the writing of these lines, not a word of public outcry has been heard by all of the symbols of Mubarak's regime that Mursi sent packing, and the impression that is created is that they have accepted the decision and quietly left their offices . It could be that they indeed have accepted this "boot upwards": Some of them have joined the "presidential team" as very close advisers to Mursi so that he would be able to keep an eye on their doings, and some accepted high positions in public service.

But behind the scenes a difficult struggle was being played out: In the middle of last week, President Mursi held a discussion of the Council of National Defense in his office, which dealt with the implications of the terror attack at the Kerem Shalom Crossing and with the security situation in Sinai. Mursi, Tantawi, Anan and other senior officers were all participants in this discussion, during which,Tantawi claimed that Egyptian intelligence had information on the involvement of Palestinian elements in the attack, and that Israel had paid them. Therefore - in his view - Egypt must hermetically close the Rafah Crossing, because of the threat to Egyptian national security that it poses. Mursi became enraged and said: I do not believe that a Palestinian would do this, and if you had prior information about it why did you not act appropriately? I will not permit the closing of the crossing because I don't suspect that Hamas took part in the action." Tantawi rejected the words of the president and emphasized that the Supreme Military Council had decided to close the Rafah Passage completely, and perhaps it would be opened in the distant future. "We, the military people, are in charge of that." With these words, Mursi answered sharply: "I am the high commander of the Egyptian military." The meeting dispersed after deciding to deal with the centers of terrorism in Sinai with full determination and without any sensitivity, without the "Supreme Court" or the prying eyes of human rights organizations, as is commonly done in the Arab world. Last Saturday, the president met with Tantawi and Anan, and did not reveal to them that he was about to fire them within a few hours.

The military did not come to the defense of Tantawi and Anan, and General Intelligence did not express a public objection on the dismissal of Muaffi. This begs the question: how did the powerful heads of all of these bodies submit and unquestioningly accept upon themselves the supreme authority of Mursi? Have they all become faithful followers of the Muslim Brotherhood? Not quite. One possible explanation is that those who were dismissed are quite advanced in years (Tantawi is 76 years old) and they have no desire to continue in difficult and demanding military roles for many more years. Another explanation, and in my opinion much more likely, is that those who were dismissed, especially Tantawi, told Mursi, either explicitly or implicitly, "Take the country and let's see you manage it with your Brothers". Because in the background is the precarious economic situation of Egypt: no tourism, no foreign investment, dwindling foreign reserves, all within the context of a deep global crisis, with European states collapsing, and there is no redeemer on the horizon except - perhaps - the United States, which, up until now has not understood how to relate to the Muslim Brotherhood: as a legitimate regime or a group of radical Islamists. In this situation, a person would need great faith in the One Who dwells on High to believe that Egypt can be rescued, so those who were dismissed apparently are not enthusiastic believers after all.

However, it may be that in the near future, the military will indeed come into conflict with the president, when the latter tries to get his hands on the assets of the military. In Egypt the military is an economic empire, which is called "the National Service Project Organization", and was founded in the beginning of the eighties in order to provide work for the many people of the military who were dismissed as a result of the peace agreement with Israel. There are estimates that between 25 and 40 percent of the Gross National Product of Egypt is connected with the companies, banks and corporations that belong to the military. The situation has become so severe that in recent months the military has been loaning money to the state. This may sound illogical, but this is the situation in Egypt: the military has more wealth than the state, and its economic power - most of which is hidden from the public eye - is not subject to the authority of the state. The companies that belong to the military are active in all areas of the economy: management of real estate, domestic services, restaurants, petrol stations, food industries, as well as chemical, petrochemical and plastics industries. The Egyptian weapons industry is entirely - and openly - under the auspices of the "minister of defense and military industries". This activity is conducted openly because of the connections that this industrial complex has with companies abroad, especially with the United States, and the global prohibition of clandestine action in the business of weapons and ammunition.

One of the important reasons for the wealth of the labyrinth of companies that have connections with the military is the fact that their earnings are tax-free and there is no need to report them to the tax authority. These companies have supported each other because they don't need to bid for contracts. The economic conduct of the military has created in Egypt two main economic classes: those who enjoy the benefits of the military industries and those who are far from the plate. This causes a wide economic gap resulting in corruption, discrimination, cronyism and public rage.

Mursi certainly knows the economic empire of the military well , and sooner or later he will try to get the state's hands on it. What will the military do then? Will it submit or will it fight?

It seems that the military would prefer to come to an agreement with the president and to avoid having a head-on collision with him, because since the revolution and the deep economic crisis, millions of Egyptian families have been brought to indigence, and this has resulted in public sensitivity toward the wealth of the military.

On the Way to a Religious Dictatorship?

The heads of the security system were dismissed because of the public rage that arose as a result of the murder of the Egyptian soldiers, and the sense of the public that the military did not act appropriately to safeguard the lives of the soldiers. Mursi exploited this mood to the fullest and enhanced his status as president by dismissing the almost omnipotent military chiefs. It is important to note that this public rage was also exploited by the media, because in dealing with the most recent attack, they are at Mursi's service in all matters. He is presented as the ideal man, with clean hands and a pure heart, the redeemer of Egypt, the right man in the right place, the man that Egypt has awaited for so many years. On the other hand, journalists and broadcasters who have dared to criticize him were silenced and arrested, and charges were brought against them for spreading lies. It seems that the Egyptian media, which, during the last year, enjoyed great freedom after sixty years of military rule, were again impressed into serving the regime, but this time for the benefit of civil rule . Anyone who listens today to Egyptian broadcast stations gets the impression that a heavy hand is controlling them and that they broadcast only whatever President Mursi expects them to broadcast.

However, in the international media, which are not under the supervision of the Muslim Brotherhood, many Egyptians express their concern over Mursi's style of rule: did the Egyptian people overthrow a secular dictator, in order to have a religious one? This question is especially sharp in light of the fact that the revolution originally was not religious, but rather civil, because the youth of Tahrir Square who overthrew Mubarak in January-February 2011 were secular, liberal and freedom seekers, while the Muslim Brotherhood rode the wave of revolution in a later phase, taking advantage of it in order to take over the state. The youth of the revolution hear the Egyptian broadcast stations today and understand that their sacrifice - including fatalities, wounded and severe humiliation - was in vain, because religious rule was the last thing they would have wished for.

On the other hand, Mursi is also severely criticized by the Salafis, who have great strength among the population, having won a quarter of the parliamentary seats. They complain about Mursi, mainly in their sermons in the mosques, that he does not intend to implement Sharia law as the law of the land, and their fixed question is: "Why did you deserve to come into power?" The question hints at the possibility that the Brotherhood is nothing but bloodthirsty pursuers of power and authority, and that they really have no intention to impose Islamic law on the state. This accusation is very disturbing to Mursi and his associates, because it is intended to undermine the religious legitimacy of his regime.

Criticism from a third side comes from the direction of the Christian Copts, who compose about twenty percent of the citizens of Egypt. Since Mursi was elected as president they feel increasingly threatened by Muslims, and bloody confrontations occur more and more often between these two groups. As a result of this, many Copts seek desperately for a way to emigrate from Egypt, and this fact increases the Muslim rage against them, because although emigration will hopefully solve the problem of the Copts, the Muslims will remain to wallow in the mire of the chronic problems that Egypt suffers from.

The Peace Agreement With Israel

Many in Israel and in the world are very disturbed by the possibility that Mursi will sacrifice the peace agreement with Israel on the altar of building his own and his regime's legitimacy. Won't the person who succeeded in removing the head of the Supreme Military Council, also be able to remove the Israeli ambassador? This could happen if Israeli attacks Gaza or Sinai, but even then, Egypt will keep the proper level of diplomatic representation, by means of maintaining a consulate, an acting Israeli Embassy or by placing an Israeli representative within the framework of another embassy, for example Switzerland.

Cancelling the peace agreement could cause severe damage to the already shaky Egyptian economy, because the atmosphere of war would chase away the tourists and investors, and might increase the price of insurance for the ships that pass through the Suez Canal, thus increasing the motivation of the carriers to find ways around the Suez Canal. One possibility is to transfer oil by way of the Eilat-Ahskelon pipeline, which will bring additional income to Israel.

Israeli politicians, ministers (this week it was the secretary of state), members of Knesset and other officials, say publicly and without hesitation that the peace between Israel and Egypt is in the interest of Egypt, and that Egypt must put an end to the chaos in Sinai because it is a threat to Egypt, not only to Israel, and the attack two weeks ago proves this. I do not reject this Israeli evaluation, however the fact that many Israelis say this over and over again creates the impression that they are afraid and shaking with fear lest the peace agreement might be cancelled, and therefore they try to convince the Egyptians that this agreement is in Egypt's interest even more than it is in Israel's interest. But this kind of talk might cause the opposite result: a member of the Muslim Brotherhood might ask himself: if the Israelis are so fearful about the cancellation of the peace treaty then perhaps it's the right thing to do? Israelis do not understand that their obsessive preoccupation in the media with the question of the peace agreement with Egypt actually endangers the peace agreement. Irresponsible Israeli chatter on the subject exposes Israeli fear, and as a result of this, many Egyptians call on Mursi to open the agreements and to behave as the master and the sovereign over Sinai, to stop supplying gas to Israel without regard to the resulting loss of income, and to remove the Israeli flag from Cairo.

Many Israelis do not know the rules of the game of the Middle East: the more we show enthusiasm for something, the higher its price rises, and the opposite holds true as well: the less interest we express in something, the lower the demanded price will be. If we announce day and night that we want peace with our enemies or to obtain the release of a kidnapped soldier who is in their hands - the price for the peace or the soldier will be more than we can pay. But if we broadcast a message that we can do without peace, and will not pay an exorbitant price for a kidnapped soldier, then the price will decrease to a reasonable level, one which is worth paying.

We have had another example in recent weeks: in order to fight terror in Sinai, Egypt requested from Israel to agree to bring tanks and helicopters into Sinai, which is forbidden according to the military appendix to the peace agreement. It seems that the government of Israel agreed to this extremely quickly and the process of decision making was greatly expedited. On one hand this is a correct and appropriate decision, because it is important that we support Egypt to cope with the terror in Sinai. But on the other hand, the Israeli haste in taking the decision broadcasts the very harmful and dangerous message that Israel is willing to yield quickly a central component of its security - the demilitarization of the Sinai - in exchange for preventing terror activity on its borders. That is, Israel sees a terror group as a greater danger than the Egyptian army deployed on its borders. Have the eyes of those who make decisions about our security, who have served in the most elite units in the IDF, become so dim? Has anyone thought about the long-term implication of bringing in the Egyptian military to Sinai? Was the permission that was given to Egypt limited in time, or might everything that was brought in remain forever? What will Israel do with requests to bring in additional weapons to Sinai? And what will Israel do if the Egyptians begin to stream weapons into Sinai - "in order to fight terror" - without Israel's permission?

I still harbor the hope within myself that the day will come when our decision makers will understand better the mindset of the Middle East, and will take decisions in a way that will strengthen Israel and not weaken her. This is especially important since the Islamic King Mursi the First is increasing his strength in Egypt, and his personal and ideological view is that Israel can evaporate together with its peace agreement.


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures in the U.S. and Canada

Dr. Mordechai Kedar ( is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally Zahav.

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Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

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