Friday, October 12, 2012

Mordechai Kedar: Turkey Becomes Entangled

by Mordechai Kedar
Read the article in French (translated by Danilette)
Read the article in Italiano (translated by Yehudit Weisz, edited by Angelo Pezzana)

Recently, on this stage we have dealt with the increasing tension between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites in the Middle East, and the coalitions, which are hostile to each other, reflect this inter-ethnic tension: on one side is the Shi'ite coalition that comprises Iran, Iraq and Hizb'Allah, which support the bloody, Shi'a-aligned 'Alawite regime, and on the other side is the Sunni coalition whose members are Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as well as a few other countries who offer background support, principally Jordan and Egypt. The war of Gog the Shi'ite against Magog the Sunni has been in progress since March 2011 on the soil of Assyria, modern Syria.

Today we will focus on the Turkish - Kurdish - Egyptian triangle, in which interests trump principles, the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, the  beloved of yesterday is the despised of today, hollow slogans and warnings are not backed up by deeds, regional superpowers threaten each other, the economy of yesterday is not the economy of today, and the forecast for the future contradicts the plans of the past. The whole regional alignment that
Erdoğan and Davutoğlu planned has collapsed on the heads of the Turks who already are not cheering for Erdoğan as if he was the Almighty's all-powerful deputy. In his distress, he searches out new friends, but - alas - it turns out that they are beggars, desperately poor. Tell me who your friends are and I'll tell you who you are.

The Syrian morass is about to drown the Asad regime in blood, fire and tears, but it may also pull Turkey into its bedlam as well. It is clear to everyone that the Asad regime will fall, and the question is who will be there to grab as much as possible of what's left of Syria; who will emerge with the least damage from this country's all-out war, and who would gamble today on a horse that will either win or be dead

The Kurds are the Big Winners

After the First World War, when, under European influence,  the superpowers divided up the Middle East into states, the Kurds were forgotten, neglected and betrayed. They were divided up among four states: Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Iran. No one took their national aspirations seriously, and everyone thought that the Kurds would  abandon them. The fact that they suffered oppression in all of these four states, as well as having a unique language and culture, enabled them to preserve themselves as a living and viable ethnic unit with aspirations of brotherhood and independence that were expressed over the years in bloody battles for their freedom. But the sectarianism and the tribalism among the Kurds did not help them in achieving their shared goals. 

The "Kurdish Spring" began twenty two years ago, when Saddam Hussein was prohibited from flying his air force over the Kurdish district of Iraq. When the skies became free of enemies, it allowed the Kurds to develop social and political mechanisms that resulted in the creation of the independent Iraqi Kurdistan: A flag, political parties, media, elections, parliament, government, an economic system and more than anything else, the Pesh-Merga, an army that fiercely defends all that the Kurds have achieved. These are the components of independence that Iraqi Kurdistan has been enjoying for years with the protection of the United States, in spite of Turkey's wrath. Iraqi Kurdistan has become a base for the organization, training and arming of the "Kurdish Workers' Party", PKK, which conducts bloody warfare against the Turkish government.

The actual independence that Iraqi Kurdistan has succeeded to establish, mainly since the downfall of Saddam in 2003, has encouraged and energized the Kurds of Turkey to struggle for independence from the yoke of the Turks. The declining efficacy of the Syrian regime since March 2011 has caused the Kurds of Syria to take up the idea of independence as well. Most Kurds in Syria live in the district of Hasaka in the Northeast section of the country, close to Iraqi and Turkish Kurdistan.

In recent months many Kurds have moved from Syria to Iraq in order to train and organize fighting units in Kurdish military camps (Pesh-Merga),  and then return to Syria to defend their families there. When the Syrian Kurds also realize the dream of freedom,
Erdoğan will have to cope with three Kurdish fronts: Iraqi,  Syrian and local. He wants Asad to be overthrown, but is not at all gratified by what is already occurring in the field: the disintegration of Syria and the development of another Kurdistan in Syria.

Turkey supports the Arabs in Syria who are rebelling against Asad, so Asad - in revenge - is helping the PKK, the Turkish Kurds who are rebelling against
Erdoğan. In return, the members of this Kurdish underground help the Syrian army in the difficult battle for Aleppo, and the alliance between Asad and the PKK is anathema to the Syrian Kurds, who want to overthrow him.

The Truth Comes to Light

Since the Islamic Party of Justice and Development came to power in Turkey ten years ago, it has changed the direction of foreign relations so that it faces to the East: the connections with Syria, Iraq and Iran have flourished, and Israel has paid the price. The policy of "Zero Problems" conceived by the foreign minister, Davutoğlu, was supposed to place Turkey in the role of the "responsible adult", the regional mediator and peacemaker, who would be able to reward those under its authority with tempting economic agreements. Turkey cancelled the need for a visa for Syrian citizens, and Erdoğan and Asad were photographed together hugging and smiling. The Turkish economy flourished and had an amazing annual growth rate of 8 percent. It was all looking good, until the end of 2010.

The Iranian nuclear issue and the chain of disasters that the people of the Middle East have brought upon themselves, called the "Arab Spring", have placed Turkey in a rather bleak situation: Iran is running afoul of the West and suffering from sanctions, and Turkey cannot function as the peacemaker and mediator between Iran and the West. Erdoğan's suggestions to store enriched uranium in Turkey have remained undecided. The deteriorating situation in Syria is worsening internal tensions in Turkey between Kurds and Turks and between Muslims and 'Alawites, and causes a burden to the Turkish economy because of the arrival of approximately one hundred thousand Syrian refugees, so far. This figure might increase in the near future.

Repeated calls for the Turkish leadership to impose upon Syria a no-fly zone over the cities are not acted upon, and no one takes them seriously. Iran threatens Turkey with attack if it gets involved in Syria, despite the fact that companies in Turkey help Iran to bypass the international sanctions that are imposed upon it. Russia backs up Iran, and the United States does not volunteer to support Turkey as long as it is ruled by the Islamist party, despite agreeing to place in the area of Turkey a radar system meant to defend Europe from Iranian ballistic missiles. The complications with Israel and its refusal to apologize for killing nine Turkish citizens on the Mavi Marmara makes the Turkish leadership look weak.

The Turkish economy is weakening, foreign investments are declining, inflation is rising, Europe, also in crisis, is buying fewer products produced in Turkey and the Arab market has disappeared. Iran supplies oil and gas to Turkey, but the tension between them endangers their economic relationship. The urgent need for energy drives the Turkish leaders to press Israel and Cypress "to take Turkey into account" regarding the apportionment of gas from the bed of the Mediterranean Sea. Europe does not support these Turkish demands, and there are dark shadows regarding Turkish relations with NATO: Turkey still does not forget or forgive Europe for refusing to accept it into the European Union, despite the fact that this refusal would have absolved Turkey from supporting Greece and would have saved it from some of its economic difficulties. Turkey does not support NATO in the issue of Afghanistan just as it did not support the West in its invasion of Iraq in 2003. The crisis in Syria reveals the truth about the regime in Turkey, because it has placed itself in the forefront of the Sunni, anti-Shi'ite and anti-Iranian front. The slaughter of Muslims by 'Alawites drives Erdoğan mad;  about once a week he makes radical statements against Asad and his regime. However, up until now this talk has not been translated into direct military action, and it has been reduced to background support for Syrian opposition organizations, supply of weapons, equipment and money for the Free Syrian Army, establishment of training bases for Asad's opposition and supplying intelligence about the movements of Asad's army and his operational plans against them.

Turkey is being sucked into the increasing power vacuum in Syria, while on one hand it acts to overthrow the regime of Asad  and the 'Alawites, on the other hand it doesn't want Syria to disintegrate.
Erdoğan, like Netanyahu, also fears the spread of weapons of mass destruction into irresponsible hands, and the presence of Hizb'Allah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in Syria is very troubling in this context. The Turkish parliament gave a green light to the government to go to war with the Asad regime, and Erdoğan speaks of war against Syria as if it is something that may happen at any moment. The downing of the Turkish jet in June of this year, the rumors of the execution of the pilots in cold blood, border incidents between the two states, in which civilians and military people from both sides are killed, might easily deteriorate into a wider conflict with many casualties, because in this case Asad will fight with the mindset of "Let me die with the Philistines".

But Erdoğan has another reason to avoid an inclusive confrontation with Syria: the military. A fairly large proportion of Turkish soldiers are Kurds, and they may refuse to fight or they may even  sabotage fighting equipment and the actions of the Turkish military if they feel that Kurdish interests are endangered. The Kurdish soldiers will not fight against their brothers in Syria in order to prevent them from having a state, and in general it is not clear how much motivation the Turkish military has to go to an elective  war with Syria on Syrian soil.  

The opposition in Turkey accuses Erdoğan of harming relations with Syria in order to engage it in war and vanquish it, and then to go to elections in 2014 to win the presidency of Turkey. The opposition also accuses Erdoğan with intending to change the constitution in such a way as to make it into a presidential regime, which would award to the president most of the executive authorities, as in the United States or France. A war against the exhausted Syrian military would necessarily bring victory to Erdoğan, in the battle field as well as the ballot box. He of course denies that it is his intention to pit Turkey against Syria in a war, just to promote his name and his status.

The Role of Egypt

In the context of the regional chaos that
Erdoğan has gotten Turkey into, he seeks friends who will consult with him and support him.  Egypt of the Muslim Brotherhood is a natural choice. The Turkish and Egyptian navies are holding a joint exercise these days. The exercise, which is called "The Sea of Friendship" (Bahr al-Sadaqa), is held in Egypt. The Turkish navy participates in the exercise with two frigates, a fast attack ship, a tanker, two landing crafts, two helicopters, a battalion of marine infantry and a naval commando team. This is the second time that the Egyptian and Turkish navies are training together. The declared purpose of the event is for the two fleets to develop cooperation and the capability for joint action. 

A few days ago, on the 6th of October, President Mursi spoke in front of an audience of tens of thousands of military people, on the occasion of the 39th anniversary of the victory of the October War and one hundred days since Mursi assumed power. He is well aware of Egypt's economic problems that force it to be dependent on the mercy of others and to carry out a policy that is not consistent with the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood. To strengthen Egypt's independence he requested economic help from Turkey in the amount of a billion dollars, and he got it. 

Mursi presented his achievements since he rose to power at the end of June as the first president of Egypt who was elected in free elections, but emphasized also the challenges that Egypt faces.

His detractors, despite this, say that Mursi is not perfect, and victory in elections is not a guarantee of proper performance. They accuse him of appointing his friends according to loyalty to the Muslim Brotherhood, not according to their abilities.  The event of the 6th of October, which included a military march as part of the ceremony to commemorate the anniversary of Egypt's war with Israel in 1973, was a demonstration of the Muslim Brotherhood's power, both in Egypt and outside it.

Mursi said that he has achieved seventy percent of his goals. Egypt requested from the IMF (International Monetary Fund) a loan of almost 5 billion dollars in order to help strengthen the economy, and according to officials, the IMF demands Mursi to reorganize the system of subsidies as one of the conditions for the loan. The implication of this demand is higher prices, which may create tensions between the government and the people. Mursi prefers to receive the loan without exacting from the people a high price for basic food items. He blames Mubarak's regime for corruption and stealing billions that belong to the people, but there is a limit as to how much Mursi will be able to blame Mubarak, because he was elected in order to cope with problems, not to whine about them. For Mursi, Turkey is a model of success: an Islamic government, traditional society, developed economy, large and mighty military, strong international standing, friendly relations with both East and West. Between Mursi and
Erdoğan there are differences of opinion regarding Syria, because Mursi claims all the time that foreign countries should not become involved with Syria, while Erdoğan calls for international involvement. Nevertheless, regarding what is happening in Syria, they see eye to eye and view with great distress and pain the horrors that are occurring there, recorded on video for all the world to see. 

They are both Sunni Muslims, leaders of Sunni nations, and fear the role that Shi'ite Iran is playing in Syria particularly and in the Middle East in general. They are worried by the Iranian nuclear project, Iranian agitation, and the Iranian ability to undermine regimes from within and take over a country as happened, for example, in Lebanon and in Iraq.

Both of them control international waterways, the Suez Canal in Egypt and the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles in Turkey, and they both can cause disturbances in the marine traffic of the Shi'ite coalition and its supporters, Iran and Russia, on their way to the Mediterranean Sea, to support the Syrian regime. This apparently is the reason for the fact that the Turkish-Egyptian exercise was naval, and not land-based.

It is not clear if the strengthening connection between Egypt and Turkey will change the balance of power in the region, however it definitely must be taken into account when the subject is - for example - the naval blockade that Israel imposed on the Gaza Strip. What would happen if and when Mursi and Erdoğan decide to cash in on the sympathy they would earn ( at the expense of Israel) by sending a shipment of "humanitarian support" to Gaza in the ships of the two navies? What would Israel do then? Would NATO do? And the United States?


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.

The Silent Terrorists: The Muslim Brotherhood's Political Terrorism Strategy

by Mudar Zahran

"The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." from: An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America.
While the world has been occupied with Islamist terrorism for over a decade, it has been overlooking the silent terrorists who execute their agenda through politics rather than bombs.

These silent terrorists have, it seems, been taking over the "Arab Spring" countries one by one while the world has done little even to try to stop them, lest such attempts be seen as obstructions of democracy.

Has the Muslim Brotherhood outwitted all of us? It has been quietly putting into place the same expansionist agenda as the militant terrorists -- to establish an fundamentalist Islamic realm -- except with plans to accomplish this by means of politics rather than explosives and machine guns.
Since Sheikh Hassan al-Banna founded the Muslim Brotherhood in 1928, it has been the embodiment of the Islamists' movements, and transparent about its mission: "God is our objective; the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader; Jihad is our way; and death for the sake of God is the highest of our aspirations."

Its goal, as stated by al-Banna is to establish a Muslim empire stretching from Spain to Indonesia. [Source: Davidson, Lawrence (1998) Islamic Fundamentalism Greenwood Press, Westport, Conn., ISBN 0-313-29978-1 pp. 97–98;]

Regrettably, these objectives entail destroying the Western Civilizations. As the Muslim Brotherhood document, "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Group in North America," openly states: "The Ikhwan [Brotherhood] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."

The Brotherhood's mid-course correction seeks to achieve its means by befriending people -- by means of lavish invitations, or payments to lobbyists or promises of opulent permanent employment or of significant donations -- to be introduced among in the topmost circles of influence in the nations being groomed for hollowing out. From there it is simple enough over smiles and good food, to proceed, as favors are granted by new friends. Meanwhile, the motto and mission statement never change; enemies are confused with friends, and attempts to silence of free speech -- such as Yale University's refusal to show the Mohammed Cartoons in a book on them by Jytte Klausen it published, possibly lest their appearance jeopardize a donation of millions being dangled before them; or the US and European legitimization of the "Istanbul Process." a serious of conferences requested the by the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation which has been seeking to have the United Nations internationally criminalize discussion of Islam -- are confused with charming cultural quirks.

The US would do well to wake up to the truth of the Muslim Brotherhood's real agenda; its strategy seems to be paying off.

Mudar Zahran


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

US Military in Jordan to Keep Eye on Syria's Chemical Weapons

by Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta attends a ceremony at army headquarters in Lima, Peru on Saturday.
Photo credit: AP

Reuters and Israel Hayom Staff


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

France’s Anti-Jewish Terrorism Epidemic

by P. David Hornik

Last March, when the French Muslim terrorist Mohamed Merah murdered a teacher and three children at a French Jewish school in Toulouse, a media firestorm resulted. Things have not gotten easier for French Jews since then. As the New York Times noted this week, French Jews say anti-Semitic threats have in fact escalated since March, Merah’s act having stirred “empathy” and “emulation.”

Indeed, the main thing that appears to have prevented further catastrophes is good police work. On Saturday French police raided the Strasbourg apartment of a 33-year-old French Muslim named Jeremy Sidney and ended up killing him in a shootout. Sidney’s DNA had been found on a grenade that, in September, was thrown into a kosher supermarket in Sarcelles (near Paris), wounding a customer.

Sidney, it turns out, was born in Melun, France, got a two-year sentence for drug trafficking in 2008, and converted to Islam while in prison. And he was no isolated case. As part of the same far-reaching operation on Saturday, police arrested twelve other suspected Islamic terrorists in Paris, Tours, Strasbourg, and Cannes.

“All,” reports CNN, “are being held on suspicion of…manufacturing deadly explosives, illegal possession of weapons and attempted homicide of police officers. Three of them have criminal records for drug trafficking, theft or violence….” AP says all of them were, like Sidney, “French and recent converts to Islam.”

CNN also tells us: “Police seized a number of items such as ammunition, a list of ‘Israelite’ organizations in and around Paris, a publication produced by al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, wills, computer equipment and 27,000 euros ($35,000) in cash….”

As part of the probe, on Wednesday police also found bomb-making materials in an underground parking lot near Paris.

Israeli commentator Boaz Bismuth notes that one of the cell members, Jan Ansako, “was addicted to fundamentalist websites and uploaded [to his own site] photos of dead Palestinian babies and a photograph of an Israeli soldier aiming his weapon…. ‘How can you not hate this cursed nation?’ he wrote.”

The above-quoted New York Times article reports that these suspects “were described in various news reports as admirers of Mr. Merah, and some of them even called his actions ‘the battle of Toulouse.’”

Bismuth adds: “Although Jews are not the only targets on this terror cell’s list, they appear at the top.”

A few things are worth pointing out here.

First, while terrorists like Merah and the rest are extreme manifestations, they are part of a much wider phenomenon. As Israeli historian Robert Wistrich put it: “The scale and extremism of the [anti-Semitic] literature and commentary available in Arab or Muslim newspapers, journals, magazines, caricatures, on Islamist websites, on the Middle Eastern radio and TV news, in documentaries, films, and educational materials, is comparable only to that of Nazi Germany at its worst.”

While this hate has been metastasizing from Arab and Muslim countries themselves to far-flung immigrant communities, especially in Europe, far more attention has been directed to scattered, minor, generally much less extreme anti-Muslim expressions in Western media, a certain YouTube video being the latest example. Meanwhile the tide of Jew-hatred flowing from Arab and Muslim countries is now powerful enough to “convert” originally non-Muslim Westerners and to pose a daily, murderous danger to Jews in France and elsewhere in Europe—while Westerners hasten to apologize to Muslims for what are no more than insults.

Second, while Muslim anti-Semitism is rooted in the Koran and predates the rise of modern Israel by fourteen centuries, Israel is today an obsessive focal point—as in the abovementioned case of the terror suspect with his photos of “dead Palestinian babies” and an armed Israeli soldier. For that terror suspect, though, the proper object of hate was “this cursed nation”—meaning not just Israeli Jews but all Jews, thereby giving the hate a genocidal scope in the strictest sense. Hence, French Jews—whatever their concern or lack of concern for Israel, “the Palestinians,” or the “two-state solution”—are part of “the nation” and potential targets for murder, whether children in a school or customers in a supermarket.

For a religion comprising well over a billion people worldwide, and fifty-seven countries, to focus so much obsessive hate on a vastly smaller people is, to put it mildly, not something to take pride in. One would like to believe that, if the Islamic world could really see itself in a mirror, it would not like what it sees.

P. David Hornik


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

Revealed: Extreme Negligence in Benghazi

by Ryan Mauro


The House of Representatives began its hearings on Wednesday regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The picture painted by sworn testimonies is one of extreme negligence and incompetence on the part of the Obama administration in protecting our fellow citizens in the field. The Obama administration is also under fire for its embarrassing insistence that the tragedy wasn’t a pre-planned terrorist attack until a mound of evidence forced it to reverse course, long after the truth became obvious.

The need for strong security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya was more than apparent. The country was in a state of civil war a year ago, and violent incidents are common. The central government lacks authoritative control, and militias, including ones of jihadist orientation, are all over the war-torn country. Al-Qaeda-type terrorists are known to be organized in Libya. Ambassador Stevens himself feared that he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list. Special precautions on the anniversary of 9/11 should have been a common-sense measure.

The House heard the story of Eric Nordstrom, whose job it was to oversee security for American diplomats in Libya. In both March and July, Nordstrom urged the State Department to maintain security in Benghazi because current forces were “overwhelmed and could not guarantee our protection.” He didn’t hear back. Nordstrom says he was told by a senior State Department official that he shouldn’t request reinforcements again because “there would be too much political cost.”

Lt. Col. Andy Wood has a similar story. He led a 16-man Site Security Team in Tripoli from February 12 to August 14. He was told, “You’ve got to do with less.” He says that Stevens wanted his team to stay through August and the U.S. embassy was worried when they left.

Wood further testified that “diplomatic security remained weak” and “The RSO [regional security officer] struggled to obtain additional personnel there, but was never able to attain the numbers he felt comfortable with.” The State Department says the RSO never made a request for more forces and that Wood’s team was replaced with one of equal capability.

There was a steady stream of warnings about the situation on the ground. The consulate was actually attacked twice before with an explosive creating a hole in the gate “big enough for forty men to go through” on June 6. One memo documented 230 security incidents and said there was a “HIGH” risk of U.S. personnel coming under attack. On August 27, the State Department issued a travel advisory cautioning against trips to Libya. Stevens told a retired senior military official not to come.

On September 11, 2012, only five U.S. agents and four militiamen were protecting the consulate. The attackers broke through the perimeter in just 15 minutes. Back-up forces could not arrive in time to foil the attack and save Stevens and his colleagues.

The inability of the U.S. government to convey basic facts to the American public in the aftermath is also unsettling. It was originally claimed that there were protesters outside the consulate demonstrating against the anti-Mohammed film posted on YouTube. If that was the case, there should have been eyewitnesses, pictures, announcements promoting a rally and signs, and it probably wouldn’t have taken place at 9:40 PM. In addition, the initial reports indicated dozens of armed men carried out the attack—strongly indicating it wasn’t “spontaneous” as the administration claimed.
By September 15, the Libyan government was stating publicly that it was a pre-planned terrorist attack, almost certainly at the hands of Al-Qaeda. After all, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri released a tape shortly before the attack honoring his former second-in-command, a Libyan who was killed in a drone strike. On September 15, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said the attack was revenge for that same strike.

The Obama administration is in serious trouble if it is discovered that the militia hired to protect the consulate included conspirators in the attack. It is reported that an electronic intercept show the militia’s leader asked his men to stand down in advance of the attack. He is a member of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and one of his commanders is the brother of Brotherhood cleric Ali Al-Salabi. Who made the decision to hire an Islamist militia to guard an American facility?

The Arabic paper Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on October 7 that the militia had complained about being inadequately prepared for an attack. One of the consulate’s Libyan guards claims that he was informed on August 28 about a possible forthcoming attack on the facility. He says he was told on September 9 that there was intelligence about an attack timed for an anniversary, believed to be related to Gaddafi’s rule. Another guard says that on the morning of September 11, the consulate sent a request for additional security and then canceled it.

The State Department has responded with unacceptable excuses. It claims that it never believed that the attack was the spontaneous work of outraged protesters. Yet, White House spokesman Jay Carney incredulously said on September 14, “These protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region. We have no information to suggest it was a pre-planned attack.” U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said on September 16, “We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”

It is true that President Obama immediately called it an “act of terror,” but using this as a defense is a word game. The Libyans were loudly telling us that it was a well-planned terrorist attack. The administration was saying it was a terrorist attack carried out spontaneously by protesters that we soon learned didn’t exist. Libya was right and the administration was wrong.

The State Department is holding to the line that the security at the consulate was adequate based on what was known. The attack was “unprecedented” and therefore, it could not have been reasonably anticipated. This is yet another disingenuous and unacceptable excuse from the Obama administration. Al-Qaeda has carried out similar attacks with fighters on facilities many times before. Everyone knew Al-Qaeda was in the country and had sympathetic militias available in the region. Ambassador Stevens himself felt inadequately protected from the jihadist threat howling at his door.
In the Benghazi fiasco, a wealth of warnings were available for anyone with eyes to see. Yet on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack on the U.S. in recent history, our consulate in the backyard of our enemies was left pitifully fortified. Threats were not taken seriously, and four Americans were left to the wolves. The congressional hearings are crucial to exposing the extreme negligence that precipitated this tragic incident and the misguided mindset that led to these decisions.

Ryan Mauro


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

French Group: 3 Anti-Semitic Attacks in a Week

by JTA, Reuters

French Jewish community's SPCJ releases report showing a 45% increase in “anti-Semitic acts” in France over same period in 2011.

French special police
 Photo: Christian Hartman/Reuters
Unidentified assailants near Paris wounded a Jewish woman in her succa, one of three serious incidents in the last week and indicative of a reported 45 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks in France in the first half of this year.

The attack was one of three incidents reported by the security unit of France’s Jewish communities since Oct. 5. In a second incident, a Jewish man was lightly wounded by a metal ball that was fired at him as he was coming out of his Paris synagogue. The third involved the desecration of a Jewish cemetery near Marseille.

The SPCJ has counted 386 of what it calls “anti-Semitic acts” from Jan. 1 to Aug. 31 this year, the organization said in a report on Wednesday. In the corresponding period of 2011, SPCJ counted 266 such incidents. SPCJ said these figures correlated to official data by French authorities.

Of the incidents registered in the first eight months of 2012, 101 were “violent actions,” SPCJ said, including the slaying of four people at a school in Toulouse on March 19 by Mohammed Merah, a Muslim extremist. That attack triggered "an explosion" of anti-Semitic attacks, SPCJ said. Most other incidents documented were cases of intimidation, the report said.

The report's release came on the same day that French anti-terror police announced they had found bomb-making materials and chemicals in a garage near Paris during their investigation into an anti-Jewish Islamist network suspected of being behind last month’s attack on a Jewish grocery store in Sarcelles, a suburb of Paris.

The explosion at the kosher shop, reportedly caused by a grenade, damaged the store and injured a shopper, French police said.

The raid that uncovered the cache was led by the police anti-terrorist units in several cities across France. In Strasbourg, the prime suspect, Jeremie Louis Sidney, 33, was shot dead after he opened fire on police officers.

During the course of the operation, 12 suspects were arrested.

Joseph Strich contributed to this report.

JTA, Reuters


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

Admin Libya Lies Take Mitt Off the Hook

by Jonathan S. Tobin

As he has done many times in recent years, ABC’s Jake Tapper hit the nail on the head when he asked White House spokesman Jay Carney yesterday whether President Obama hadn’t done exactly what he and other Democrats and liberals accused Mitt Romney of doing:
TAPPER: President Obama, shortly after the attack told “60 Minutes” that regarding Mitt Romney’s response to the attacks, specifically in Egypt, the president said that Romney has a tendency to “shoot first and aim later.” Given the fact that so much was made out of the video that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with the attack in Benghazi, that there wasn’t even a protest outside the Benghazi post, didn’t President Obama shoot first and aim later?
CARNEY: First of all, Jake, I think your assessment of what we know now is not complete, but I would simply say that the -
TAPPER: I’m just going by what the State Department said yesterday.
CARNEY: Look, there is no question that in the region, including in Cairo, there were demonstrations reacting to the release of that video, and I will leave it to those who are testifying on the hill to -
TAPPER: You said yesterday there was no protest? I’m talking about in Benghazi.
This was yet another cringe-inducing moment from a White House that is allergic to the truth. But Tapper’s question hits an important political point that has been ignored, as the country seeks answers to the questions about the Benghazi attack that the Obama foreign policy team still finds itself incapable of answering honestly. Mitt Romney is still taking abuse from those who claim he was wrong to criticize the administration’s behavior in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi disaster as well as the assault on the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The Republican spoke out before all the information about both incidents was aired. In retrospect, that was a mistake. But it pales in comparison to the many deceptive statements from the president, the secretary of state and the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations that were not only wrong but part of what appears to have been a campaign of deception aimed at distracting the American people from a major security breakdown.

As Alana wrote yesterday, the first day of hearings of the House Oversight Committee began to unravel the layers of misinformation with which this administration has sought to cover up its failures. But beyond the specifics of this disaster, and the dishonest way it was represented to the American people by officials, is the distinct impression we are getting that the attempt to put the focus on the video was in line with the general philosophy of this administration about America’s role in the world.

In that sense, it is becoming increasingly clear that Romney’s fundamental criticism of the administration’s penchant for apologizing for America is on target.

Romney’s initial statement about the attacks last month was not entirely correct, but it was not based on a lie, as it appears the president’s efforts to obfuscate the issue have been. It was, as Jake Tapper said yesterday, Obama who decided to “shoot first and aim later.” Those establishment figures that spent so much time attacking Romney owe him an apology. So does Obama.

Jonathan S. Tobin


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Al-Qaeda’s Resurgence

by Max Boot

Much attention has been focused in recent days, and for understandable reasons, on the emergence of al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorists as a serious threat in Libya. Indeed Lt. Col. Andrew Wood of the Utah National Guard, who led a security assistance team in Libya, testified yesterday that its “presence grows every day. They are certainly more established than we are.”

Libya is hardly alone, however. There is also growing evidence of al-Qaeda’s reemergence in Iraq. The Associated Press reports that “the insurgent group has more than doubled in numbers from a year ago — from about 1,000 to 2,500 fighters. And it is carrying out an average of 140 attacks each week across Iraq, up from 75 attacks each week earlier this year, according to Pentagon data.” There are said to be as many as ten al-Qaeda in Iraq training sites in the western deserts of Iraq.

Meanwhile, other al-Qaeda-associated organizations are gaining strength in Mali and Yemen, among other places. According to one report, Tuareg jihadists in Ansar al Dine and the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa, both affiliated with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, now control a region the size of France in Mali. And they are also making fresh inroads in Syria where the al-Qaeda-linked Al Nusra Front for the People of the Levant has claimed responsibility for an attack on Tuesday by suicide bombers on an intelligence compound near Damascus.

This is an obvious election issue since President Obama keeps saying that “al-Qaeda is on its heels.” It is true that “al-Qaeda central”–the organization headquartered in Pakistan and headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri–does appear to be on its heels; certainly it is less of a threat than it was in the days when Osama bin Laden was alive. But al-Qaeda has managed to spread its tentacles to other corners of the greater Middle East, and its franchises and affiliates remain far from being on their heels. These groups are increasingly well-funded through criminal rackets such as hostage-taking for ransom. Daniel Cohen, the Treasury Department’s top official on terrorist-financing, has recently said that “the U.S. government estimates that terrorist organizations have collected approximately $120 million in ransom payments over the past eight years.”

Part of the reason why al-Qaeda has been able to infiltrate Libya is because of the overthrow of Muammar Qaddafi–a war that I believe was, on the whole, in our national security interests. But there has been too little follow-up to try to help the nascent, pro-American government in Tripoli establish its authority. In Iraq, AQI’s reemergence is tied directly to Obama’s ill-advised withdrawal of U.S. troops after half-hearted negotiations with the Iraqis to extend their mandate failed. In Syria, al-Qaeda has an opening because the administration refuses to do more to help the non-jihadist rebel groups overthrow Bashar Assad’s regime. And in Somalia and Yemen the group is finding traction because of the breakdown of state authority–conditions that the Obama administration can hardly be blamed for and that it is grappling with just as the Bush administration did. Overall, the resurgence of al-Qaeda shows the limitations of the Obama administration’s preferred response–drone strikes. They are a good idea, but insufficient to prevent extremists from gaining control of territory. That can only be done by bolstering state authority–something that is notoriously hard to do, especially in lands where the U.S. does not deploy large numbers of ground troops.

However this issue plays out in November, the resurgence of al-Qaeda is a worrisome trend that the next president will have to confront through a variety of mechanisms which will draw the U.S. even more closely into the morass of the Middle East. There is simply no other choice. If America retreats, our enemies advance.

Max Boot


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Benghazi and the Bureaucrats

by Thomas Lifson

It is desperation time for the Obama administration, its attempt to falsely characterize the 9/11 anniversary terror attack in  Benghazi lying in ruins as burned out as the Benghazi consulate.  The late American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, is a martyr to the Obama administration's fantasyland approach to the "Arab Spring," pretending that it was a positive move toward democracy and Facebook-led modernization.

We now know that Stevens and others begged for more security in Libya, but that those requests were denied, apparently because the administration wished to present the image of a democratic Libya moving forward in a positive manner.  Having enthusiastically backed the Arab Spring with force of arms in Libya, it would be highly embarrassing for Obama to admit that he had unleashed an Islamist whirlwind in Libya and Egypt.

Rosslyn Smith wrote yesterday before the Issa Committee hearing:
My first thought upon hearing that Ambassador Steven's requests for more security were ignored was that the state department bureaucracy will absolutely go ballistic.
Considering how vicious career bureaucrats at State can be about policy differences with an administration I hate to think what they are capable of when the issue has become personal. Remember that Ambassador Stevens was one of them, a career diplomat, rather than an scholar, lawyer or consultant turned politician/diplomat. A very basic trust was violated by the political appointees in not protecting our own people sent into dangerous places. I suspect other agencies that send people abroad are also a roar. Career people at such agencies tend to operate on the assumption the government will always provide the best security available when they are overseas. Their families take comfort in that expectation when they are assigned abroad.
These are smart, well connected people who are highly skilled in the leaker game. Indeed, the State Department was already going rouge before the ink was fully dry on the Constitution. One of State's very first hires was assigned to dig up dirt on the rest of the people in George Washington's administration, particularly Alexander Hamilton.
Yet, in their testimony, two State Department careerists almost inexplicably protected their political bosses. John Podhoretz writes in the NY Post:
At yesterday's incendiary, four-hour hearing in Washington, congressional Republicans ripped into two high-ranking State Department officials who struggled to explain away the administration's utterly baffling behavior before and after the murder of four Americans in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
The spectacle was agonizing. The officials - Charlene Lamb and Patrick Kennedy - basically said everything they'd done before the terror assault and everything the administration had said afterward was appropriate, "based on what was known at the time."
Lamb and Kennedy said they'd done the right thing as they sat next to two security experts who'd been on the ground in Benghazi and had desperately sought more assistance from the State Department - as had Ambassador Chris Stevens, up to the very day he was murdered.
Based on what they knew at the time.
Even more surprising, Kennedy acknowledged that he believed the murders were the result of a terrorist plan, rather than the aftermath of a spontaneous uprising against a YouTube video. But he then heatedly said he would've done exactly what UN Ambassador Susan Rice did when she went on the Sunday-morning chat shows and falsely asserted that the video was entirely to blame - based on what was known at the time.
This looks like a stonewall. It will not work. It is an act of desperation. Too many people know too much and have too much at stake personally.

Speaking of desperation, Jay Carney has taken to denying he previous statements to the White House press corps. Buzzfeed highlights 2 videos demonstrating the trap Carney has laid for himself trying to protect the  administration's lies.

10/10: "I never said, I never said we don't know if it's terrorism."

9/14 in response question if it was a terrorist attack: "We don't have and do not have concrete evidence to suggest this was not in reaction to the film."

Jay Tapper of ABC News, closed in on Carney, with the fatal question that throws back in OBama's face the snide wisecrack he made about Mitt Romney: "...didn't President Obama shoot first and aim later? ..."

This is not going to end well for the Obama forces. Michael Kinsley, who has been watching DC  from the progressive camp for decades, today writes a prophetic column, " President (gulp) Romney?"

Thomas Lifson


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