Saturday, December 15, 2012

Islamic Fascism: Qutb and Azzam

by Gary Aminoff

Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Queda and planner of the 9/11 attack on America, was first politicized not by specific U.S. policies, but by the writings of Sayyid Qutb and the Jihadist lectures of Abdullah Azzam, both of the Muslim Brotherhood. 

Qutb was the son of a highly-educated Egyptian nationalist. He traveled to the United States and lived for two years in Colorado while attending university. Qutb was a devout Muslim and wrote of the United States: "No one is more distant than the Americans from spirituality and piety." American sexual permissiveness and promiscuity particularly appalled Qutb. He was incredulous at the liberties permitted American teenagers. He feared the same influences would invade Egypt.

Qutb concluded that major aspects of American life were "primitive" and "shocking." His experiences in the U.S. partly formed the impetus for his total rejection of Western values and his move towards pure Islamic traditionalism upon returning to Egypt. Resigning from the civil service, he joined the Muslim Brotherhood in the early 1950s, an organization suffused with Nazi Jew-hatred and supported by Nazi financing, as I reported in Part 1 of this article. He became editor-in-chief of the Brotherhoods' weekly newspaper, and later became head of the Muslim Brotherhood propaganda section, as well as an appointed member of the Guidance Council, the highest branch in the Muslim Brotherhood.

Qutb believed that the timeless message of the Koran included the sacred duty of faithful Muslims to wage jihad "against the corrupt new Kingdom of Israel, its imperial American sponsor, any other Western influences, and corrupt Muslim rulers." According to Qutb, a Muslim must wage war against any influences in opposition to traditional Islam, and especially against a "Zionist Entity" in Dar al-Islam.

The writings of Qutb resonated with many Muslims, who were radicalized by them. He developed a huge following of jihadists in Egypt, which swelled the ranks of the Muslim Brotherhood, and eventually throughout the Arab World. His writings contributed greatly to recruiting Egyptians and other Arabs to the cause of Islamic Jihad. Most of today's Islamist leaders are followers of the writings of Qutb.

Abdullah Azzam was a Palestinian who went to Egypt to continue his Islamic studies at Cairo's Al-Azhar University. During his studies he met Sheik Omar Abdel-Rachman, the man behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, now serving a life sentence in the U.S., Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood and now the ostensible leader of Al-Queda, and other followers of Sayyid Qutb. Azzam was a visionary. He was heavily influenced by the writings of Qutb. He envisioned a pan-Islamic transnational movement that would transcend the political map of the Middle East. He also envisioned the restoration of the Caliphate and the destruction and removal of the "Zionist Entity" from Dar al-Islam. Azzam was a member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and one of the original founders of the Muslim Brotherhood of Palestine, now known as Hamas.

In 1976 Azzam moved to Saudi Arabia and became a lecturer at the King Abdul Aziz University in Jeddah where he became a mentor to a young student by the name of Osama Bin Laden. Both Azzam and Qutb planted the seeds that drove Bin Laden to his destiny.

Keep in mind that Islamofascism is not an ideology that ignites protest in its followers as they rub up against social injustice. On the contrary, what provokes Islamic violence is any sign of modern development in the Muslim world, such as scientific inquiry, political or personal self-determination, women's equality, the existence of religions other than Islam, especially the existence of the State of Israel. The radicalization of Islam is not the consequence of poverty and lack of opportunity. It is the result of their longstanding desire to destroy the Jewish state, eliminate Jews from the middle east, and establish Islamic rule throughout the world.

The failure of the West to see this, and our failure to recognize the substance of Islamist ideology -- the Death Cult, the Hatred of Jews, Nazi ideology, which was taken up by the Muslim Brotherhood in the 1930s and 1940s, and their profound dislike of freedom, leads back again and again to the mistaken belief that the root cause of terrorism is U.S. policies.

This approach is appealing to the West because of the specious hope it holds out: if Islamic terrorism has its roots in American policy, then a change in that policy can lessen terrorism. These erroneous views are strongly held by the American left.

Ultimately, the refusal on the part of the West to recognize the Islamists' true motives results in a reverse of responsibility: the more deadly the terrorism the greater is American guilt. Our support of Islamist hate groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot, Hamas, weakens us and increases the threat to ourselves and to our allies in the region.

A struggle against Islamic Jihad waged in ignorance of its history and ideology will not succeed. Not to confront the real ideological roots of Islamic Jihad, especially its well-documented connection to its Nazi anti-Semitic origins, stymies any Western push for political, economic, or cultural modernization of the Muslim world.

The greatest threat to our freedom and to the future of America as we know it is the Islamist threat. It is the overriding issue of our day. The fact that this is not recognized by a majority of Americans, particularly on the left, enhances that threat.

Gary Aminoff can be reached at


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"The Sheikh's Dog Thinks He is the Sheikh"

by Amin Farouk

America has a difficult decision to make: If Iran is struck a blow by the United States and its allies, extremist Sunni Islamists will exploit the situation to accelerate a military build-up and continue to conspire to establish a global, militant Islamic Caliphate. On the other hand, if the threat for a nuclear Iran is not removed, the Persian Gulf interests of the United States and its oil-producing allies will be seriously endangered. The Western world did not internalize that the Muslim Brotherhood was closing ranks in the Middle East.
It is now clear that the West was overly hasty in unilaterally recognizing "Palestine" as a non-member observer state in the UN, against Israel's wishes and in legal contravention of the Oslo Accords. The decision was made without providing Israel with a minimum commitment for the end of the conflict, without recognizing Israel as a Jewish state and without sufficient, agreed-upon security arrangements.

The recognition of "Palestine" will lead, actually, to the establishment of the United Islamic Terrorist State of Hamastan in the Gaza Strip and West Bank.

The Western world did not internalize that, within the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood was closing ranks in the Middle East. It did not understand the short role assigned to Mahmoud Abbas in gaining international recognition for the terrorist state of Hamastan in an Islamist process that now probably cannot be reversed. The Palestinians now wait, and pray for the safe arrival of the ships from Iran, bringing weapons to refill the Gaza Strip arsenals of Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, while the masses fill the squares and roar for the destruction of Israel.

In the meantime, there are signs that more serious sanctions might be taken against Iran, and a Sunni coalition in the Middle East under American aegis might be crystallizing. The media report a rapprochement in the positions of Israel and Turkey. Such contacts, forced by the Iranian threat, may lead to a renewal of relations between the two through a plan that will include reparations, a kind of apology and the partial opening of the Gaza Strip crossings.

Turkey's completion of its early warning systems and the fortifying of its borders with anti-missile defenses, and the Iranian grumblings about provocative American naval deployments in the Persian Gulf, might be interpreted as Sunni Gulf states organizing with American help. Thus it is possible that the United States' involvement in the agreements between Israel and Egypt in the ceasefire in the Gaza Strip was also aimed at constructing a pan-Arab Sunni Islamic front as part of the general trend. Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which have just profited from the recognition of Hamastan and from the achievements of Egyptian brokering, are behaving themselves, despite the fact that the fragile, problematic ceasefire recently achieved with American-Egyptian supervision is as sturdy as a cobweb and as full of holes as a fishnet.

Mohamed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, both hungry for power, are busy instituting a theocratic Pharaonic dictatorship a thousand times worse than the Mubarak regime. The temporary readiness of the Islamic elements to accept the Gaza ceasefire is exclusively the result of their need for economic and military support from the "Crusaders" in America and Europe. It is Islamic policy to postpone gratification until its leaders have built up their might and are ready to betray their benefactors.

Israel took into consideration the possibility that the Egyptian authorities would not take serious steps to prevent weapons from being smuggled to their Muslim Brothers in the Gaza Strip, weapons whose only purpose is to kill Israelis. Nevertheless, Israel agreed to end Operation Pillar of Defense and not invade the Gaza Strip and stop rockets from being fired at its civilians. There are those who say that during the operation the Americans, planning to challenge Iran by targeting Assad's Syria first, asked Israel not to undertake a ground operation and to make do with air strikes in order to support the creation of a Sunni Islamic front. The assumption was that an Israeli ground invasion might rip apart the strategic Sunni constellation forming against Shi'ite Iran.

The situation recalled the American demand that Israel not attack Iraq during the First Gulf War in 1991, lest it endanger the Islamic Arab coalition. In such circumstances the Israelis, and especially the Americans, who are helping build up Egypt economically and politically while Morsi misleads them by the nose, would do well to remember the prophet Jesse, who likened the Pharaoh of Egypt to "a broken reed" and warned that "whereon if a man lean, it will go into his hand, and pierce it."

America has a difficult decision to make: If nuclear Iran is struck a blow by the United States and its allies, extremist Sunni Islamists will exploit the situation for a military buildup and continue to conspire to establish a global, militant Islamic Caliphate. On the other hand, if the threat of a nuclear Iran is not removed, the Persian Gulf interests of the United States and its oil-producing allies will be seriously endangered, and Iran might conceivably bomb Israel to show the rest of the world what it is capable of.

When asked what his foreign policy was, Theodore Roosevelt famously said, "Speak softly but carry a big stick." A number of months ago President Obama was photographed talking to Turkey's Erdogan holding a baseball bat. Now Obama should remove the bat from behind his back and demand from Morsi, the broken reed, achievements on the ground – something no one seriously expects will happen.

Israel, however, has a "Magic Wand," which can intercept medium-range missiles. Since November 29, 2012, when the European Union and the UN created Hamastan, Israel has been gripping its Magic Wand more tightly and prepared additional cudgels should they prove necessary.

In the meantime, in view of the mass slaughter of Syrians, France and Britain threaten Israel, which is planning to build in Jerusalem, while U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton demands Israel show more sensitivity to the Palestinians, and Rahm Emanuel, listening to his master's voice, castigates the Israeli prime minister? As the Arab proverb says, "The sheik's dog thinks he is the sheikh." 

Amin Farouk is a journalist based in the middle east.

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Radical and Moderate Palestinians

by Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinian Authority leadership does not see that the real threat to the two-state solution is Hamas and the unwillingness of many Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist.
When Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas returned from New York to Ramallah and told the Palestinians that he obtained UN recognition of a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines -- namely, the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem -- fewer than 5,000 Palestinians, many of them civil servants who receive their salaries from the Palestinian Authority government, turned out to greet him in Ramallah.

When Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal came last week to the Gaza Strip and told Palestinians that armed struggle and jihad were the only way to liberate all Palestine, "from the river to the sea," and that there was no room for the Zionists in Palestine because the country belonged only to Muslim and Arabs, hundreds of thousands of Palestinians showed up to welcome Mashaal and voice support for his plan to eliminate Israel and replace it with an Islamic state.

Even many Palestinians in the West Bank expressed support for Mashaal, especially when he said that the Palestinians would never "give up one inch of Palestine."

The Palestinian Authority's official TV station in the West Bank broadcast Mashaal's speech live, as well as Hamas celebrations marking the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Islamist movement.

If anything, the widespread support for Hamas's position is a sign of how much the Palestinians have been radicalized over the past few decades.

A Palestinian leader who talks about a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem is less popular than one who talks about "liberating Haifa, Jaffa, Beersheba and Safed."

When Abbas says that a Palestinian state within the pre-1967 lines would lead to a just and comprehensive peace in the Middle East, he is ignoring the fact that a large number of Palestinians think otherwise.

The pro-Hamas rallies in the Gaza Strip, where Palestinians chanted slogans in favor of liberating Palestine "from the river to the sea" and called for more rocket attacks against Israel reflect the authentic voice of the Palestinian "street."

This is not a voice that supports Hamas so much as one that denies Israel a right to exist. The rallies were not about backing Hamas so much as they were intended to express the true and sincere feelings of many Arabs and Muslims who believe that Israel is an alien body that needs to be uprooted or exterminated.

Were Mashaal given the chance to deliver a speech in the West Bank advocating jihad and armed struggle against Israel he would have attracted tens of thousands of people.

The Palestinian Authority is well aware of the growing anti-Israel sentiments among its constituents; that is why its leaders and spokesmen did not dare utter a word against the Hamas leader when he talked about eliminating Israel.

On the contrary, instead of voicing reservations about Mashaal's messages of hate and violence, Palestinian officials in the West Bank hailed his speech as "positive."

Why did they find the speech positive? Simply because Mashaal talked about the need for unity between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah faction.

How can the Palestinian Authority, which claims it remains committed to the two-state solution, join forces with another group that is openly calling on Muslims and Arabs to wage jihad in order to destroy Israel?

As the case has always been with the Palestinian Authority, it is easier to blame Israel and the US for destroying the two-state solution rather than Hamas and other terror organizations.

This view was expressed this week by Saeb Erekat, the chief PLO negotiator, who once again held Israel and the US solely responsible for the current stalemate in the Middle East peace process.

"As regional and global shifts take place, the window of opportunity is not only closing on the two-state solution, but on the U.S.'s central involvement in the peace process," Erekat wrote. "Punishing the Palestinians or anyone expressing support for the Palestinians, for taking peaceful diplomatic steps, is counterproductive and dangerous. The two-state solution is the best result for all concerned. The current Israeli government does not see that. It is hoped that their long-term ally, the U.S., will."

Erekat and the rest of the Palestinian Authority leadership do not see Hamas's ambition of destroying Israel is an obstacle to peace -- nor do they see that the real threat to the two-state solution is Hamas and the unwillingness of many Palestinians to accept Israel's right to exist.

Abbas, Erekat and other relatively moderate Palestinian leaders represent a dwindling minority of Palestinians that still believes in the two-state solution and peace with Israel. As demonstrated by last week's Hamas celebrations, an increased number of Palestinians have still not come to terms with Israel's right to exist.

Khaled Abu Toameh


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After Assad, the real bloodbath

by Shlomo Cesana

Five research fellows from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs provide a synopsis of the competing interests at play as well as an overview of the chaos that has gripped our neighbor to the northeast.

Syrian President Bashar Assad.
|Photo credit: AP

Shlomo Cesana


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Syria: Incubator for al-Qaida's Next Generation

by Dore Gold

Joby Warrick, The Washington Post’s correspondent who specializes in intelligence, wrote a story on Dec. 3 about how the Syrian rebellion was already spilling over and having an impact on neighboring countries. He focused in particular on Jordan. According to interviews he conducted, last month Jordanian security forces arrested 11 men and thus foiled a massive planned terrorist attack in the heart of Amman.

The Amman attack was supposed to begin with suicide bombings at two shopping malls to be followed by strikes against luxury hotels used by Westerners. But the main target in Amman was the U.S. Embassy, which was to be assaulted with mortar shells. Most of the suspects captured were Jordanian Salafists, who fought in Syria, which served as their new training ground. Moreover, the same explosives that were to be used in the Amman attacks were found in Syria as well. 

But the key player orchestrating many operations in Syria, and also now in Jordan, was the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida. It had been incorrectly assumed that al-Qaida had been vanquished in 2007 by General David Petraeus during the surge of U.S. forces in Iraq. Recent events in Syria and Jordan demonstrate that it has been rehabilitating itself.

James Clapper, President Obama's director of U.S. National Intelligence, noted this past February that al-Qaida in Iraq was infiltrating the Syrian uprising and extending its network into Syrian territory. This process was supported by the al-Qaida leadership. For at about the same time, Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of the global al-Qaida network, appeared in a video and urged jihadists in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon to fight the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

The Iraqi branch of al-Qaida was the natural partner to take up Zawahiri's call. During the Iraq War, al-Qaida there used Syria as a rear base for its insurgency operations against the U.S. armed forces. It had a logistical network of safe houses and sympathizers it had built. Bruce Reidel, who specialized on the Middle East and counterterrorism when he served at the CIA, told The Washington Post recently that al-Qaida in Iraq was now rebuilding these old networks "at an alarming rate." He also warned that the new Iraqi branch of al-Qaida was coming back as a "regional movement." What he meant was that its targets would be in neighboring countries and not just in Iraq.

Specialists looking into the Syrian rebellion have pointed out that several of the jihadi groups fighting Assad rely on al-Qaida's Iraqi branch. For example, there are the Abdullah Azzam Brigades (named for Osama bin Laden's mentor), which was originally established in 2005 as a branch of Iraqi al-Qaida. Its current commander, a Saudi named Majid bin Muhammad al-Majid, fought with the former al-Qaida leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. It has been involved in Southern Jordan and in the Sinai Peninsula. It also launched rocket attacks on Israel. It is now also beginning to raise its profile in Syria. 

There is also Jabhat al-Nusra, the most deadly of the Syrian jihadist organizations, which has been joined by operatives from al-Qaida's Iraqi branch. The stature of Jabhat al-Nusra, in particular, has grown lately because of a string of battlefield successes in Aleppo and Damascus. When the U.S. designated the Jabhat al-Nusra as an international terrorist organization, most of the other opposition groups strongly protested, despite its al-Qaida connections.

The involvement of the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida in the Syrian rebellion is important to follow for another reason. Al-Qaida has proven itself to be an organization with a strong interest in chemical weapons. In April 2004, Jordanian security forces foiled a plot by the Iraqi branch of al-Qaida to attack the Jordanian intelligence headquarters and the Office of the Prime Minister in Amman with tons of chemical agents. One captured terrorist confessed on Jordanian television to be part of Zarqawi's al-Qaida network.

Should Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles fall into the hands of jihadi forces, with connections to al-Qaida in Iraq, it is likely that these non-conventional capabilities could spread further. The Zarqawi network operated in Europe and planned in the past to use chemical weapons in an attack on the Paris subway system. Thus given the ideological orientation of the groups currently operating in Syria, what happens in the next few weeks will have broader implications for the rest of the Middle East and even beyond.

Dore Gold


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Second Term Headaches

by Alan W. Dowd

As President Barack Obama prepares for his second term, he is facing a number of lingering problems overseas—problems that, despite his campaign claims, were not solved in his first term. 

Let’s begin where the president achieved his greatest foreign-policy triumph: the strike on Osama bin Laden. If the 2012 campaign narrative was any indication, the president believes the killing of bin Laden marked the beginning of the end, if not the end, of the fight against al Qaeda and its kindred movements. After all, the president has repeatedly said, “the tide of war is receding” and “al Qaeda is on the run.”

Neither assertion is true. Just as the death of Stalin didn’t end the Cold War, the death of bin Laden didn’t end what used to be called the war on terror. That should be abundantly clear from what’s happening in Mali, Libya, Somalia, Yemen and Iraq. Yes, “bin Laden is dead and GM is alive,” as the vice president repeatedly reminded America during the campaign. But “bin Ladenism”—the movement inspired by the author of 9/11—is anything but dead. Don’t take my word for it. “The cancer has metastasized to other parts of the global body,” as Defense Secretary Leon Panetta explains. “If we turn away from these critical regions of the world, we risk undoing the significant gains [we] have made.”

The struggle against jihadism is a generational struggle that will be measured in decades, not election cycles. And clever bumper stickers will not win this war.

One of the go-to tools the president is using to wage this war is America’s fleet of combat drones. To be sure, the president’s celebrated drone war has scored important successes, including taking out al Qaeda’s Abu Yahya al-Libi and Anwar al-Awlaki as well as striking Haqqani and Taliban militants in the field. However, the drone war promises to cause second-term headaches.

First, it’s a tactic masquerading as a strategy, and at some point the Obama White House will have to recognize this. As Mitt Romney observed, in an implicit critiqued of the Obama administration’s overreliance on drone strikes, “We can’t kill our way out of this mess.”

Romney was right about this, but this is not the only drawback to the drone war: it is ethically problematic to rely on robots to wage war; there are constitutional and legal ramifications to an unmanned air force; and the proliferation of combat drones is opening the door to an era of accidental wars.

On top of all that, it exposes the U.S. to significant challenges from overseas. What looks like an essential national-security tool to Americans appears very different to international observers. “In 17 of 20 countries,” a recent Pew survey found, “more than half disapprove of U.S. drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups.” According to Pew, the drone war feeds “a widespread perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries.” Thus, the drone war has reinforced the very image Obama promised to erase.

Moreover, a UN official recently announced plans to create an investigation unit within the Human Rights Council to look at drone-related civilian casualties. The council has warned that “targeted killing is only lawful when the target is a ‘combatant’ or ‘fighter.’” Critics of the drone war would argue that it has not always met that standard. The use of drones to cripple al-Awlaki’s branch of al-Qaeda in Yemen, for instance, killed dozens of people apparently not affiliated with al Qaeda. The Brookings Institution estimates that, along with the militants killed by drone strikes in Pakistan, some 450 nonmilitants may have been killed.

Now, consider the above paragraph in the context of the administration’s drone-related leaks. According to The New York Times, the Obama administration embraced a highly controversial method for determining civilian casualties that “in effect counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants …unless there is explicit intelligence posthumously proving them innocent.” The president is described as being “at the helm” of a “nominations process” for a drone “kill list,” on which he insists on “approving every new name.” In addition, he “signs off on every strike in Yemen and Somalia and also on the more complex and risky strikes in Pakistan,” and often decides “personally whether to go ahead” with a drone strike.

Again, for many Americans, that sounds like a commander-in-chief fulfilling his primary responsibility, albeit a bit more hands-on than we might expect. But international observers could see something far more menacing in these reports. For instance, the Rome Statute, which spawned the International Criminal Court (ICC), considers launching an attack “in the knowledge that such attack will cause incidental loss of life or injury to civilians” to be a war crime and defines “systematic attack directed against any civilian population” as a crime against humanity. The U.S. never signed on to the ICC treaty, which is supposed to mean the U.S. is not subject to the court’s jurisdiction. However, that isn’t stopping the ICC from conducting what The Wall Street Journal calls a “preliminary examination into whether NATO troops, including American soldiers, fighting the Taliban may have to be put in the dock.” It’s not a stretch to think some ICC lawyer will make a similar lunge at those who are waging the drone war.

This is not an argument for international watchdogs tying America down. Washington has every right to target those who are trying to kill Americans. But the brewing international backlash against the drone war reminds us that means and methods matter as much as ends.

The Obama administration was overly mindful of this means-and-ends balancing act during the NATO operation in Libya. It even came up with a clever way of describing America’s new approach to intervening in international hot spots. But as it worked out in practice, “leading from behind” left much to be desired. For instance, when NATO asked Washington to extend air operations at one critical point in the mission, the response emphasized that the extension of U.S. air power, incredibly, “expires on Monday.” As a result of Washington’s lead-from-behind approach, NATO frayed and almost failed, with Britain and France straining to do what the United States once did effortlessly. NATO’s after-action reports indicate that the alliance was lacking in munitions, targeting and jamming capabilities, mid-air refueling planes, reconnaissance platforms, and command-and-control assets—just about everything needed to conduct a 21st-century air war.

To be sure, Qaddafi is gone, but Libya is a mess, as evidenced by the deadly attacks on the U.S. ambassador, the transitional government’s inability to rein in militias and plans in Benghazi to create an autonomous region with a separate parliament, police force and court system.

Speaking of messes, Syria is on fire. The world is waiting on Washington to lead in some direction. Without American leadership, Syria may become this president’s Rwanda. After 21 months of inaction, it’s already his Bosnia. And as Assad un-sheaths his chemical arsenal, it could become the world’s nightmare.

Following Washington’s lead, members of the nation-building coalition in Afghanistan are heading for the exits. If the administration sticks to its campaign pledge to withdraw in 2014 and focus on “nation-building here at home,” Kabul will not be able to hold back a resurgent Taliban.

Iraq offers a grim preview of what awaits Afghanistan. Before the abrupt departure of U.S. forces in December 2011, al Qaeda’s branch in Iraq (AQI) had been decimated. Today, AQI numbers 2,500 fighters, operates training camps in western Iraq and is carrying out 140 attacks per week in Iraq. As an Iraqi counterterror official puts it, “The Iraqi efforts to combat terrorist groups have been negatively affected by the U.S. pullout.” This was avoidable and predictable. Frederick Kagan, one of the architects of the surge, explains that Obama’s own Pentagon and State Department officials wanted to keep 20,000 U.S. troops in Iraq after 2011, as backstop against the very threats that are now emerging. But the White House proposed a force of just 3,000. When Baghdad balked, as Kagan reports, the White House “decided instead to withdraw all U.S. troops from Iraq…despite the fact that no military commander supported the notion that such a course of action could secure U.S. interests.”

The result: Parts of Iraq are safe havens for al Qaeda fighters; Iraq is scarred by renewed sectarian war; Washington has little leverage with Baghdad; and Iran is using Iraq to move assets into Syria.

To his credit, the president built an impressive sanctions coalition to force Iran to give up its nuclear-weapons program. However, that’s only part of the story. The nonpartisan Congressional Research Service concludes that “The principal objective of international sanctions—to compel Iran to verifiably confine its nuclear program to purely peaceful uses—has not been achieved.”

To be successful, sanctions against Iran must be a means to an end—not an end in and of themselves.

Similarly, the president must recognize in the second term that summits are not an end in and of themselves—and that a successful Russia policy has to deliver more than slogans. The payoff of the administration’s “Russia Reset,” after all, has been an emboldened Vladimir Putin, who has withdrawn from the Nunn-Lugar nuclear threat reduction program; unveiled plans to deploy 2,300 new tanks, 600 new warplanes, 400 new ICBMs and 28 new subs; launched the largest nuclear war games since the collapse of the Soviet Union; and blocked international action in Syria.

Finally, in 2009, Obama insisted that “the United States does not seek to contain China.” By 2011, he was unveiling his “Pacific Pivot” aimed at containing China. Although a renewed focus on security in the Asia-Pacific region is needed, one wonders how effective the “Pacific Pivot” will be given the administration’s defense cuts. Recall that the president has trimmed $487 billion from the Pentagon, including cuts in the number of planes, warships and troops, as well as cuts in resources earmarked for F-35s, refueling planes, missile defenses, carriers and submarines. All of these cuts come before sequestration. China, on the other hand, is not cutting anything from its armed forces. Beijing boosted military spending by 11 percent in 2012, capping double-digit increases in nine of the past 10 years. According to the Pentagon’s latest report on China’s military power, Beijing is pouring increasing sums into cruise missiles, anti-ship missiles, counter-space weapons, bombers and submarines—assets focused on countering American power.

The “receding tide of war,” “leading from behind,” “nation-building at home,” the “Russia Reset,” the “Pacific Pivot”—these words may make for compelling rhetoric, but they haven’t secured U.S. interests or promoted international stability.

Alan W. Dowd


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Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority, Who Said “Where Hitler Failed, We Must Succeed”, Wants to Run for President

by Daniel Greenfield

That’s president of the Palestinian Authority, not the United States. Unfortunately that’s a point that has to be clarified these days.

Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi’s presidential plans are a bit debatable because
A. The Palestinian Authority doesn’t really do elections anymore

B. Palestinian Authority leaders come out of Fatah or the IMF. They don’t come from elections. If they did Hamas would be running the Palestinian Authority.

C. The Palestinian Authority isn’t allowing Sheikh Tamimi to run and they probably only let him get this far to warn Israel that there are worse creatures than Abbas or Fayyad out there.

But A through C could be irrelevant because the Middle East has gone Islamist and with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the AKP in Turkey dominating local politics, the time might be right for a takeover of the Palestinian Authority by the Chief Islamic Judge of the Palestinian Authority.

Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi has formed one of those Islamist sounding parties, The Party of Freedom and Independence, which sounds a whole lot like the Muslim Brotherhood’s party in Egypt. And he has what it takes to be popular among Palestinian Arab voters… he really hates Jews.
“The Jews are destined to be persecuted, humiliated, and tortured forever… , and it is a Muslim duty to see to it that they reap their due.  No petty arguments must be allowed to divide us.  Where Hitler failed, we must succeed.”
But Palestinian Arab voters concerned that Sheikh Tayseer Tamimi is a single-issue candidate can be reassured that Tamimi doesn’t just hate Jews. He also really hates America.
“Islam is escalating and cannot be resisted. I pray that Allah may tear apart America just as the Soviet Union was torn apart.”
That should give him something in common to talk about with Barack. Still Palestinian Arab voters need not be too worried that Sheikh Tamimi will be too distracted from his hatred of Jews, by his hatred of America. He’ll likely take on such major issues as Israel’s export of AIDS.

“Israel is trying to hurt the Palestinian Authority and the Palestinian people also by means of exporting AIDS, drug trafficking, promiscuous norms, and making prostitution legal,” warned president of the sharia religious court in the PA, Sheikh Taissir Tamimi.

But speaking of AIDS, the Palestinian Authority’s Chief Islamic Judge has a certain tawdry history that may come up in an election.
Tamimi, 60, was at the center of a scandal that erupted in 2010, when a woman lodged a complaint against him for sexual harassment.
The scandal broke out after former Palestinian intelligence officer Fahmi Shabaneh said that Tamimi had exploited his position to sexually harass a woman who came to his office seeking work.
It’s amazing Sheikh Tamimi combines together the best qualities of Obama and Clinton. Now he’s almost qualified to run on the Democratic Party line for President.

Daniel Greenfield


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Hagel’s Atlantic Council Publishes “Israel Apartheid” Column

by Alana Goodman

Here’s the home page of the Atlantic Council today, which is chaired by Obama’s potential secretary of defense nominee Chuck Hagel (h/t Noah Pollak):

The column, by Atlantic Council member Arnaud de Borchgrave, makes the following argument:
A majority of Israelis recoil in horror at the very thought of emulating the regime of apartheid, a system of institutionalized racial segregation once practiced in South Africa, in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. Yet that is what Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu considers less threatening than full-fledged Palestinian independence.
Apartheid is what gradually emerged in the West Bank under Israeli occupation since Israel’s victory in the Six Day War almost half a century ago. 
In South Africa during the Cold War, apartheid was seen as the only effective defense against world communism. And the African National Congress saw the Soviet Union as its best bet for dismantling apartheid and establishing black majority rule.
Netanyahu and his Likud Party allies now view continued Israeli occupation of the West Bank as the lesser of two evils.
Critics have long used the debunked apartheid analogy as a way to delegitimize and slander Israel. With the buzz growing over Hagel’s potential nomination, it’s surprising that his organization would publish such a blatant attack on Israel on the front page of its website on today of all days.

At the Daily Beast, Eli Lake provides more details on the pro-Israel community’s opposition to Hagel’s possible nomination:
A senior pro-Israel advocate in Washington told The Daily Beast on Thursday, “The pro-Israel community will view the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel in an extremely negative light. His record is unique in its animus towards Israel.”
Josh Block, a former spokesman for AIPAC and the CEO and president of the Israel Project, told The Daily Beast, “While in the Senate, Hagel voted against designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, refused to call on the E.U. to designate Hezbollah a terrorist group, and consistently voted against sanctions on Iran for their illicit pursuit of nuclear weapons capability. It is a matter of fact that his record on these issues puts him well outside the mainstream Democratic and Republican consensus.”
In the past, Hagel has even garnered opposition from pro-Israel Democrats who have defended Obama’s Israel record. Ira Forman, who was in charge of the Obama reelection campaign’s outreach to Jewish voters, said in 2009—after Hagel was named co-chairman of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board—that he would have opposed Hagel’s nomination for a more substantive position. (Forman declined to comment on Hagel’s possible nomination Thursday.) 
According to a Hagel ally quoted in the article, he will likely try to mount a charm offensive with pro-Israel senators. If that’s the plan, publishing articles like the one above probably isn’t the best way to go about it.

Alana Goodman


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Arab Spring — Where to?

by Yoram Ettinger

The following interlinked assumptions are divorced from reality: the rising tide of the Islamist forces on the Arab Street is led by politically pragmatic and moderate Islam; the surging Islamic forces aim to eschew violence, moderate the Arab Street, focus on economic growth rather than the spread of Islam and engage the U.S. strategically; the Arab Street is experiencing an "Arab Spring" whereby democracy-seeking youth, independents and moderate Islamists collaborate in the effort to topple despotic regimes.

In Iraq, in the aftermath of the U.S. withdrawal, and irrespective of the U.S. campaign of democratization, the al-Maliki regime is increasingly dominated by Iran, the fiercest enemy of the U.S. Baghdad has become the most critical channel of Iranian military supply to the Assad regime, and Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is gaining control over Iraq’s domestic affairs. 

In Egypt, contrary to Western delusions, President Morsi is significantly influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood’s supreme guide, Mohammed Badie, and the Brotherhood’s first choice for president, Khairat el-Shater, the former deputy supreme guide. Thus, Morsi’s proposed constitution would transform Egypt into an increasingly Shariah state. It would upgrade the authority of Muslim clerics over civil rights, provide for a Saudi-style “morality police,” impose 7th century punishments for adultery and theft, etc. Muslim Brotherhood thugs incite violence, purposely, to bring the opposition to submission.

In Libya, Western hopes for an Arab Spring have been shattered by the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three State Department officials and by an unprecedented civil war. Following 42 years of Gadhafi's dictatorship, Libyans are afflicted by tribal, ethnic, ideological and religious fragmentation, violence and terrorism. For instance, the Arabs of the town of Misrata slaughtered the black African residents of the neighboring town of Tawargha. The country has become an arena for daily battles among armed militias, terrorists and Islamists. 

In Yemen, al-Qaida suicide bombing has increased since the toppling of the 33 year regime of President Saleh, targeting military and government officials as well as tribal leaders and U.S.-bound airliners. Al-Qaida of the Arabian Peninsula has leveraged Yemen’s intensified tribal warfare, benefiting from Yemen’s inherent instability and weak central government. 

In Bahrain — home to the U.S. 5th Fleet — the 22 month old uprising by Bahrain's 70 percent Shiite majority, seeking to weaken the powers of the kingdom's Sunni monarchy, is supported by Iran. 

In Lebanon — which is severely impacted by Hezbollah terrorism and the Syrian civil war — a former prime minister, a former deputy prime minister, the current deputy speaker of Parliament and the mufti of Tripoli are all out of the country for "security" reasons. 

The same goes for several members of Parliament and a handful of former cabinet ministers. Other prominent politicians are confined to their homes until further notice, also due to concerns for their safety.

In Syria, more than 40,000 fatalities have been recorded in the war between the Iranian, Iraqi and Russian-supported Assad regime and the Saudi Arabia and Qatar-supported ethnic, religious and political opposition. Unprecedented destruction of entire towns and suburbs, aerial bombings of civilians, summary executions and deadly sniper fire have plagued the country since March 2011. 

The growing unrest in Algeria, Jordan and Kuwait, the simmering environment in the Persian Gulf and the actual fragmentation and fragmentation-in-process in Sudan, Iraq, Yemen, Syria and Libya, suggest that more lava is expected to erupt from the seismic Arab Street. 

The dramatic alteration of the Middle East reality — independent of the Palestinian issue and Israel’s policy — requires an equally dramatic reassessment of U.S. Middle East policy.

The dramatic intensification of violence, unpredictability, instability, treachery and unreliability on the Arab Street — which highlight the tenuous nature of Middle East partners and agreements — requires a dramatic reassessment of Israel’s security requirements. 

The exacerbated anti-U.S. sentiment on the Arab Street, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq and the expected cuts in the U.S. defense budget warrant enhancement of the mutually-beneficial U.S.-Israel strategic cooperation.

Yoram Ettinger


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Hamas Stages First West Bank March Since 2007

by News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff

Marchers chant “Hamas — you are the guns; we are the bullets,” and, "fire more rockets on Tel Aviv”• Supporters hold models of the rockets terrorists fired at Israeli cities in last month’s fighting • Fatah leader says "Hamas' victory in Gaza was a victory for all Palestinians."

Palestinian supporters on Thursday hold models of Hamas M75 long range rocket which was fired at Tel Aviv and Jerusalem last month.
Photo credit: AP

News Agencies and Israel Hayom Staff


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