Saturday, September 8, 2012

Obama’s War on Jewish Jerusalem

by P. David Hornik


On Wednesday we heard that Jerusalem (along with, no less significantly, the Palestinian “right of return” and Hamas) had been omitted from the Democratic Party’s platform for 2012. On Thursday we heard that Jerusalem had been reinstated—by means of the ludicrous voice vote shown in this already viral video, in which it is not at all clear that the ayes really have a two-thirds majority or even a majority at all.

Whether or not the original omission was President Obama’s doing, it was certainly consistent with the content of another much-viewed video from slightly over a month ago, in which White House spokesman Jay Carney, by refusing to say what city the White House considers the capital of Israel, made perfectly clear that the city is not Jerusalem. It is also consistent with Obama’s failure to visit Israel since being president—which would entail coming to Jerusalem in pomp and splendor and at least tacitly acknowledging it as the capital, a message the president does not want to convey to the surrounding countries.

Back in June 2008, candidate Obama, in a speech to AIPAC, surprised everyone by declaring that “Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided.” That drew a sharp rebuff from Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas among others. And one day after his AIPAC statement Obama backtracked, telling CNN: “Well, obviously, it’s going to be up to the parties to negotiate a range of these issues. And Jerusalem will be part of those negotiations.”

If that at least sounded like neutrality, it quickly got worse when candidate Obama became President Obama. In his Cairo speech in June 2009, in which he spent several paragraphs vilifying Israeli communities over the 1967 line to a largely Islamic-extremist audience, Obama said:

All of us have a responsibility to work for the day…when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus, and Mohammed (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.

If that too may have sounded like a kind of neutrality, it actually pointedly excluded any reference to the political status of Jerusalem or even part of Jerusalem—in the present or the future—as Israel’s capital. It came, in other words, from the same territory as the Carney press conference and the platform omission; except that it was delivered to an audience all too accepting of the message that—whatever Israel may say—Jerusalem currently has no established political status at all.

It was, of course, nine months later, in March 2010, that all hell broke loose when, during a visit to Jerusalem by Vice-President Joseph Biden, a zoning board announced plans to build apartments for Jews in Ramat Shlomo, an already-existing neighborhood of 20,000 in the part of Jerusalem that was under illegal Jordanian rule from 1949 to 1967. “I condemn,” stormed Biden, “the decision by the government of Israel to advance planning for new housing units in east Jerusalem.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, for her part, called the zoning board’s announcement “an insult to the United States” and telephoned Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to excoriate him over the transgression for 45 minutes.

Two weeks later Obama himself got directly into the act. When Netanyahu came to the White House in an effort to calm the winds, he found himself snubbed by Obama in what may have been the most insolent treatment ever meted out by a U.S. president to a visiting head of government.

The next November in Jakarta, asked at a press conference about approvals that had been issued to build 1300 homes—for Jews, of course—in two Jerusalem neighborhoods, Obama replied: “This kind of activity is never helpful when it comes to peace negotiations.” As I noted at the time, Indonesia is a country that forbids Israeli citizens to visit, is one of 19 UN member states that do not recognize Israel as a state, and does not allow overflights by Israeli planes.

Then, in May 2011, Obama said in a speech to the State Department:

The United States believes that negotiations should result in two states, with permanent Palestinian borders with Israel, Jordan, and Egypt…. We believe the borders of Israel and Palestine should be based on the 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps….

That, in a radical break with previous U.S. policy that left the issue of borders open, meant Israel had no right to any of the territory it had captured in 1967—not the strategically indispensable Jordan Valley and not the liberated parts of Jerusalem including the Old City, the Western Wall, and the Temple Mount—and would have to “swap” parts of pre-1967 Israel for what little it managed to keep.

The consternation was so great that a few days later Obama—in a speech to AIPAC—seemed to backtrack in the other direction, saying that “the parties themselves—Israelis and Palestinians—will negotiate a border that is different than the one that existed on June 4, 1967.” By now, though, the president’s attitudes toward Jerusalem and Israel were clear enough.

The most recent events are, then, just the continuation of a pattern. The fact that there was so much difficulty voice-voting Jerusalem back into the Democratic platform—if it was actually done at all—reflects the fact that the problem goes beyond Obama himself and includes a sizable portion of the Democratic Party.

P. David Hornik


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Lessons for Israel from Captured Iraqi Nuclear Documents

by Dore Gold

While Israel is naturally focused on the implications of Iran completing its drive toward nuclear weapons, there is another case of one of its bitterest enemies, who tried to accomplish the same goal once before: Saddam Hussein of Iraq. As a result of the 2003 Iraq War, the U.S. Army captured thousands of hours of recordings of highly-classified meetings of the Iraqi leadership on the subject of how they viewed the purpose of nuclear weapons in the future, as well as how they envisioned their use in the context of a war against Israel.

The U.S. Army made the Iraqi tapes and documents available for analysts, who have begun to publish books and academic articles on their content. Last year, two analysts, Hal Brands and David Palkki, published a study they prepared on the Iraqi records for the U.S. National Defense University (NDU). What they found was that Saddam Hussein had personally spoken about the importance of nuclear weapons as a key component of Iraqi strategy from 1978 until the Israeli strike on the Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981.

Saddam's earlier obsession with nuclear weapons appears to have stopped for at least seven or eight years after the attack, according to the documents, until the late the 1980s when he began to speak about the subject again. For Brands and Palkki, the time Israel gained is a vindication of Prime Minister Menachem Begin's decision to strike Iraq.

So how did Saddam Hussein view the utility of nuclear weapons in a future conflict with Israel? The two NDU authors, Brands and Palkki, point out that contrary to the theories of many experts on international relations in the U.S., who claim that states seek to acquire nuclear weapons for defensive purposes alone in order to enhance deterrence against their neighbors, the Iraqi documents indicate that Saddam Hussein's regime clearly had offensive goals in mind.

This has contemporary relevance. In the July/August edition of the prestigious American quarterly, Foreign Affairs, that sometimes serves as a weather vane for the prevalent atmosphere in the U.S. foreign policy community, Professor Kenneth Waltz published an article entitled: "Why Iran Should Get the Bomb." He argues that an Iranian bomb would balance Israel and hence be "the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East."

Brands and Palkki believe that his kind of thinking is completely wrong. To prove their point that stability will not be the likely result of the proliferation of nuclear weapons, they cite a meeting of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council on March 27, 1979 in which Saddam presented his strategic thinking, when he was the de-facto ruler of Iraq and just about to formally become its president. His thinking was surprising for he explained that Iraqi nuclear weapons would neutralize what many believed was Israel's nuclear capacity, thereby allowing Iraq to wage conventional war against Israel.

On another occasion, Saddam envisioned an Arab war coalition attacking Israel, spearheaded by 10 Iraqi divisions (five infantry and five armored or artillery) as well as forces from Syria and possibly Jordan. According to the documents, he raised this idea with Syrian president Hafez al-Assad. What Saddam Hussein’s strategy illustrates is that the military use of nuclear weapons on the part of an adversary of Israel is very different from the role nuclear weapons played during the Cold War, despite the efforts of some analysts to apply the Soviet-American experience to the current Iranian threat.

What were Saddam's war aims according to this captured material? In some cases he spoke about recovering the territories the Arabs lost in 1967. Yet when he spoke to his most trusted advisers, he called for the elimination of Israel. Thus what emerges from the Iraqi documents is that when a leader like Saddam Hussein spoke about the destruction of Israel in public, this was not just rhetoric for political purposes, but rather reflective of the operational plans he had in mind for the Iraqi army in the future.

Much has changed since the time these Iraqi documents were written, and the threats Israel might face are evolving. But it would be a mistake to imagine that they have disappeared completely and much will depend upon the question of whether Iraq becomes a truly independent state or ends up being an Iranian satellite that serves as a springboard for its forces in the future. In this context, the latest information just revealed this week that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is permitting Iranian aircraft to fly through Iraqi airspace to re-supply the embattled regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria, despite the repeated requests of the Obama administration that it discontinue this activity, is extremely disturbing.

Saddam Hussein's thinking about the relationship of nuclear weapons and conventional war is important to note for one other reason. In the debate over Israel's future borders in the West Bank, it is frequently argued that in the age of missiles, especially if they are armed with weapons of mass destruction, topography, terrain, and strategic depth are no longer relevant and hence Israel can give them up in future peace arrangements. This thesis, if widely accepted, could have enormous implications for areas like the Jordan Valley, undermining Israel's goal of obtaining defensible borders in any peace settlement.

But if the purpose of nuclear weapons in the hands of Israel's enemies is to make it safe for them to return to the era of conventional wars, then Israel must make sure that it guarantees that at the end of the day it must not be forced to concede its most vital territorial assets based on the unfounded notion that they no longer matter in the nuclear era.

Dore Gold


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

War on Women is in Egypt, Not the GOP

by Jonathan S. Tobin

Those watching the Democratic National Convention this week were subjected to a feedback loop of angry denunciations of Republicans for what we were told was their “war on women.” But if you want to see what a real war on women looks like as opposed to a political disagreement about abortion or whether Catholic institutions should be forced to pay for services, like contraception, that offend their faith, you need to look elsewhere. As the New York Times reports, despite their reassurances given to gullible Western reporters and the Obama administration, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood is going full speed ahead with its campaign to impose its Islamist social agenda on the nation. And that agenda isn’t abortion or free contraceptives but a full-blown attempt to reverse the tenuous advances women made toward equality under the Mubarak regime.

Given the Muslim Brotherhood’s increasingly tight grip on the reins of power in Cairo this is not a theoretical question but one of vital importance for the future of the most populous Arab country. The Brotherhood says its priority is reviving the country’s economy and has convinced the Obama administration to forgive $1 billion in debt that they owe the United States and Western nations. As Max wrote earlier this week, this makes sense from the point of view of encouraging stability and seeking to encourage prosperity that will make the country less vulnerable to extremists. But we shouldn’t underestimate the Brotherhood’s determination to eventually wipe out secularism. Even more to the point, it seeks to gain political strength by promoting female subservience.

As the Times reports:

Those broader efforts at shaping a conservative religious society, played out over decades by the Brotherhood, were seen as partly responsible for helping elect Mohamed Morsi president in June. At the time, Mr. Morsi, who resigned from the Brotherhood after taking office, gave assurances that he would protect the rights of women and include them in decision-making. Less than three months into his presidency, though, Mr. Morsi has not fulfilled a campaign promise to appoint a woman as a vice president. …

Many analysts and critics of the Brotherhood see that kind of philosophy, one that gives women independence so long as they maintain their traditional obligations, as effectively constraining women to established gender roles. …

Free from the restrictions of the government of Hosni Mubarak, which outlawed the Brotherhood, the movement’s social outreach programs have mushroomed since Mr. Morsi’s election. In less than a year, Family House expanded from a single office to 18 branches around Egypt and is developing a plan to encourage all couples to attend.

Though they may be moving cautiously, it should be remembered that the Brotherhood is a movement with social goals for transforming Egyptian society as well as the political system. As was the case in Iran over 30 years when the Islamic revolution stifled secularism, women’s rights will be sacrificed along with political freedom.

Though Washington has no good options in Egypt these days, the irony of the Obama administration’s embrace of an Egyptian government that is waging a real war on women while it runs for re-election accusing Republicans of the same charge should not be lost on the nation.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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DNC Final Day: Hope, Promises and Deceptions

by Joe Kaufman

As the National Debt hit $16 trillion on the first day of the convention, it was appropriate that the final day would mark the one year anniversary of the collapse of the Obama funded Solyndra. That aside, this was clearly the strongest night of the DNC convention, featuring powerful speeches made by the President and Vice President. But while many of the words sounded nice, there was little substance behind them, just more of the same rhetoric that permeated throughout the previous two nights – plus at least a couple new offenses.

Congressman John Lewis of Georgia was once a leader in the American civil rights movement. He fought to end segregation, which he was a victim of. However, that does not give him the right to use the issue of race to make a phony political argument. A large part of his speech dealt with what he and a number of Democrats refer to as “voter suppression laws.” He’s upset because some states are forcing voters to show an I.D. before they vote. He wants people to believe that Republican leaders are racist for wanting to do away with voter fraud.

Leading the Pledge of Allegiance was former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a beautiful lady who was shot by a deranged individual looking to take her life. She was escorted to the stage by DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. It was a way for Wasserman Schultz to appear before the crowd without her having the opportunity to make any damaging remarks, something she’s become accustomed to. Giffords’ touching convention moment was ruined by what seemed to be another Democrat attack on religion.

Just one day after the DNC was chided for not mentioning the word “God” in its platform, Caroline Kennedy, daughter of late President John F. Kennedy, took a veiled shot at the Catholic Church, during her speech which focused on women’s rights. She stated, “As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive health seriously, and today, it is under attack.” She then proceeded to complain about how a number of states are restricting women’s access to reproductive health care, i.e. abortions, one of the main things the Church shuns.

Ex-Governor of Florida Charlie Crist gave a speech with virtually no substance whatsoever. But the fact that he was speaking at the Democratic convention was a story in itself, as he has been a Republican for the majority of his life. If the GOP despised him for recently switching his party registration to run against Marco Rubio for U.S. Senate, this act put the nail in the coffin.

Former presidential contender, Senator John Kerry, gave a strong speech – considered to be the best one of his life, albeit very negative. He attempted to scare the viewing audience by saying that Mitt Romney “has all these neocon advisors.” Along with these boogeymen who he says Romney will “rely on,” Kerry stressed that Romney has no foreign policy experience. But considering Obama has embraced the Muslim Brotherhood, has helped give Islamists control of Libya, and has acted weak with Iran, aside from some terrorist kills, just about anyone may arguably be better.

V.P. Joe Biden’s speech was also strong — at least it sounded strong. The theme of his talk was “Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive,” two of the only positive things that President Obama could take credit for. The speech contained much class warfare, not unlike the rest of the convention. He said that Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are “not for preserving Medicare.” Yet, under the Romney/Ryan plan, Medicare is unchanged for those 55 and older and is reformed for those under 55, allowing for the program to continue well into the future.

The Majority Whip Dick Durban introduced President Obama, as he had in the previous two DNC conventions. He gave a shout-out to the UAW, which had members seated in the crowd. This is the same UAW that caused the fall of the American auto industry and then benefited from the auto bailout. Durban, who authored the Dream Act, praised the President for bringing the kids of illegal immigrants “out of the shadows.” Though, he didn’t mention all the legal immigrants, who work very hard to become citizens and don’t have to live in the shadows.

President Obama had a strong speech as well, but one which offered little meaning. Charles Krauthammer of Fox News described it as “one of the emptiest speeches I have ever heard on a national stage.” Obama kept telling the viewers that they had a definitive choice as to who they should pick to be President for the next four years, but he didn’t give much reason for the viewers to choose him.

He stated, “Now, I won’t pretend the path I’m offering is quick or easy. I never have. You didn’t elect me to tell you what you wanted to hear. You elected me to tell you the truth.” Nearly four years ago, Barack Obama said he would cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term in office. He said if he didn’t have the economy fixed in three years, he’d be a one-term President. He said that people elected him to tell the truth, but when he used the words “I never have,” he wasn’t quite telling the truth.

He said, “We can give more tax breaks to corporations that shift jobs overseas or we can start rewarding companies that open new plants and train new workers and create new jobs here…” With this too, he was fooling the public. The tax breaks that he’s talking about are to entice companies to come back to America. Apple, Cisco, Pfizer and others all said that they would repatriate at least $1 trillion of corporate profits sitting overseas, if Obama would only cut the corporate tax rate. His answer to them was that he would raise taxes on them, not cut them.

His harsh words against oil companies were also disturbing. He stated, “Unlike my opponent, I will not let oil companies write this country’s energy plan or endanger our coastlines or collect another $4 billion in corporate welfare from our taxpayers.” Meanwhile, he was willing to pay Brazil and Mexico with our taxpayer money to drill off our shores, and then make the double-payment to them to sell us the fuel that we could have retrieved ourselves. His idea of a stimulus plan is to stimulate other nations’ economies.

Furthermore, he said he would use the money that America is no longer spending on war in Iraq and Afghanistan to bring down the debt. This, while the money he’s talking about was borrowed to pay for those wars. What he’s saying is that he’s going to pay down the debt with more debt.

Maybe Obama shouldn’t have given voters so many choices with the upcoming election, because with all of the hope and change that he offered the country, Americans may wind up seeing it all for what it really is: empty promises. They may wind up “moving forward” indeed — and choosing someone else.

Joe Kaufman


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Alinskyite Super PAC’s Crusade to Take Down Michele Bachmann

by Matthew Vadum

Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) is now in the crosshairs of the radical left-wing Credo Super PAC which jettisoned an earlier pledge not to target any female congressional candidate in the upcoming election.

Bachmann “has said more hateful and downright crazy things than just about anyone else in Congress,” said community organizer Becky Bond, president of Credo Super PAC.

Bachmann is the “Queen of Crazy,” according to Credo’s website. The PAC is attacking Bachmann because, among other things, she believes the U.S. Constitution limits the powers of the federal government, is an outspoken Christian, opposes same-sex marriage, believes manmade global warming is a myth, and wants to reform Medicare and Medicaid.

The well-funded political action committee was created by Credo Mobile, the wireless reseller that donates part of its profits to left-wing groups such as the George Soros-funded Media Matters for America, ACORN-affiliated Project Vote, Color of Change, and the Sierra Club Foundation. Credo Mobile boasts that it has given upwards of $70 million to left-wing groups since 1985. Credo Super PAC has raked in nearly $2 million so far, according to the Federal Election Commission database.

Barely three months ago Credo was very reluctant to include Bachmann in what it calls its “Take Down the Tea Party Ten” campaign. The PAC declined at that time to gun for the conservative champion and Tea Party leader, out of deference to the Left’s phony anti-GOP “war on women” narrative and because its leaders didn’t want to antagonize female voters.

“There’s no shortage of Tea Party women but if you look at this picture, one of our main themes, and most of our volunteers, frankly, are women,” Credo Mobile president Michael Kieschnick said June 18 during a panel discussion at the Campaign for America’s Future’s Take Back the American Dream conference in Washington, D.C. “We want to be able to go after Independent women [voters] in a year where the House has been ferociously anti-women. That’s why we’re doing it.”

Kieschnick did, however, qualify his statement. “I wouldn’t say we would never, ever do a woman but our structural bias is to start with all men.”

He also said Credo would only target candidates that were “beatable” — which makes Credo’s decision to open fire on Bachmann perplexing. (Kieschnick is a member of George Soros’s Democracy Alliance, a shadowy donors’ collaborative that aims to turn America into Greece.)

In announcing Credo’s assault on Bachmann, Bond cited the three-term lawmaker’s “weak primary showing.” Credo supporters’ “overwhelming demand” for Bachmann’s head convinced the PAC to go after her, Bond said.

In fact Bachmann won her August primary election with more than 80 percent of the vote in a three-way race. She is also the only one of the “Tea Party Ten” whose name does not appear on the RealClearPolitics list of House seats most likely to switch parties. Moreover, Bachmann’s campaign and Leadership PAC have together raised an impressive $17 million this election cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Credo failed to respond to this skeptical reporter’s requests for comment. The PAC’s clam-up comes after the Obama campaign ordered high-level Democrats not to give interviews to conservative media outlets.

At the same time Bachmann joined the “Tea Party Ten,” two other lawmakers were added to the eight already on the list, bringing the total to 11, not 10 — a fact not reflected on the PAC’s website. As anyone who tracks government spending can tell you, math has long been progressives’ worst enemy.

Rep. Mike Coffman (R-Colo.) is now a target because he’s “a paranoid birther,” Bond said. Rep. Jim Renacci (R-Ohio) is a new blip on Credo’s radar screen because he’s “the poster boy for Tea Party economics.”

The original eight Tea Party lawmakers in the House of Representatives marked for defeat are Allen West (Fla.), Steve King (Iowa), Dan Lungren (Calif.), Mike Fitzpatrick (Penn.), Joe Walsh (Ill.), Frank Guinta (N.H.), Sean Duffy (Wisc.), and Chip Cravaack (Minn.).

Instead of running political ads, Credo prefers to use brutal in-your-face Saul Alinsky-inspired tactics aimed at silencing and intimidating its “enemies,” a word that Bond frequently uses.

Credo brags about bullying New Hampshire’s Guinta into not attending a fundraiser and about its candlelight vigils designed to highlight the lawmaker’s combatant status in the nonexistent “war on women.” The storm trooper PAC also celebrates disrupting a Lungren town hall meeting.

Credo calls Iowa’s Steve King a “paranoid bigot.” For proof, Credo consulted radical feminist ambulance chaser Roxanne Conlin. This unsuccessful office seeker was the first female president of the Association of Trial Lawyers of America (since rechristened with the smiley-face name American Association for Justice) and was president and general counsel of the NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund.

King’s policy positions are “atrocious, offensive, and dangerous to the women of this district,” Conlin regurgitated on cue.

The PAC plans to escalate its attacks on Tea Party patriots leading up to Election Day.

“Credo Super PAC will be mobilizing thousands of volunteers to ensure that voters know just how extreme and crazy these Tea Party Republicans are,” Bond said.

“We’re determined to defeat these Tea Party Republicans before they do any more damage to women, seniors and the environment.”

In other words, Credo is mobilizing to stop the Tea Party from saving America.

Matthew Vadum


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

How Solid is the Black Vote for Obama?

by Rosslyn Smith

Urban poverty has skyrocketed under Obama. Black unemployment rates are shameful. Horrible stories of urban violence, such as a shot recently fired into a parochial school bus in Chicago in the Black and Hispanic South Deering neighborhood, seem to dominate local urban news stories. None of this was mentioned at the Democratic National Convention. Inside the convention center, the class warfare meme was largely confined to those evil, rich and largely suburban Republicans.

On Wednesday afternoon, as I was sitting in a chartered bus parked where we could see Bank of America stadium, I chatted with the black driver about the hard time Obama was having trying to attract enough people to fill the stadium. The driver had little time for those who wanted to come just to see Obama. His assessment of Obama and his administration? "When they're making over six figures they stop relating to those of us who make only five"

I don't know how typical this man is of his community. What I do know is the black political class has not done a particularly good job helping working class and welfare class Blacks Americans improve their lives. Consider the massive cheating scandal in Atlanta, where highly paid black school administrators held that lower income black students were incapable of learning. Then there is Chicago, where gunplay by gangs in minority communities now makes Dodge City the night after a cattle drive came off trail seem genteel.

We hear nothing about Chicago's gang crime situation from the Obama administration. Indeed when offered the chance to show solidarity with often hard pressed ordinary black South Side Chicagoans a few weeks back, Obama clearly preferred the company of his crony capitalist friends.

All across the nation, black politicians and their friends seem to grow rich playing the race card even as they have shortchanged their brothers and sisters with corrupt, inefficient and ultimately callously indifferent government services. With prominent support being given gay marriage and abortion on demand these same black politicians are now openly at odds with the one class of institutions that are often still effective at improving lives of the residents of poor urban communities - churches and other faith based organizations.

It will be most interesting to see if black voters again turn out in record numbers to support Obama.

Rosslyn Smith


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State Department Still Playing Patty-Cakes with Pakistan over Terrorism

by Rick Moran

As Bill Roggio and Lisa Lundquist point out at the Long War Journal, Foggy Bottom is schizophrenic about Pakistan's role in sponsoring terrorism.

Specifically, a report given by two anonymous department officials refuses to finger the ISI - Pakistan's intelligence agency -- in giving aid to the Haqqani network:

OPERATOR: Okay. Our next question comes from Adam Entous, Wall Street Journal. Please go ahead.

QUESTION: Yeah, thank you very much. I just wanted to follow up on Justin's question. When you say that this is targeting the Haqqani Network, period, I don't really understand how we can say that after what Admiral Mullen said a year ago about the Haqqanis being a veritable arm of the ISI. I mean, why isn't this a step towards looking at Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism at this point?

SENIOR ADMINISTRATION OFFICIAL ONE: I want to just unequivocally state that this in no way is the consensus, unanimous view of this Administration; that we are making absolutely no effort to begin a process to designate Pakistan as a state sponsor of terrorism. If anything, as I just noted, they have been an extremely valuable ally in countering extremism and terrorism, and we are committed to continuing and maintaining and increasing that coordination and cooperation.

With regard to Chairman Mullen's comments, I hope you also remember that he took great strides at the time to say there was too much focus on the first part of his statement and not on the second part, which was that we had to continue that engagement, we had to continue our efforts. And we are doing just that. So we have always said that we are troubled by safe havens that the Network has in Pakistan and that we will continue to work together with the Pakistanis to squeeze this, and there's more that we can do. This is part of that ongoing effort.


Ultimately, the State officials can't explain how Pakistan can be both a vital partner and one that actively sponsors terror groups like the Haqqani Network. It is no secret that Pakistan has repeatedly refused US requests to take on the Haqqani Network and other militant groups based in North Waziristan, while it has undertaken Potemkin operations to deflect further pressure. In response to Admiral Mullen's statements last fall, the Pakistani military again rejected the call to move against the Haqqani Network.

Admiral Mullen's policy proscriptions, like those of the Bush and Obama administrations and most Pakistan watchers on both sides of the aisle in Washington, make little sense in light of the ISI's active support of a terror group that continues to kill Coalition and Afghan soldiers as well as civilians in Afghanistan; that shelters al Qaeda and other terror groups; etc., etc.

Hard to fight a war when you deny basic realities like -- just who is the enemy?

Rick Moran


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Egypt: The Muslim Brotherhood Bomb?

by Raymond Stock

"We [Egyptians] are ready to starve in order to own a nuclear weapon that will represent a real deterrent and will be decisive in the Arab-Israeli conflict." — Dr. Hamdi Hassan, Spokesman, Muslim Brotherhood Parliamentary Caucus, 2006

When Egypt's first civilian, democratically elected dictator,[1] Mohamed Mursi became his country's first head of state to visit Iran since its own Islamic revolution in 1979 for the annual meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) on August 30, the two leaders might have gone beyond the scheduled turnover of NAM's leadership from Mursi to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran: they most probably discussed Egypt's quietly reviving drive to acquire nuclear power — possibly including nuclear weapons — and how Iran might be of help.

Since taking office on June 30, Mursi has reportedly offered to renew diplomatic relations with Tehran, severed for more than three decades — but then repeatedly denied that he had planned to do so. His visit for the NAM conference, however, along with his sudden recent proposal to set up a committee of four nations including Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to try to end the fighting in Syria, and Egypt's refusal to inspect an Iranian ship passing through the Suez Canal en route to Syria, all indicate that Cairo's relations with Tehran are improving dynamically. Meanwhile, in advance of Mursi's arrival, Iran was said to have offered to assist Egypt in developing a nuclear program.

Almost completely overlooked in Mursi's warp-speed takeover of total state power in Egypt since his election victory, was that on July 8, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MoEE) handed him a feasibility study for the creation of a nuclear power plant at El-Dabaa in the Delta[2] -- possibly the first of four nuclear power plants around the country, the last of which would be brought online by 2025, according to a plan announced by MoEE in spring 2011. (Under the plan, El-Debaa would reach criticality—become operational--in 2019.) While Mursi has not yet announced his decision on whether to proceed with the projects, a number of international companies from Canada, China, France, Russia, South Korea and the U.S. have expressed interest in the bidding for them. In his trip to Beijing just prior to heading for Tehran, Mursi requested $3 billion for "power plants" from the Chinese, according to the geostrategic analysis firm Stratfor. Meanwhile, the website reported on August 30 that the previous day Mursi had told a group of Egyptian expatriates living in China that he was considering the revival of Egypt's nuclear power program.[3] Now comes the possibility that Iran will transfer its nuclear capabilities to Egypt. As Stephen Manual reported from Tehran on August 26 for the website

"Mansour Haqiqatpour, a member [vice-chairman] of the country's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy, told the state-run television station, Press TV, that Iran also plans to invite heads of states to visit the country's nuclear facilities on sidelines of NAM summit. The purpose of the visit is to counter the propaganda unleashed by Western countries that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. He said that Iran was ready to share experience and expertise on nuclear facilities with Egypt and there was no harm in it. One can easily infer from the statement of Haqiqatpour that Iran is indirectly urging Egypt to go for the nuclear technology.[4]"

Iran later denied that it had invited any foreign heads of state to visit any of its nuclear sites during the NAM conference—but not, apparently, the offer to assist Egypt's nuclear program.[5] Although in Tehran Mursi also renewed Egypt's long-standing call for a Nuclear-Weapons-Free Zone in the Middle East, since at least 2006 the Muslim Brotherhood (MB, in which Mursi served as a major leader before his election) has called for Egypt to develop its own nuclear deterrent.[6] This view is so popular that in an interview on the Cairo channel ON-TV, on August 21, 2011, a retired Egyptian army general, Abdul-Hamid Umran said that it was "absolutely necessary" for the nation's security to have "a nuclear program." By this, he made clear, he did not mean a purely civilian program to produce electric power, to which Egypt is technically entitled as a signatory to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). He said, rather, that Egypt should declare the program's peaceful purposes, and then systematically fool the international inspectors to achieve the needed levels of uranium enrichment to manufacture bombs — citing Iran as an example of how this can be done, and providing detailed steps to accomplish it.[7] In another interview (for Egypt's Tahrir-TV) on August 6, 2012, Umran again demanded that Egypt develop its own nuclear weapons, stressing that if Israel finds itself in a "difficult situation," it would use its own nuclear shield: in that instance, Egypt must also have one to defend itself. The unmistakable implication is that Egypt would need nuclear weapons against Israel's expected atomic retaliation in the event that Egypt went to war against the Jewish State.[8]

Given the MB's extreme hostility to Israel, its anti-Semitic and anti-Western ideology, and its recent, apparently complete takeover of the military and the rest of state power in Egypt, the possibilities raised are deeply unsettling. While none of this is conclusive, it definitely points to questions that have long been overlooked or too-easily dismissed in the debates about nuclear proliferation in a region that may soon explode in military conflict over Iran.

However it turns out, a review of the history and capabilities — past, present and future — of Egypt's 58-year nuclear program will quickly reveal why approval of the El-Dabaa plant could signal the rise of a whole new level of danger in the already fraught Middle East, following the Islamist Spring.


"Next to Israel and Iran, Egypt has one of the most advanced nuclear programmes in the region," writes Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the Non-Proliferation and Disarmament Program at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, in a background paper for a July 2011 EU seminar on Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) in the Middle East.[9] Yet Egypt's nuclear progress has aroused shockingly little attention beyond the arcane world of WMD specialists and anti-proliferation activists in recent years.

It all began with seeming innocence. Responding to U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower's December 1953 "Atoms for Peace" speech at the U.N., Egyptian President Gamal Abdel-Nasser did not wait long to bring his country into the atomic age. Despite the American instigation, Egypt's first (2MW) research reactor, the ETRR-1, was built by the Soviets at Inshas in the Delta between 1954 and 1961. Next came a larger (22.5MW) open pool research reactor (installed by Argentina), dubbed ETRR-2. This light water reactor, capable of producing 6 kgs of plutonium (enough for one nuclear weapon) per year, started construction in the early 1990s, achieving criticality in 1998. According to its website, the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority (EAEA) now has a truly impressive wealth of expert personnel, with over 1,400 trained scientists, 2,300 technical staff, and roughly 1,300 in support staff as well. The EAEA lists its current activities as "research and technological projects," "radiation protection and safety," "society services activities" and "regional and international cooperation."[10]

Egypt's drive for nuclear capability seriously accelerated when in December 1960, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion revealed that his country was building a nuclear reactor (started with help from France in 1957), ostensibly for civilian purposes, at Dimona. Henceforth the open, primary goal of Egypt's program was to produce atomic weapons. (No doubt this inspired the American musical satirist Tom Lehrer to write, "Egypt's gonna get one too / Just to use on you know who," in his anti-proliferation song, "Who's Next?") Not enough funds were committed (nor probably available), however, to reach that objective prior to the devastating Arab defeat by Israel in 1967. In the aftermath, with no money left to invest in the effort, Egypt signed the NPT in 1968. Soon many of its nuclear scientists left the country; many moved to Canada, others to Iraq to work on the ominous nuclear program there.

In 1974, Egypt and the Shah's Iran jointly launched an initiative for a Nuclear Weapons Free Zone (NWFZ) in the Middle East: in 1975, as noted by a recent study entitled, "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program," and posted on its website by the Federation of American Scientists:

The US promised to provide Egypt with eight nuclear power plants and the necessary cooperation agreements were signed. The plan was subject to a trilateral safeguards agreement signed by the United States, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and Egypt. In the late 1970s, the US unilaterally revised the bilateral agreements and introduced new conditions that were unacceptable to the Egyptian government.[11]

With the signing of the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty in 1979, Egypt's emphasis apparently shifted to the creation of nuclear power to produce electricity instead of bombs. Egypt did not ratify the NPT until 1981, the same year that (again working with the United States, which brokered and guaranteed the peace treaty) President Anwar al-Sadat decided to build a reactor on the Mediterranean coast at El-Dabaa, about 120 kilometers west of Alexandria.

Eventually, however, Egypt's economy—weakened for decades by the lingering socialism installed by President Gamal Abdel-Nasser (despite liberal reforms under his successor, Anwar al-Sadat, and greatly expanded by his successor, Hosni Mubarak), and the Arab boycott of Egypt over its peace accords with Israel—could not sustain nuclear ambitions. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster in Ukraine also depressed enthusiasm for nuclear initiatives. As its program languished in near-limbo, in 1990 Egypt called for the creation of a Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone (WMDFZ) in the Middle East, aimed primarily at pressing Israel to accept nuclear inspections, sign the NPT, and abandon its presumed nuclear arsenal. All the while, Egypt maintained a policy, which continues until today, of studied ambiguity regarding its own intentions.

In1995, Egypt would only sign an extension of its expiring NPT agreement when the U.S., Great Britain and Russia agreed to push for the WMDFZ, with a proviso for pressure on Israel to join. Yet, due to the alleged non-universality of the NPT (as explained in an August 2012 profile of Egypt's nuclear program published by the reputable arms control organization, Nuclear Threat Initiative, or NTI):

Egypt has therefore refused to sign the IAEA Additional Protocol and the Chemical Weapons Convention, and to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, the African Nuclear Weapon-Free Zone (the Pelindaba Treaty), and the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention.[12]

It is revealing that Egypt continued to nurture clandestinely what seem to have been more dangerous nuclear desires. In 2004, the IAEA discovered traces of highly-enriched uranium (HEU) at Egypt's facilities, and in 2005 it determined that Egypt's nuclear authority had not disclosed either the import of uranium and or irradiation experiments that had taken place from 1990 to 2003. (The items found suggested at least the possibility of a secret uranium enrichment program that could be used to produce weapons.) Subsequently, the IAEA's then-director, Mohamed ElBaradei — the Egyptian lawyer who won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize — did not take action against Egypt for its covert behavior, which the agency treated as minor.

The IAEA found still more traces of highly-enriched uranium from unreported activity at Inshas in 2007 and 2008. That discovery prompted Pierre Goldschmidt of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to write in 2009, "One should remember that the HEU particles found in Iran originated from illicit nuclear trade with Pakistan and were connected with unreported uranium enrichment activities."[13] Again, although it issued a one-page report on the matter in 2008, and kept the investigation open, the agency took no further action.

By 2007, after considerable public promotion of the nuclear energy alternative by his regime, Mubarak said that Egypt would build four nuclear power plants around the country. Then in August 2010, the IAEA approved the El-Dabaa site for the first of these reactors. Little, however, had been done by the time of the uprising against Mubarak launched on January 25, 2011.

Soon after Mubarak's fall on February 11, 2011, the MoEE, then operating under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), the military junta that ruled Egypt after his departure, said that four of the power stations would be built, beginning with a 1,200MW light-water reactor at the El-Dabaa site. In spite of this, the plan was quickly frozen during the chaotic, catastrophically cash-poor transition, and as part of the worldwide reaction to the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe that followed the earthquake and tsunami on March 11, 2011 off the coasts of Japan. In addition, in January 2011, in a show of local resistance, mobs of protesters, demanding that the plant be relocated away from the area, attacked the construction site; at the same time, "radioactive materials" were stolen from the property.[14] Then, on June 19, 2012, just before the final count of ballots for the second round of the presidential election, the project was tentatively approved again. Nonetheless, no known further action to implement it has been taken so far (although the analysis assumes it will proceed).


All that is really lacking now is the money—and for Mursi to make public his decision.

But an astonishing consensus of media, government policy and expert opinion holds that, with tourism and investment at dismal lows, and vital foreign reserves rapidly nearing zero, Mursi will not choose to spend the large sums needed on the El-Dabaa plant. (The estimated cost of the four plants in the MoEE plan is $1.5 billion). Even with pledges of several billion dollars from Saudi Arabia and Qatar; a potential IMF loan ranging from $3.2 billion-to-$4.8 billion, and U.S. aid possibly to increase greatly beyond its current annual $1.5 billion in (mainly military), that unless China accepts Mursi's $3 billion request, supposedly Egypt is so impaired economically that it simply cannot afford the dubious luxury of nuclear pretentions.

Yet argument downplays or ignores Egypt's growing shortages of electricity. Even in Mubarak's waning years, the grid was spiraling outward too fast to avoid blackouts, which have only grown more frequent, long-lasting and unpredictable, especially in Greater Cairo, in the disorder since his fall. Nuclear power, at least theoretically, could end that chronic shortfall completely. It has now emerged, however, in a deal that has almost entirely escaped the media's attention, that Egypt is expecting to take delivery of two Class 209 diesel-electric submarines from Germany, over Israel's vigorous objections.[15]

Furthermore, pragmatic economic reasoning—integral to that consensus--might assume that Mursi is a normal leader, leading a normal political party, with a normal concern for the welfare of his nation's citizens. Unfortunately, based on the behavior of other Islamist regimes -- from Hamas to Hizbullah, the Taliban, al-Shabaab and even Iran, as well as the MB's own historic goals and ideology -- none of that applies to Mursi, or to the people behind him. About them, the consensus has been astonishingly wrong.

The same consensus, after all, held that the Muslim Brotherhood played only a late and minimal role in the 2011 demonstrations against Mubarak—when in fact it was involved from the start, and, as of January 28, the second day of the protests, brought the overwhelming majority of bodies to the streets through its extensive social and political networks.[16] The consensus also held that the MB would not win the largest number of seats in last year's elections for parliament; the MB won them in a landslide. Nor did it seem that Mursi, its dull and uncharismatic candidate for president, would likely get the nod. The consensus insisted that the SCAF's now-deposed chiefs, Hussein Tantawi and Sami Anan, were implacably opposed to him, and that Mursi, although democratically elected, was much weaker than the ostensibly intractable military.

In truth, the MB had long since infiltrated and subverted the military; its aging leaders themselves were apparently not unsympathetic: throughout the interregnum, they had shown signs of close cooperation. What the senior generals evidently wanted was a promise not to be prosecuted for their business ties to Mubarak, or for their actions after removing him: calls to lynch Tantawi, for example, were common on the streets. Judging by their appointment as "advisers" to Mursi, they apparently got their wish—at least for now. The consensus also holds that Mursi and the MB are genuine moderates, when, in fact, Mursi was known as the group's hardline ideological enforcer. And while running for office, he and the other leaders in the group called for jihad (war in the name of Islam, not Sufi self-improvement), the establishment by violence of a caliphate based in Jerusalem, and the imposition of shari'a (Islamic religious law) -- positions he has not renounced, and likely never will.

The consensus also held that Mursi and the MB, whatever their harsh "campaign rhetoric" (as one U.S. senator described it) would be democrats in power. Yet once in office, Mursi quickly seized total control of the state media, began to prosecute prominent journalists on trumped-up charges of plotting to kill him, and replaced ten of the country's governors, putting Islamists in charge of Egypt's major human rights council.[17] Mursi has also made it known that his next target is the nation's historically independent judiciary, the only branch of government not yet in his grasp.

Of course, he has had a bit of help from his friends—many of them abroad. His first public defiance of the SCAF—his attempt to recall the parliament dissolved by order of the Supreme Constitutional Court on June 14—came within hours of a July 8 visit from U.S. Undersecretary of State William Burns, who offered him generous aid for the economy, and an invitation to visit President Barack Obama in the White House in late September. (Mursi evidently received the feasibility study for El-Dabaa the same day.) The Obama administration apparently helped negotiate the August 12 turnover of power to Mursi by his main adversaries in the SCAF, an intervention that enabled Mursi to establish a virtual one-man rule overnight, and that terminated the secular democratic promise of Egypt's massively overhyped January 25th Revolution.

Mursi's first trip abroad as president was to Riyadh, where he was promised billions more in aid (apparently with strings attached), much of it possibly to finance a nuclear program, perhaps with an order to produce atomic bombs for the Kingdom as well (which is also said to have tried to purchase nuclear weapons from Pakistan). Qatar has pledged $2 billion (of which it has delivered nearly half of that amount as of this writing), and has said it will invest 18 billion dollars in Egypt's economy in the next five years. Now Mursi has visited Tehran, perhaps to raise the possibility of a joint nuclear endeavor with Saudi Arabia's great Shi'ite enemy, an act that would have put them both in a seeming quandary. (Unless, of course, they agree it is more important that they have common enemies: especially Israel, and -- long-term --the U.S. and the West.) As Iran's support for Hamas—the Egyptian MB's Palestinian branch--and cooperation with al-Qa'ida have shown, claims that Sunnis and Shi'ites never work together have clearly been greatly exaggerated.

A number of questions remain: Will Mursi choose to go ahead with the El-Dabaa project (and if he does, will he make that public?) Should he approve it, will Egypt choose to master the entire production cycle (including its own uranium enrichment), or will it rely on help from others to complete the process? And does it already have some experience with enrichment?

The ETRR-1, Egypt's first research reactor, runs on 10% enriched uranium, for which Russia supplied the last known shipment before the reactor came online in 1961. The ETRR-2 light-water reactor runs on 19.75% enriched uranium, initially provided by Russia, then by Argentina (which delivered its shipment in 1997). Egypt fabricates its own fuel rods at Inshas for the ETRR-2,[18] but its source for the enriched uranium to make them is uncertain. (Most light-water reactors today operate on less than 5% enriched uranium. Once one has enriched uranium to the level of 5%, they are assumed to have mastered the hardest part of the process. The 19.75 % level required to run the ETRR-2 is but a notch below the critical 20% level, at which uranium is considered to be highly enriched. It is then comparatively not difficult to reach the 90% level needed to make bombs.) So far it is not clear if foreign shipments of fuel for either of these reactors have continued since they each went critical, or who the suppliers might be.

Also at Inshas is a so-called "hot laboratory," the Hydrometallurgy Pilot Plant (HPP), capable of extracting plutonium from spent fuel rods. It was at this facility that the IAEA had detected the traces of highly enriched uranium, which led to an investigation that concluded in 2005: "the repeated failures by Egypt to report the import of nuclear material and the construction of facilities to the Agency in a timely manner are a matter of concern." Added to ETRR-2's already noted ability to produce plutonium through extraction, and Egypt's failure to sign the Additional Protocol to the NPT (thus forcing the IAEA to rely essentially upon what information Egypt chose to share with them), and an even more disturbing picture emerges.

The questions now are: How much plutonium has been produced so far—and what has (or will be) done with it? Does Egypt already possess the missile technology to turn its plutonium into deliverable nuclear weapons? If not, how long would it take to acquire the required amount of plutonium? Where has Egypt been getting the enriched uranium to operate its two research reactors at Inshas since 1961 and 1997? If Egypt decides to build the El-Dabaa reactor (and perhaps others too), would the IAEA be able effectively to monitor what happens there—or in other parts of Egypt's nuclear program? And while some may wonder if Egypt's nuclear materials--present and future—will be safe from terrorists, the question probably should be: will they be safe from misuse by its current jihadist regime?


Other questions: Would Iran—which has enthusiastically praised the Islamist victory in Egypt (and throughout much of the Sunni Arab world)—actually want to assist the MB-led regime's nuclear program—and, if so, would Mursi accept such help? Would Saudi Arabia really fund a project that could potentially benefit not only Egypt, but its main Persian Gulf rival, Iran (whose nuclear program, leaked diplomatic cables revealed, Saudi King Abdullah urged the U.S. to bomb)? Would the U.S object to Mursi's approval of the El-Dabaa plant? How would it--and the international community--react if Iran really did become involved in Egypt's nuclear development? Would the European Union or its key member states, as well as Russia and China, support efforts to suppress either an entirely independent Egyptian nuclear program that showed signs of a hidden military purpose, with or without the participation of Iran? (Based on Russia's and China's lenient treatment of Iran and North Korea, probably not.) And how will all this play out at the upcoming Conference on a Middle East Weapons of Mass Destruction Free Zone in Helsinki (tentatively set for December 2012), which a number of Arab states are slated to attend (though both Israel and Iran have already indicated they will not take part)? Given the accelerating crisis over the obvious military character of Iran's nuclear program (despite its denials) and its ever-accelerating progress toward the bomb, that conference is bound to fail—and Egypt has threatened to withdraw from the NPT if it does.

Direct Iran-MB cooperation may seem unprecedented, until one recalls that in addition to Iran's financing of Hamas, the Mubarak regime, with apparent reason, accused Tehran of funding the MB in the final years of his rule. Additionally, in April 2011, Magdi Hussein, head of the Islamist-oriented Labor Party (banned under Mubarak, like the MB) claimed to have discussed Iranian help for uranium enrichment with Ali Akbar Salehi, the Islamic Republic's foreign minister, during a good-will trip to Iran. Commenting on his talks with Hussein, Salehi, as quoted by Al Arabiyya News, said that Iran's successful nuclear enterprise, "could pave the way for similar Arab projects."[19]

As former CIA operations officer Clare Lopez, currently an expert on Middle East WMD at the Center for Security Policy in Washington, remarked, "The most startling leitmotif here is the potential for new Sunni-Shi'a rapprochement, once again for the purpose of acquiring another Islamic bomb. After all, Pakistan and A.Q. Khan were the first sources of assistance to which Iran turned for its own weapons program in the 1980s."[20]

As if to buttress this point, an Iranian website belonging to the Ahlul Bayt News Agency asserted in an article on Mursi's then-presumed visit to Bushehr last month:

Referring to Iran's announcement that it has planned a visit to nuclear centers for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) member states, the lawmaker [Mansour Haqiqatpour ] said, "The Iranian nation and government care about Egypt, as an Islamic state, and want Egypt to be a glorious country in international circles, so Egypt's president can visit all Iranian nuclear centers."[21]

Ironically, although there have been suspicions about Egypt's nuclear intentions for decades, it was assumed that Mubarak, as an ally of the West, would only aggressively seek to obtain atomic weapons if faced with a nuclear-armed Iran. Now it could be a nuclear-arming Iran that helps and encourages Mubarak's successor to follow the same path: not in an arms race, as many have feared, but as part of a common ideological enterprise, an Islamic nuclear one, that few dreamed possible but a month or two ago.

Egyptian-Iranian relations ruptured in 1979, when al-Sadat made peace with Israel, and when he offered safe haven in Cairo for his friend, the deposed Shah Reza Pahlevi (who died in Egypt of cancer in 1980). In revenge, the Khomeini regime named a street in Tehran for Khaled al-Islambouli, al-Sadat's chief assassin. Mubarak—wounded in the hand in the shooting of al-Sadat at a military parade on the eighth anniversary of the start of the 1973 war with Israel, on October 6, 1981—refused to visit Iran unless that street was renamed. He also feared and repressed the MB and its more openly violent offshoots at home—who, even though they were Sunnis and the Iranians were Shi'ites—drew tremendous impetus and inspiration from Iran's Islamic revolution.

Now that the Brotherhood has its first man in the Egyptian presidency, one of his first acts to was to call for the release of "the Blind Sheikh," Omar Abdel-Rahman -- the Egyptian cleric who issued the fatwa calling for al-Sadat's murder -- from an American prison, where he is serving a life sentence for his involvement in the World Trade Center bombing on 1993 and for plotting to blow up other major landmarks in New York City. (Abdel-Rahman also issued the fatwas that called for the killing of foreign tourists and Egyptian policemen in the Islamist insurgency of the 1990s; for the murder of anti-Islamist activist Farag Foda in 1992, and for the assassination of Egyptian Nobel laureate in literature, Naguib Mahfouz, who was stabbed nearly fatally by one of Abdel-Rahman's followers in 1994. It was also Abdel-Rahman's fatwa that Osama bin Laden cited as justification for the attacks of September 11, 2001.) Clearly, Mubarak's objections to visiting and dealing with Iran would make no sense when applied to Mursi.

As the clock ticks quickly toward the Iranian bomb, there has been much speculation about a possible Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. There is also a great deal to suggest that—however necessary it might be for the Jewish State's survival—such a strike will not happen (although Israel is not in the habit of announcing its major military decisions in advance.) Nor is it probable that America will intervene militarily, especially under its current leadership. It is obvious as well that sanctions will never succeed in stopping Iran from fulfilling the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's reported 1988 fatwa, calling on his country to acquire all types of WMD, including nuclear weapons, for both offensive and defensive purposes.[22] America's dithering over Iran and its indulgence of Mursi—whom it mistakenly sees as a "moderate" Islamist bulwark against al-Qa'ida (with which it differs mainly in strategy on reaching the same ends)—can only encourage its duplicitous ally on the Nile.

Lest anyone think that the MB does not want nuclear weapons and would not impose material hardship on the Egyptian people to attain them, anti-proliferation expert Ibrahim Said, in a précis of the Brotherhood's view of WMD for the website, recounts:

"…at a July 4, 2006 joint meeting of the foreign affairs, Arab, defense, and national security committees of the Egyptian parliament, Dr. Hamdi Hassan, spokesperson of the MB parliamentary caucus, made clear that his organization was interested not merely in using nuclear power for meeting Egypt's energy needs, but in creating an Egyptian nuclear deterrent: 'We [Egyptians] are ready to starve in order to own a nuclear weapon that will represent a real deterrent and will be decisive in the Arab-Israeli conflict.'"[23]

And in 2009, the global Muslim Brotherhood's senior jurist of Islamic law, Egyptian cleric Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, broadcast a sermon on Qatar TV, in which he declared that Muslim nations must acquire nuclear weapons "in order to strike terror in our enemies."[24] Notably, although Israel has probably possessed nuclear weapons since the mid-1960s, it has (unlike Iran) never threatened to use them, or even hinted at a desire to wipe any other country off the map. Al-Qaradawi, recalled from his forty-year exile in Qatar to lead the victory celebration for Egypt's revolution at Tahrir Square on February 18, 2011, has also enjoined the Muslims to "punish" the Jews, as Hitler had done in the Holocaust.[25]

Just as the U.S. looked away while Mursi used the August 5, 2012 terror raid against Israel by Islamists in Sinai to move tanks, anti-aircraft batteries and troop levels banned by the peace treaty into the peninsula,[26] it will also likely fail to rebuke, much less restrain, Mursi, should he choose to develop a nuclear program, with or without aid from Tehran.

It now appears, in fact, that Mursi has so cleverly positioned himself to be independent of all other powers that none of them can have effective control over his behavior. That independence means he may be able to take money from China (whose aid to Egypt may soon surpass that of the U.S.), and the IMF, as well as the Persian Gulf states--and still allow none of them to dictate what he does with it. He has so far maneuvered every other major player into a corner. Checkmate may be when he attains nuclear independence—possibly with a nuclear bomb. Of course, many observers are reading this as a sign that he is now being "integrated" into the international system as a "normal," if unusually fast-off- the-mark, statesman. More likely, his actions are the result of a strategy developed by the MB over years of planning for its eventual rise to state power in Egypt -- at least in terms of manipulating the international community to gain complete autonomy in foreign (as well as domestic) policy.[27]

Certainly Mursi's visit to China, immediately followed by Iran, and his confident proposal for a Middle East quartet including Iran to negotiate the end the Syrian civil war (which the local MB branch is winning, also with American backing), show that he fears, like other Middle Eastern despots at present, very little from U.S. pressure. Apply too much, he is hinting, and he could be gone. Nothing, therefore, would attest to a failed policy of appeasement quite like a complete break with the country, which--after we lost Iran--was, for over thirty years, our staunchest Muslim friend in the region.

For Mohamed Mursi and the Muslim Brotherhood, who for decades have demanded war against Israel and death to the Jews, while calling for the subjugation and destruction of the U.S. too, the road to nuclear jihad may soon open before them—and with America's complicity. Who, then, would stand in their way?

Raymond Stock is a Shillman/Ginsburg Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, and a former Visiting Assistant Professor of Arabic and Middle East Studies at Drew University.

[1] Zvi Mazel, "Analysis: Brotherhood Taking Total Control of Egypt," The Jerusalem Post, August 23, 2012:

[2] Egypt State Information Service (Cairo), "Energy Minister Reports on Dabaa Nuclear Program to Morsi," July 9, 2012:

[3] Daniel Siryoti and staff, "Egypt may resume civilian nuclear program," August 30, 2012:

[4] Stephen Manual, "Iran Ready to Transfer Nuclear Technology to Egypt." August 26, 2012: For another writer suggesting possible nuclear cooperation between Mursi's Egypt and Iran, see Nasser Saghafi-Ameri, "The New Egypt: A Potential Ally," Iran Review, July 18, 2012:

[5] "Iran denies plan to show nuclear sites to diplomats," Reuters, August 28, 2012:

[6] Ibrahim Said, Visiting Scholar at the Technical Nonproliferation and Disarmament Project of the UK/Norway initiative hosted by the Center for Accelerator-based research and Energy Physics, University of Oslo, "The bomb and the beard: The Egyptian MB's views toward WMD, June 11, 2012.

[7] Egyptian army general (ret.) Abdul-Hamid Umran, interviewed by ON-TV (Egypt), August 21, 2011.

[8] Egyptian army general (ret.) Abdul-Hamid Umran, interviewed by ON-TV (Egypt), August 6, 2011.

[9] Mark Fitzpatrick, "background paper, EU seminar to promote confidence building and in support of a process aimed at establishing a zone free of WMD and their means of delivery in the Middle East, Brussels 6-7 July 2011".

[10] Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority website, "About".

[11] "Egypt's Nuclear Weapons Program." Federation of American Scientists, lasted updated May 30, 2012.

[12] Nuclear Threat Initiative, country profile, "Egypt: Nuclear," last updated August 2012.

[13] Pierre Goldschmidt, "The IAEA Reports on Egypt: Reluctantly?" Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, June 2, 2009.

[14] Patrick Werr, "Radioactive material said stolen from nuclear plant," Reuters, January 19, 2012.

[15] "Germany declines comment on report of submarine sale to Egypt," Speigel Online, September 3, 2012, and "Israel seeks to dissuade Germany from selling Egypt two submarines," Egypt Independent, September 2, 2012.

[16] Raymond Stock, "The Donkey, the Camel and the Facebook Scam: How the Muslim Brotherhood Conquered Egypt and Conned the World." (Philadelphia: Foreign Policy Research Institute, E-Notes), July 2012.

[17] Maggie Michael, "Islamists installed in Egypt state institutions", AP, September 4, 2012

[18] Fitzpatrick, 12.

[19] Abeer Tayel and Mustafa Ajbaili, "Iran, Egypt Renewing Ties?" Al Arabeya News, April 18, 201

[20] Interview with Clare Lopez, August 25, 2012. See also: I wish to thank Ms. Lopez, an expert in Middle East non-proliferation issues, for reviewing the technical aspects of my findings, and for her great encouragement and friendship as well. However, the research, writing, analysis and any errors are my own.

[21] "Iranian MP Hopes for Start of Iran-Egypt N. Cooperation after Mursi's visit to Bushehr Plant." Ahlul Bayt News Agency, August 26, 2012

[22] Con Coughlin, Khomeini's Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam. (London: Ecco, 2009), 242-43.

[23] Said (see note 6, above).

[24] Ibid. Strikingly, al-Qaradawi's phrase is taken from the Qur'an, Surat al-Anfal, 8:60, "Muster against them what fighting men an d steeds of war you can, in order to strike terror in the enemy of Allah and your enemy, and others besides them whom you do not know, but Allah knows well," as found in The Al-Qaeda Reader, edited and translated by Raymond Ibrahim, with an Introduction by Victor Davis Hanson. (New York, London, Toronto: Doubleday, 2007), p. 54. One of al-Qa'ida's favorite verses, in Arabic it begins with "Wa'iddu," "Prepare," which is found at the bottom of the Muslim Brotherhood's official shield, featuring crossed swords under an open Qur'an. The reference is in fact to this verse, one that speaks volumes about the group's "peaceful" intentions. And it is the MB's official motto, as well.

[25] Shaykh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, "Allah imposed Hitler upon the Jews to punish them: Allah willing, next time it will be at the hand of the believers." Al-Jazeera TV (Qatar), January 23-28, 2009.

[26] Under Israeli pressure, Egypt has withdrawn some of the tanks sent into Sinai last month, but has left the majority in place. Nor does it seem that Egypt has withdrawn the anti-aircraft batteries, which also violate the peace treaty, and which have no obvious role to play in counterterrorism. In addition, there are reports in the Egyptian media that Salafi groups have made deals with the militants for the government, including elements linked with al-Qa'ida—a worrying but logical development if true: and

[27] The always-brilliant and provocative "Spengler" (David Goldman), in "Egypt is an adversary, not a neutral" (PJ Media, September 4, 2012) has suggested that Mursi will not get what most of what he's asking for from the donor countries cited above, but is entering into an alliance with Iran to check the power of Saudi Arabia, which fears the MB's revolutionary reach within the Kingdom. (And to snub the U.S.—its common enemy with Iran, despite some overrated criticisms of Iran's ally Syria at the NAM conference.) Nor, he asserts, does Mursi really care if he gets the cash he needs to keep Egypt's economy afloat, for he hopes to control the masses in the manner of classic one-party totalitarian regimes, via rationing--turning the country into a "North Korea on the Nile". About all these points, he could be right, though he may have underestimated Mursi's fundraising talents in the end. In this writer's view, Mursi may want cash to develop his nuclear program, at the very least, and would be willing to make a deal with any number of devils to get it. And others—from China to Saudi Arabia, the U.S. and beyond—may be willing to bribe him in order to use him against their respective rivals, all pawns in the same shrewd game.

Raymond Stock


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Closed: Last Synagogue in Egypt

by Shiraz Maher

Where religious fanatics have started by persecuting minorities, it has not been long before they turned on their own, accusing them of irreligiousness, heresy and insidious betrayal. The religious freedoms of all Egyptians are in peril.

Fears for the future of religious minorities in Egypt were accentuated last week when it was announced that the last synagogue in the country would be closed down. The Eliyahu Hanavi Synagogue, which had operated in Alexandria, was the last functioning center of Jewish life in the country. It is now clear that its cavernous halls, built in the nineteenth century, will not be open to worshipers hoping to mark Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur services this year.

Traditionally, the synagogue has been managed by an Israeli rabbi of Egyptian descent who frequently returns to the country to lead services there. Although there are many synagogues around Egypt, the one in Alexandria is the only active one, the others having been turned into tourist sites.

This year, as Rabbi Avraham Dayan was making preparations for the High Holidays he was told that the Egyptian authorities could not guarantee the safety and security of those wanting to attend the synagogue. Dayan told Ynet:

"This year there have been some violent demonstrations in Alexandria, and they [sic] are afraid to take responsibility over people…We are trying to organize a quorum, but because of the security-related situation we are not really succeeding. We are still in touch with the Egyptian security organizations and are trying to make some progress.

Sectarian tensions across Egypt have been heightened ever since last year's revolution, with Christian minorities bearing the brunt of the violence.

One of the unintended consequences of the Arab Spring is the guarantee of security – long assured by the region's old dictators; it has been cast away by the tide of popular unrest sweeping the region.

The power vacuum and instability caused by the overthrow of Mubarak empowered Salafist and Brotherhood activists who increasingly stoke sectarian tensions. Last October, when Christian activists took to the streets of Cairo to protest their mistreatment, they were first involved in scuffles with radical Islamists before the army moved in. During the resulting crackdown, more than 25 Christian protesters were killed and more than 300 injured. It marked one of the most bloody and shameful sectarian episodes in Egypt's recent history. A Copt protester, Alfred Younan, told Reuters:

Why didn't they do this with the Salafists or the Muslim Brotherhood when they organized protests? This is not my country any more.

This kind of instability has meant the Jewish presence in Egypt has steadily declined over much of the last century, and has now dwindled to just a handful in Cairo and Alexandria. A study by Stanley Urman of Jews for Justice from Arab Countries has found that this exodus started with the first Nationality Code in Egypt, passed in May 1926.

The Code stipulated that an Egyptian born to a 'foreign" father – even if the father had been born in Egypt and had been previously recognized as Egyptian – was only able to claim citizenship if the father could prove that he:

…belonged racially to the majority of the population of a country whose language is Arabic or whose religion is Islam.

This law effectively blocked Jews from claiming Egyptian citizenship and relegated them to a lesser legal status in their own country. Later, because the Jews were not officially Egyptian, the government was able to expel a number of them.

This problem was accentuated in 1947, when amendments were passed which stipulated that at least 75% of administrative employees in any company had to by Egyptian, while 90% of the overall workforce also had to be Egyptian. This, of course, struck against Jewish commerce in the country, placed stifling strictures on some of their business, and accelerated the departure of more Jews.

The news that Egypt's last synagogue, the Eliyahu Hanavi, will now be unable to hold services effectively brings an end to any remaining semblance of Jewish life in Egypt. This is something which should concern not just Jews, but Muslims too, as it epitomises growing intolerance and persecution of a minority. Where religious fanatics have started by persecuting minorities, it has not been long before they turned on their own, accusing them of irreligiousness, heresy and insidious betrayal. The religious freedoms of all Egyptians are in peril.

Shiraz Maher


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The Libya We Fought For

by Daniel Greenfield

In Benghazi, a car bomb aimed at Libyan intelligence officials shook a crowded street. It's not the first car bomb to strike Libya after the fall of Gaddafi. Benghazi has its own insurgency and remains a flashpoint for the looming civil war that no one is talking about.

Postwar Libya has not received the same scrutiny that postwar Iraq did. The reasons for that revolve around partisan politics and differences in commitment. American soldiers are not patrolling the streets of Benghazi the way that they did in Baghdad, and that translates into a lack of public engagement. Unlike Iraq, Libya is a back-burner issue, even if the oil-rich country is beginning to look a lot like Iraq.

The fall of Gaddafi, like the fall of Saddam, unleashed simmering tribal and religious tensions. While Libya does not have the sharp indigenous split between Sunnis and Shiites that Iraq does, the Arab Spring opened the door to Salafi violence across North Africa from Mali to Tunisia and east through Libya and as far as Egypt.

The Arab Spring uprisings have been used by the Islamists as a pretext for purging Christians in Egypt and Syria, as well as Sufis in Mali and Libya. Despite a recent election in Libya that was widely hailed as a signpost of stability, the country is in no way stable and its central authority is an illusion. Tribal warfare, even of the kind taking place in Zitan, 90 miles from Tripoli, is however a lesser evil compared to the revelation that the Libyan government either cannot stop the Salafi violence or is unwilling to do so.

Both possibilities are present and plausible. The Libyan military under Gaddafi was a patchwork of expensive equipment and incompetent troops. The loss of much of that expensive equipment in Gaddafi's earlier wars and NATO bombing raids that targeted whatever was left over leaves the Libyan government with limited security capabilities.

The loose coalition against Gaddafi has been splintered by its own differing agendas. One of the few things that everyone agrees on is the necessity of using Islam and Islamic law to fill the gap left by Gaddafi and his charade of Libyan nationalism. If one of Gaddafi's kin were to try and reclaim Libya, enough factions might unite together to put a stop to his efforts, but no similar coalition can be assembled to protect Libya's Sufis or its women, the other group being targeted by the Salafis.

Libyan Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A'al has made it clear that the Salafis have a free hand to do as they please. "If all shrines in Libya are destroyed so we can avoid the death of one person," he said, "then that is a price we are ready to pay."

Libyan security forces have stood aside or even helped the Salafis do to Libya what the Taliban did to Afghanistan. But that is only to be expected when many members of those security forces, patched together out of bands of ambitious Jihadi fighters, are Salafis. The Interior Minister may have unilaterally ceded all of Libya's Sufi shrines to the Salafis, but the Salafis won't stop at destroying graves. Not when they can fill them as well.

In Tunisia and Egypt, Salafi violence has been met with similar inaction or delayed reactions from the security forces. The Muslim Brotherhood and some other Islamists distance themselves from Salafi attacks on non-Muslims or on variant Muslim groups to maintain plausible deniability while the Salafis rid them of people they consider infidels and heretics. The Salafis have foreign backing and no shortage of recruits eager to kill and maim for the cause, and the Post-Arab Spring governments are staying out of their way.

"To brush aside America's responsibility as a leader and -– more profoundly -– our responsibilities to our fellow human beings under such circumstances would have been a betrayal of who we are," Obama said, in his speech defending the Libyan intervention. But what does the current state of Libya say about who we are?

The Libyan intervention handed over the country to rule by armed militias and as car bombs go off in major cities, and religious, political and tribal violence reaches a boiling point; what has become of that responsibility?

Daniel Greenfield


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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: The Turban Burns on the Head of the Liar

On The Shi'a Culture of Deception

by Mordechai Kedar

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

Since the Dawn of Islamic history, the conflict between the Shi'a and the Sunna has been the axis around which public and political conduct in both sides has turned . The Shi'a challenged the legitimacy of the rule of the Sunni Caliphs, and in places under Shi'a control the Sunnis challenged their right to rule. The struggle was for "the whole jackpot", and when the government seized a person and suspected that he belonged to the other side, his fate was usually death.

Over the years the Sunna and the Shi'a developed different religious systems: the Shi'ite Qur'an includes two chapters which establish the Shi'ite claim to rule, while the Sunnis claim that these chapters are a forgery. The Hadith (the oral tradition that describes the words of Muhammad and how he related to various matters) of the Shi'a side glorifies and elevates Ali bin Abi Talib, the founder of Shi'a, and his right as well as that of his descendants to rule, while the Sunni Hadith represents the Shi'a in a totally negative light. The Shi'a and the Sunna differ from each other in theology, religious law, in the names of men and women, in the calendar, in traditions and customs, and the differences are so marked that there are many Sunnis who see Shi'a as a sort of heresy, and the Shi'ites see the Sunnis in a similar light.

Due to the political conflict and religious differences, it was very dangerous for a Shi'ite to live in a Sunni environment, and therefore in order to survive, Shi'a permitted its faithful to engage in taqiyya - concealment in order to survive - one of whose components is khud'a - deception. According to the principles of taqiyya, a Shi'a is permitted to pretend to be a Sunni, to pray like a Sunni, and to act in accordance with the Sunni calendar, as long as in his heart he continues wilaya - fidelity to Shi'a and its leaders. Thus the Shi'ites became accustomed over the generations to pretense, deception, lying, and among many of them this phenomenon has become almost innate. They get it from their parents, from the environment and from their social tradition, and lying does not affect the physiology among many Shi'ites. As a result of this, police departments in many parts of the world know that it is very difficult to detect a lie among Shi'ites by using a polygraph.

Political Ramifications

The culture of Shi'ite deception has been evident in recent years in a concrete way. The first Iranian emissaries who came to Lebanon in 1980, approximately one year after the Iranian Revolution, were represented as educators, teachers and counselors whose mission was cultural and religious only, and therefore the government of Lebanon agreed to their presence and their activities. Today, looking back, it is clear that this was when the Revolutionary Guard - an actual army - began penetrating into Lebanon, taking control of the Bekaa Valley and establishing the training bases where the military strength of Hizb'Allah , a party that has a militia with tens of thousands of missiles, was consolidated. Today there are many in Lebanon who regret that they fell into the trap of Iranian deception.

The most obvious political consequence of the Shi'ite culture of deception is the convoluted and devious manner in which Iran has been conducting contacts with the West regarding the nuclear plan for almost twenty years. The Iranians have violated every commitment that they have undertaken, including their commitment to the IAEA, they removed all signs of illegal activity, lately they cleared away the remnants of experiments that they conducted in military bases in Parchin, and they still do not permit the UN inspectors to visit these bases. The long and complicated negotiations that the Iranians have been conducting with the West have one specific goal - to gain time in order to progress in their military nuclear program. Today this is clear, and Europeans and Americans who have pinned their hopes on negotiations with the Iranians now admit that they have fallen victims to the ongoing Iranian deception.

The Lie Will be Exposed in the End

Last week a conference of the Non-Aligned Movement was held in Teheran. This gathering in Iran of leaders from dozens of states was intended to portray Iran as a well-liked and accepted state and an inseparable part of a large and important group of states, contrary to the image of the "pariah state" that it has in the West. Photographs of the embraces, kisses and handshakes of Ahmadinejad with the leaders of states who came in pilgrimage to him are intended to portray him as an accepted and popular leader, both to the Iranian public and to the Western observer.

One of the guests of honor was the president of Egypt, Muhammad Mursi. Though his reason for attending was to participate in the international conference, there were many who saw his presence as a sign of turning over a new leaf in regards to relations between Egypt and Iran, after they had been almost totally cut off since the Revolution of 1979, and the agreement between Israel and Egypt in March of that same year. The honor with which Mursi was received in Iran was also intended to create the image of bridging over the differences between the Sunna and the Shi'a, because he is one of the leaders of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, and Iran represents Shi'a Islam.

Having accepted the opportunity to speak before those present, Mursi of course thanked the host, Ahmadinejad, and the host state for holding the conference, however in his speech he vigorously attacked the regime in Syria, for fighting so viciously against its citizens and slaughtering tens of thousands of them during the past year and a half. It was clear to all that Mursi was referring specifically to the Sunni Muslim citizens, with whom he felt a strong Muslim identification. Mursi did not stop at attacking the Syrian government, and included in his criticism those who support the Syrian regime as well. To anyone who is familiar with the situation in Syria it is clear that he was referring to Iran.

It is important to note that Mursi did not fear the consequences of aiming such clear criticism toward his hosts, and from this it can be concluded that he felt sure enough of himself, his regime and his status to do this. His conduct towards his military people, whose chiefs he dismissed three weeks ago, proves this hypothesis. Undoubtedly, Mursi's speech was intended for Arab ears, and was intended to place himself as an Arab leader who expresses the core sentiments of the Arab nation, watching with concern and rage what is happening in Syria.

However the attack on Syria and the states that support it was extremely upsetting to the hosts, who related quite foolishly to his speech. The translator who translated Mursi's speech simultaneously to the Persians changed the word "Syria" to "Bahrain", as if Mursi the Sunni is attacking the Sunni rulers of Bahrain who oppress the human rights of the Shi'ite citizens of Bahrain. The harsh criticism with which Mursi blasted the Syrian regime also underwent "improvement" in the official Persian translation. The Iranian translator also omitted from the president of Egypt's speech the first caliphs, those of the "straight path", who, according to the Shi'ites, stole the caliphate from Ali, and when Mursi spoke about the "Arab Spring" the translator called it the "Islamic Spring" instead.

This may seem strange to the Western reader, but in the context of the Shi'ite culture of deception this is not surprising, because even other official media such as the sties "Jahan News" and "Asr Iran" repeated the "improved" version of Mursi's speech. The "Jahan News" site, which has close ties to the Iranian regime, even described Mursi's speech as "strange and half-baked, radical and illogical regarding Syria". No doubt, the translator and commentators on the speech reflect the official Iranian line, which is not interested in the truth of Mursi's words, but rather in engineering the messages that are sent to the population of Iran according to the needs of the regime. It is important to note that Mursi did not at all mention Bahrain in his speech...

After several hours had passed since the speech, the Arab media that discovered the deception began to gloat over the obvious fraud. The media of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf Emirates, who are shaking with fear of the burgeoning Iranian strength, exceeded all others. The Bahraini Department of State summoned the Iranian chargé d'affaires in Manama, the capital of Bahrain to protest the false translation of Mursi's speech and demanded an apology from the Iranian government. But Egypt is restraining itself, and it seems that Mursi is waiting for the right moment to slap the Iranians with an accusation of fraud.

But there is one thing that all of the Arab commentators agree on, whether explicitly or implicitly: the Iranian culture of deception is revealed for all to see, and the question that arises from this is: How is it possible to believe Iran when they claim again and again that their nuclear program is for peaceful purposes? Is this statement any more believable than the fraudulent translation of a public speech? And what is really hidden beneath the turban that sits on the heads of the ayatollahs?

[Editor: "The hat burns on the head of the thief" is a saying originating from a Jewish folk tale. It means that a thief is ultimately his own worst accuser.]


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.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:

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.