Friday, August 16, 2013

Mordechai Kedar: The Curse of Sinai

by Mordechai Kedar

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

 The Sinai Peninsula is a huge area, approximately 61,000 square kilometers, which is almost three times the area of the State of Israel, and its population is approximately 550,000, less than one tenth of the population of Israel. The residents of Sinai, despite  being Egyptian citizens for the most part, are not of Egyptian origin: their Arabic dialect is Saudi Arabian, their culture is different from Egyptian culture and they identify with the state of Egypt about as much as the Bedouins in the Negev identify with the state of Israel. Why is this so? The reason is that the Bedouin will never identify with a state, since the state symbolizes order and the rule of law, whereas the desert is spontaneous and the law that rules within it is the law of the tribes. Only when the Bedouin is part of the governmental system and enjoys its benefits does he identify with the state, for example in Jordan, and even there it is not always guaranteed.

The Sinai Peninsula was never an integral part of Egypt; it was annexed only in the beginning of the twentieth century, when Britain - which ruled Egypt at the time - wanted to keep some distance between the Ottoman Empire and the Suez Canal. The Egyptian state never tried to impose Egyptian law and order upon Sinai and this is easy to prove: There are few roads in Sinai and between those roads are great expanses that are inaccessible to the branches of government: police, health services, educational services and infrastructure. Even the Egyptian army viewed Sinai only as a training area and an arena for battle with Israel, and in general, it can be said that Sinai has always been an unwanted burden to Egypt, a step-son who was not expected to amount to much.

After Israel conquered Sinai in the Six Day War (in June of 1967) the Sinai Bedouins came to an agreement with the IDF: if Israel would allow the Bedouins to have autonomy and live life as they pleased, they would not object to Israeli rule over the area. Israel ignored the poppy plantations that were cultivated in Sinai, which supplied a significant part of world opium consumption, and the Bedouins ignored the Israeli tourists on the Red Sea beaches who did not behave according to the acceptable rules of Bedouin modesty. The many tourist villages that were in Taba, in in Nawiba, in di-Zahab and in Ofira (Sharm e-Sheikh) at that time, provided a good livelihood to the Bedouins. The proximity of IDF bases also brought economic benefit to the Bedouins . The good relations between the Bedouins and Israel was based on the fact that Israel had no intentions of trying to turn the Bedouins into Israelis culturally, and that Israel let them live their lives according to the principles and laws that they have lived by from time immemorial.

An important detail to note is that the border between Israel and Egypt was a line on the map, not a physical fence or wall, and this enabled the Sinai Bedouins, together with their family members who lived in the Negev, to support themselves by smuggling goods, drugs, women and illegal immigrants seeking work into Israel. The Israeli authorities knew about this smuggling industry, but for years did very little in order to stop it, because it served the economic interest of both sides and because of the desire to maintain good relations with the Sinai Bedouins, who brought intelligence information to Israel and not just goods.

When Israel withdrew from Sinai in 1982, sovereignty over the peninsula was restored to Egypt but the Egyptian state did not return to the open areas or to the high mountains of the Sinai Peninsula. The Egyptian government limited itself to the scattered cities that were located on the shores: on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea - Rafiah, el-Arish, Sheikh Zayed, on the coast of the Red Sea - Taba, Dahab, Nawab, Sharm-e-Sheikh, and the coast of the Suez Bay -- e-Tur, Ras Sudar, Abu Rudis, Port Fuad. In an attempt to deal with the problem of unemployment in Egypt, beginning in the days of Mubarak, the Egyptian government urged many youths to go to Sinai in order to work in the oil industry, the quarries and the tourism industry. The Egyptian government initiated agricultural projects in Sinai that depended on water brought from the Nile, and the entry of thousands of Egyptians into Sinai was perceived by the Bedouins as an attempt to overwhelm them, push them out of the area and deprive them of their livelihood. This is how the tension between the state of Egypt and the Bedouin population began in Sinai after the Israeli withdrawal from the Sinai peninsula.

The tension between the Egyptian government and the Bedouins increased after the signing of the Oslo Accords (1993), when international funds began flowing into the Gaza Strip. These funds were translated into a demand for goods, mainly from Israel, but from Egypt as well, because of the low prices there. The Bedouins who were residents of north Sinai saw themselves as the natural intermediary between Gaza and Egypt, while the Egyptian officials and police and the mukhabarat wanted to profit from the brokerage, trade and transport. The tension increased when the trade with Gaza began to include weapons that the organizations who objected to the PLO , mainly Hamas and Islamic Jihad, wanted to import into the Strip, because they were imported from Sinai, not from Israel. Even while Israel still governed the Strip, the tunnel industry had begun to blossom, and smuggling into the Strip turned into a very important source of income for the Bedouins of north Sinai.

Ever since the Hamas movement took over the Gaza Strip in June 2007, it has become the Bedouins' senior partner in the smuggling business, because a great part of the Hamas movement's and the Hamas government's income comes from taxes that are imposed on tunnel excavators, their operators and the goods that are smuggled through them. In parallel, tens of jihad organization operatives who oppose Hamas and are persecuted by the Hamas government, fled the Gaza Strip and found refuge in Sinai among the Bedouins of the el-Arish - Sheikh Zabed area. This way, they remained close to their area of operations, but in a secure place. The Hamas government sent intelligence people to north Sinai, both to investigate their activities, and to organize the smuggling from the Egyptian side, and it was done under the open eyes of the Egyptian security people - eyes that were covered with dollars.

In parallel, the Hamas movement tried to turn Sinai into a secondary base from which to attack Israel, and because it was sovereign Egyptian territory, Israel was unable to respond. Each time Israel intensified their search for terrorists who shoot missiles into Israel from the Gaza Strip, the Hamas movement has tried to move the battle to Sinai by attacking buses and Israeli military patrols or launched missiles toward Israeli cities, to the detriment of Egyptian sovereignty, of course. And now, post-Mursi Egypt accuses Hamas of responsibility for the terrorist chaos in Sinai, and not without good cause.

In parallel, jihadists from other battlegrounds that had become too dangerous for them, especially Iraq and Afghanistan, began arriving in Sinai, during the previous decade, and have found refuge in Sinai, among the Bedouins. The jihadists brought with them the expertise that they had accumulated in the use of weapons, arming vehicles, producing bombs and preparing car bombs. In January and February 2010, the jihadist population of Sinai received significant reinforcements when hundreds of activists of radical Islamist organizations escaped from the prisons in Egypt that were broken into by the masses that flowed into the streets against the Mubarak government. For the Egyptians, this was the "Arab Spring"; for the jihadists it was the freedom to do whatever they pleased, both against Egypt and against Israel.

In order to receive donations, weapons and ammunition, the Sinai jihadists had to carry out terror attacks and form organizations. In October 2004, the Hilton Hotel of Taba and the vacationers at the Ras-el-Shaitan beach were attacked. In April 2006, terrorists carried out three terror attacks in the city of Dahab, where 27 people were killed and approximately 100 were injured. In April of 2010, two katyushas were launched from Sinai toward the port of Eilat, and one of them fell in the area of Aqaba, which is in Jordan. It seems that the attack in Aqaba was intentional. In August 2011, a unit of terrorists infiltrated from Sinai into Israel from north of the Ain Netafim checkpost on the Rafiah-Eilat road, and 8 Israelis were killed. In April 2012 a grad rocket was fired at Eilat and fell next to a residential area. In August 2012, when a terror attack was carried out on Egyptian soldiers who were stationed next to the intersection of the Israeli, Egyptian and Gaza borders, 16 of them were killed and an Egyptian personnel carrier that was hijacked by the terrorists penetrated into Israel and was destroyed. It is important to note that the terrorists who carried out the action were wearing explosives belts.

During recent years, different organizations have blown up a gas pipe that brought energy from Egypt to Israel and Jordan. They were Bedouins, but it could very well be that the jihadists assisted them.

The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood to the presidency in Egypt at the end of June 2012 was the best news for the jihad fighters of Sinai, since they knew very well that this government would not act against them with determination because of the close ideological relations between the Brotherhood and the jihadists: both sides believe in the supremacy of Islam over all the other religions, both believe in the religious obligation of jihad, both see Israel as an illegitimate entity and both are in favor of implementing Shari'a on all circles of life in the lands of Islam. And indeed, Mursi reined in the military's reactions against the jihadists in Sinai, and after they killed 16 soldiers in August 2012, Mursi even dismissed the military heads. The army waited for the right moment to get rid of Mursi and the jihadists that had jointly taken over in Sinai, and the opportunity came during the mass demonstrations that broke out in Egypt on the 30th of June, this year, 2013.

These days the army is busy clearing  Mursi's supporters out of the town squares of Cairo and Alexandria where they demonstrated during a month and a half, with many wounded. The jihadists of Sinai support the Muslim Brotherhood and their demand to return Mursi to the presidency. The army is convinced that there is a connection between the Brotherhood leadership and the organizations in Sinai, and the Brotherhood expects that the jihad organizations in Sinai will attack the army to ease the pressure on the demonstrators in the public squares. Therefore, there is a fair chance that these organizations will take revenge on the army for breaking up the demonstrations and for those who were killed among the Brotherhood. The revenge might come in the form of attacks on military and police targets in Sinai, or in the form of an attack on army camps and military vehicles inside of  Egypt. Sometime around mid-July, 2013 the army claimed that a truck loaded with Grad missiles on its way to the area of Cairo was apprehended at the checkpoints between Ismailia and Cairo. If the claim is true, then we may expect the jihadist's missiles will fly not only in the direction of Eilat but also in the direction of Cairo and Alexandria.

The jihadists of Sinai are not waiting for the Egyptian army with roses in their hands. They are preparing for a battle in which to achieve a victory will cost many losses. They are entrenched in the mountain crevices, in places where a tank is like a sitting duck. Fighting forces would need to arrive on foot while fighting their way up the slope of the mountain, or by helicopters that could be shot down relatively easily by firing from the ground. There are rumors that Israel is also involved in the events in Sinai, in intelligence and also operationally, and the activities that Israel has done and perhaps also will do, are coordinated with the Egyptian army.

The Two Main Jihad Organizations that Operate in Sinai:

"Majlis Shura al-Mujahadeen fi aknaf beit al-maqdas" - the "Advisory Council of the jihad Fighters in the Jerusalem Area": an organization whose basis is in Gaza with many operatives in Sinai, took responsibility for launching the Grad on Eilat one week ago (the beginning of August. 2013), and is responsible for a number of attacks on police stations in north Sinai. This organization has a Palestinian agenda with a touch of Egyptian, and it operates under the ideological inspiration of global jihad.

"Jamat al-tuhid waljihad" - "the Unity and Jihad Group": this group is part of the larger group - "jamat al-tuhid wal-jihad fi 'Arab Afriqiya" - "the Unity and Jihad Group in West Africa". An organization whose opinions and methods of operation are aligned with those of al-Qaeda.

Another group that has been mentioned in recent days is "Dar'a Sinai" - "The Shield of Sinai". Its involvement in terror attacks is not clear.


Dr. Kedar is available for lectures

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 with permission from the author.

Additional articles by Dr. Kedar

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 author.

Mubarak's Muslim Brotherhood Prophecy

by Raymond Ibrahim

Violence must always be presented as a product of political oppression, and Islamists as the misunderstood victims.

In a video of Hosni Mubarak when he was still Egypt's president, the strategies of which he accuses the Muslim Brotherhood have come to pass. What follows are Mubarak's words from a conference in Egypt (date unknown; author's translation):
So they [Brotherhood and affiliates] took advantage of the economic situation by handing out money -- to one man, 100 Egyptian pounds, or about $30 dollars, [saying,] "Here take this bag of glycerin and throw it here," or do this or that — to create a state of instability in Egypt. And these groups — do not ever believe that they want democracy or anything like that. They are exploiting democracy to eliminate democracy. And if they ever do govern, it will be an ugly dictatorship. …. Once a foreigner told me, "Well, if that's the case, why don't you let them form parties?" I told him, "They'd attack each other." He said, "So let them attack each other." I came to understand that by "attack each other" he thought I meant through dialogue. For years, we have been trying to dialogue with them, and we still are. If the dialogue is limited to words, fine. But when the dialogue goes from words to bullets and bombs… [Mubarak shakes his head, and then provides anecdotes of the Egyptian police and security detail being killed by Brotherhood and affiliates. These anecdotes include one about how 104 policemen were killed in 1981, and one about how one officer was shot by MB while trying to save a boy's life.] The point is, we do not like bloodshed, neither our soldiers' nor our officers'. But when I see that you are firing at me, trying to kill me—well, I have to defend myself. Then the international news agencies go to these [Islamist] groups for information, and they tell them, "They are killing us, they are killing us!" Well, don't you [news agencies] see them killing the police?! I swear to you, not one of the police wants to kill them—not one of us. Then they say, "So, Mr. President, you gave orders to the police to open fire indiscriminately?"—I cannot give such an order, at all. It contradicts the law. I could at one point be judged [for it].
Consider Mubarak's exchange with "a foreigner," who interpreted Mubarak's "they'd attack each other" in apparently Western political terms of "dialogue." The habit of projecting Western approaches onto Islamists—who ironically represent the antithesis of the West—is one of the chief problems causing the West to be blind to reality, one which insists that violence must always be presented as a product of political oppression, and Islamists as the misunderstood victims.

Whatever one thinks of Hosni Mubarak, the following three points he makes have proven true:
  1. Mubarak: "And these groups—don't ever believe that they want democracy or anything like that. They are exploiting democracy to eliminate democracy. And if they ever do govern, it will be an ugly dictatorship." Quite so. While paying lip service to democracy, once the Brotherhood came into power under former President Muhammad Morsi, they became openly tyrannical: Morsi gave himself unprecedented powers for an Egyptian president, appointed Brotherhood members to all important governmental posts, "Brotherhoodizing" Egypt (as Egyptians called it), and quickly pushed through a Sharia-heavy constitution. Under Morsi's one year of rule, many more Christians were attacked, arrested, and imprisoned for "blasphemy" than under Mubarak's thirty years.
  2. Mubarak: "Then the international news agencies go to these groups [Brotherhood] for information, and they tell them, 'they are killing us, they are killing us!' Well, don't you [new agencies] see them killing the police?!" Now that the Brotherhood has been ousted and is promoting terrorism in Egypt—especially against its Christian minority—trying to push the nation into an all-out civil war, they are in fact feeding the international media the old lie that they are innocent, peaceful victims in an attempt to garner Western sympathy.
  3. Mubarak: "They took advantage of the economic situation by handing out money." Funded by rich Wahhabi states, the Islamist organizations bought their way into Egyptian society and power. Prior to elections, they paid—bribed—Egyptians to vote for them; and after their ousting, they are paying people—along with beatings and forms of coercion—to stay with them in Rad'a al-Adawiya Square, and provide them with numbers, seemingly for practical and propagandistic purposes.
In Egypt, however, where the Muslim Brotherhood was born, one soon learns that, when "dialogue" does not go the way Islamists want it to, it's back to terrorism. This requires a more realistic approach, or, in the words of Mubarak, a man who, like his predecessors, especially Gamal Abdel Nasser, is intimately acquainted with the Brotherhood: "When I see that you are firing at me, trying to kill me—well, I have to defend myself."

Raymond Ibrahim is author of Crucified Again: Exposing Islam's New War in Christians (published by Regnery in cooperation with Gatestone Institute, April 2013). He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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

The Obama Administration’s Iran Delusions

by Majid Rafizadeh


While the Senate has recently urged the Obama administration to pass a new round of sanctions on the Islamic State of Iran as a result of Iran’s nuclear defiance and human rights abuses, the Obama administration is insisting on using dialogue, Track II diplomacy, and negotiations with Iran’s recently inaugurated president, Hassan Rouhani.  President Barack Obama and his advisors argue that Hassan Rouhani is a “moderate,” and as such, dialogue can now yield fruitful results. This move by the Obama administration is intriguing and it raises questions of whether the Islamist state of Iran is politically shrewd and Machiavellian enough to fool the United States or whether the Obama’s administration is suffering from political and ideological delusions about Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has masterfully bought itself three decades of time since the revolution in 1979. These tactics have been utilized not only to pursue its nuclear enrichment program but also to maintain its grip on power, threaten the existence if Israel, assist global terror groups, including Hizballah and Hamas, execute political prisoners and human rights activists, and repress its population with backward, medieval-style, Islamic rule, and Muhammad-style of 1400 years ago.

Ideologically, the Islamic Republic of Iran has been using the Islamic strategy of taqyyia (where it is acceptable to lie and commit illegal acts) and it has also applied the Machiavellian tactic of exploiting these “civilized dialogues,” negotiations, US Track II diplomacy, in order to buy the time that it needs to get the nuclear bomb and nuclear arsenal. Recently the Senate wrote a letter to President Obama that stated that the time for diplomacy is over and that “Iran has used negotiations in the past to stall for time.” The letter continued: “Mr. President, we urge you to bring a renewed sense of urgency to the process. We need to understand quickly whether Tehran is at last ready to negotiate seriously. Iran needs to understand that the time for diplomacy is nearing its end.”  In addition, the overwhelming majority of the members of the House of Representatives voted (400 to 20) in favor of ratcheting up pressure on the Islamic state of Iran and its Ayatollahs. These sanctions are intended to target Tehran’s most significant source of income and most important economic lifeline — oil.

Nevertheless, the President and his advisors (some of Middle Eastern origin) have so far refrained from passing the bill, which has been endorsed by the overwhelming majority of the Senate and House of Representatives. This is the first bill that can potentially bring the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Ayatollah to the negotiating table. Iran has been capable of diverting all previous, internationally-endorsed sanctions through its sale of oil and the soaring prices of crude oil in the last few decades.

The Obama administration points out that Hassan Rouhani, Iran’s new president is a “moderate” who might be capable of making a breakthrough in the nuclear talks. Any person, who studies Iran’s political structure closely, would be cognizant of the fact that there is no such thing as a “moderate” in Iran’s cleric system. Rouhani’s recent statements and political activities are evidence of this claim. Hassan Rouhani was one of the closest companions of Khomeini, the founder of this theocratic regime. Hassan Rouhani has repeatedly stated in his books that Israel has no right to be a country and state. Hassan Rouhani has been the Supreme Leader’s main advisor in Iran’s Supreme National Security Council where almost every policy that passes through it gets approved. While Iran has been enriching its nuclear program for the past years, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator has been Hassan Rouhani. He even stated in one of his campaign interviews that he actually “completed the nuclear program.” He clearly said that he made the West and international community buy his argument that Tehran has halted its nuclear program for two years, while Iran continued spinning its centrifuges.  Rouhani climbed the political ladder with the help of the Supreme Leader who has publicly announced his hostility and antagonism towards not only the governments of Israel and the United States but also towards the Israeli and American people. In a sermon during Friday prayers in Tehran, Khamenei stated that “it is incorrect, irrational, pointless and nonsense to say that we are friends of Israeli people.”

It goes without saying that Hassan Rouhani is a regime insider. Everything about his political ideology, writings, political career speaks loudly for itself — that he is not a “reformist” or “moderate.” Upon analysis of Iran’s political structure since the Islamic revolution, it is not a stretch to argue there has been no such thing as “moderate” president in Iranian politics. All presidents have expressed antagonism towards Israel, repressed their own people (particularly minority Christians and Bahai’s) and continued Tehran’s nuclear program. It is fascinating to observe that US president Barack Obama and his advisors are hoping and waiting until Iran’s new president makes a “breakthrough” in nuclear talks. Iran is clearly buying time.

It is an intriguing dilemma to ponder whether the Iranian clerics are so masterful in deceiving the Obama administration, or whether the Obama’s administration is delusional about Iran — considering the perseverance of Tehran’s defiance, as well as the overwhelming support for increased sanctions on Tehran coming from both US houses.

Majid Rafizadeh


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

Sudan & Obama’s Legacy of Death

by Faith J. H. McDonnell


Mohamed Suleiman, an America citizen since 1992, is a Zaghawa from the village of Um barrow in the North Darfur region of Sudan. Um barrow, like so many other places in Darfur, was burned down and destroyed by the Sudanese government-backed Janjaweed, an Arab-Islamist militia. A refugee camp near Um barrow became the home to as many as 13,000 people displaced by the Janjaweed and the Sudan Armed Forces. This is just one of many refugee camps, housing millions of displaced Darfurians. Many members of Suleiman’s family have been killed in the Darfur genocide, and his mother and siblings still live in Darfur.

Recently, Suleiman sent an open letter to President Barack Obama. The letter launched an August campaign by Act for Sudan, a coalition of individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum working to stop the genocide and mass atrocities against Sudan’s marginalized and persecuted populations by the government of ICC-indicted war criminal, Omar al Bashir. Conservatives and counter-jihadists, as we know, continually condemn and warn of Obama’s penchant for supporting Islamists and not true freedom-loving resistance movements. But some members of Act for Sudan have willingly put aside their own political preferences in this public call out to President Obama for letting down the Sudanese people, demonstrating that they care more about stopping genocide than they care about their political preferences.

The Act for Sudan Obama’s Stained Legacy campaign reminds President Obama of the promises he made about Sudan, quoting his own words back at him. “While campaigning for the presidency,” says Act for Sudan, “Mr. Obama said that genocide is ‘a stain on our souls’ and promised that ‘as a president of the United States I don’t intend to abandon people or turn a blind eye to slaughter.’” Act for Sudan expresses disappointment with Obama’s failure to follow through on those promises, his failure to act on ongoing multiple genocides perpetrated by Sudan’s jihadists against the black, African Sudanese in Darfur, the Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile regions. Today, “more than four years into his presidency, President Obama continues to oversee a disastrous approach to the ongoing genocide in Sudan,” says Act for Sudan. “This approach has failed to prevent the tragic loss of countless lives and the mass displacement and starvation of countless more innocent people. Unless President Obama ACTS NOW to protect innocent civilians from their genocidal government, he will ultimately be remembered for his stained legacy on genocide,” Act for Sudan warns.

Suleiman’s letter will lead the way in the campaign for a series of letters from Sudanese representing the regions of Sudan that are – and have been for many years – under attack by the Islamist regime in Khartoum. The attacks are part of a repeatedly-declared genocidal jihad that first targeted1 South Sudan and the Nuba Mountains/Blue Nile regions, resulting in the death of some 2.5 million people. The purpose of the jihad is, and always has been, to establish an Arab Islamic hegemony by eradicating both the Sudanese Christians and the indigenous black, African Muslims.

In his letter to Obama, Suleiman writes of the great anticipation that Obama’s words once created in the suffering, beleaguered Darfuri:
When you were a senator and a candidate for president, you spoke often and strongly about America’s responsibility to end genocide in Darfur. Upon your first election in 2008, as the president of the United States of America, many Darfuris named their newly born boys after you – Obama. Darfur people, in their tradition, name their children after the dearest people in their lives or a person that made a significant change in their lives for the better. They were very optimistic that you were the one who would stop the first genocide in the new millennium, the genocide in Darfur.
Then Suleiman describes the current feeling of abandonment and betrayal of the Darfurians:
Today, in the summer of 2013, millions of Darfuris live, or are more accurately simply existing, in wartime conditions you really cannot imagine. They feel abandoned by you and America. One expressed the desperation of the men, women and children there saying, “We have no choice other than to fight to the death.”
Now, in the second term and fifth year of your presidency, the elders, grandparents, and mothers, in the nights of Darfur, pass on the horrible stories of the genocide to the younger generations. They pass on the fact that the world chose to accept and tolerate those who have committed the crime of genocide. They tell how an American president who pledged to end the Darfur genocide instead stood by when President al-Bashir effectively ended humanitarian aid in Darfur, when civilians were killed by government forces and militias, and when the government re-initiated ethnic cleansing in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile. They cannot understand that you, a two-term president, may leave office with a legacy of failing to stop the Darfur genocide and failing to bring any of the responsible criminals to justice.
Obama’s failure to make good on the promises he made while campaigning for the presidency – and was condemning President George W. Bush for “reckless and cynical” negotiating with Khartoum – has deeply disappointed his supporters who also care about Sudan. The President’s lack of action on Sudan became more and more unfathomable to many as the “Arab Spring” took place. Sudan activists observed the Obama Administration taking action, when it came to Egypt and Libya, and not taking action as a literal slaughter took place in the Nuba Mountains and Blue Nile State. Not only not taking action, but censuring the civilians’ only defenders – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/North.

While the Obama Administration ensured the downfall of Mubarak and Gadhafi, Sudanese in America warned that the United States was helping to replace “tyrants with terrorists” to “make those countries more like Sudan.” Although some American Sudan activists focus only on the egregious human rights violations perpetrated by Khartoum, the Sudanese connects the dots. Sudan’s Islamist regime, Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, and the Libyan jihadists are one in the same.

The Obama Administration seems to believe that, at least for its staunch supporters, impassioned speeches about Sudan and the creation of South Sudan (for which all the groundwork was laid during the Bush Administration) is enough to ensure a shining legacy for President Obama. But, writes Suleiman:
If you do not adopt and promptly implement, together with U.S. allies, a revised comprehensive and coordinated policy toward Sudan, your legacy will forever be tied to failing to stop the genocide in Darfur.
Twenty years from the day you leave office, any time new mass graves are uncovered in a remote village in Darfur, your legacy will turn, in the books of history, into a legacy of death.
Fifty years from now, it will be incomprehensible to those who will learn the history of genocides that you sat as an American president for two terms, and allowed al-Bashir, the mastermind and executioner of the Darfur genocide, the first sitting head of state indicted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, to continue to commit these terrible crimes. History will remember that you failed to stop the killing, displacement, rapes and other destructive consequences called genocide by the U.S. Congress and by you.
For many people, Obama’s legacy is already a legacy of death – whether from economic policies that are dividing and bankrupting the nation; violations of conscience and religious freedom; ever-increasing restrictions on free speech; continuing erosion of the military; foreign policies that have resulted in Benghazi and Morsi, and opened the hell-gates a little wider en route to the establishment of a global caliphate; or the actual intention behind all of those policies – the fundamental transformation of America. To those people, if they consider it at all, Obama’s failure to keep his promises on Sudan is part of the same pattern. To those who believed in Obama, it may be a game-changer. But to many of the people of Darfur, Nuba Mountains, and Blue Nile State, it is a death sentence.

Faith J. H. McDonnell


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

Muslim Brotherhood Burns Churches, Scapegoats Christians Following Crackdown

by John Rossomando

Egypt's Coptic Christian minority has become a favorite target for Muslim Brotherhood supporters and other radical Islamists across the country in the wake of the military's decision to clear supporters of ousted President Mohamed Morsi from their Cairo sit-ins this morning.

No sooner did security forces, backed by armored cars and bulldozers, clear encampments in the city's Nadha and Raba'a al Adiwiya squares did the Islamists turn to targeting Christian churches. Approximately 1,000 Muslim Brotherhood supporters set fire to the Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary in Menya.

Angry mobs also targeted churches, monasteries and other church properties in Alexandria, Suez and a number of other cities in Upper Egypt, according to Egypt's Al-Ahram.

Muslim Brotherhood members also firebombed Mar Geergiss Church, the main Coptic church in the southern Egyptian city of Sohag, burning it to the ground. Islamists had previously raised an al-Qaida flag over the church. St. Theresa Church in Assiut in Upper Egypt was also burned.

"It is a climate of violence," he added, "and the people are scared," Father Rafic Greiche, a Catholic Church spokesman in Egypt, told Vatican Radio.

Sixteen Coptic churches had been torched by pro-Morsi mobs, including several ancient ones, the Egyptian blogger "Big Pharoah" wrote in a Twitter post.

Brotherhood supporters blame the Copts for toppling former Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi because Coptic Pope Tawadros II backed the military's July 3 move to oust him.

Coptic priests and laymen have been killed, churches have been burned or scrawled with anti-Christian graffiti by Islamic militants across Egypt in the past month.

"These guys have been blowing places up and killing people in Sinai. They've been attacking churches all over Egypt – putting al-Qaida flags and Morsi's pictures on churches, so there is no question that the Brotherhood are the new terrorists," Michael Meunier, president of Egypt's Al-Haya Party and a Coptic Christian, said regarding the violent Islamist attacks against Christians since Morsi's fall.

Just last week, a 10-year-old Coptic girl was shot dead by Islamic militants on her way home from Bible school. Muslim extremists tossed firebombs through the windows of four Christian homes and a local church last Sunday to stop a Christian neighbor from building a speed bump in front of her home. The clash left 15 people wounded.

But if you ask some Muslim Brotherhood leaders about Christian-Muslim relations, things have never been better.

Muslim Brotherhood politician Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, who served in Egypt's dissolved parliament as a member of the Freedom and Justice Party, denied during a press conference last Friday held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., that the Muslim Brotherhood was anti-Christian.

Dardery was asked about the torture and violence that had been visited on the Copts by Brotherhood supporters during Morsi's year in power, but Dardery deflected the question.

"[W]e've had the best relationship for the past 1,400 years," he said. "Compare the relationship in Egypt between Muslims and Christians and many other countries in the world, you will find Egyptian model is one of the best models on the face of the earth."

The Muslim Brotherhood's year in power brought a litany of abuses against the Copts by the Brotherhood and its allies. Examples include its torturing opponents; deterring Copts from voting in last December's constitutional referendum; tolerating the assault on Coptic Christianity's holiest cathedral by Islamic militants in April; and quashing an investigation into the October 2011 Maspero massacre that left 30 Copts dead and 500 wounded.

Egypt's military moved on Islamist protesters Wednesday and dozens of people died in the fighting. It's a tragedy for all involved. But the Islamists' reaction – to attack a Christian minority that might comprise 10 percent of the country's population – is an outrage that exposes the depravity of their thinking. Scapegoating, conspiracy theories and attacks on innocent bystanders. They all show the hollowness of Dardery's platitudes and what the Brotherhood really believes about Egypt's Coptic Christians.

John Rossomando


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China Buys Academia

by Samuel Westrop

Why is an "ethics consulting" not-for-profit organization with millions in unused assets teaching Chinese intelligence operatives about British security practices? Given the recent growth of Chinese influence within Western universities, it should probably not be a surprise that a number of Western academics are party to the scandal.
Organizers of a conference for members of the Chinese intelligence services due to be held at Cambridge University in September have barred attending academics from asking questions about China's human rights record.

The Sunday Times has reported that Anthony Glees, a British counter-terrorism academic, turned down an invitation to speak at the seminar for officials from China's Ministry of Public Security after the seminar's organizers barred him from commenting on Chinese government repression and cyber-espionage.

The University of Cambridge. (Image credit: Llee Wu)

In the United States, in June 2013, Chen Guangcheng, a leading Chinese activist, claimed he was forced to leave New York University because the faculty was worried that his outspoken criticism of the Chinese government might "threaten academic cooperation," presumably with its plans to establish a branch in Shanghai, as it has already done in Dubai.

In August, Chen Guangcheng said that the university asked him not to travel to Washington to meet members of Congress. Further, upon his return to New York after the trip, two university officials accompanying him refused to allow a reporter from Radio Free Asia to interview him at Washington DC's Union Station.

The matter of foreign regimes working to exploit Western universities is nothing new. Several years ago, during the uprising in Libya against Gaddafi's regime, Howard Davies, director of the London School of Economics, resigned from the university's governing council after the university accepted a £1.5 million donation from Gaddafi's Libya while Gaddafi's son was studying at the university.

Hundreds of millions of pounds from undemocratic Arab and Islamist regimes have, in fact, poured into British universities during the past few decades. It is estimated that since 1995, about £250 million of Islamist and Arab regime funds have enriched a number of leading British universities, including Oxford and Cambridge.

In 2011, for instance, the Independent reported that the Syrian ambassador to London arranged a donation to St Andrews University of £100,000 from a company believed to be closely associated with Assad's regime. Further, the University of Durham received more than £700,000 in research grants from Middle East sources, including £11,000 from the Iranian regime.

However, while funding of British universities by despotic Middle Eastern countries caused a small sensation in the British media, the growing financial influence of China – the world's largest dictatorship and one of the most repressive -- within Western academia has remained largely unchallenged.

In 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao addressed the 17th Communist Party congress and proclaimed that China must "enhance culture as part of the soft power of our country." The expansion of this 'soft power' over the past decade has led to the creation of a dozen "Confucius Institutes" on British university campuses, and several hundred others across the West. The Institutes are funded by the "Office of Chinese Language Council International," known by the name Hanban, a quasi-autonomous, theoretically non-governmental Chinese organization -- but "affiliated with the Ministry of Eduction -- ostensibly to teach the Chinese language and culture. Hanban, which pre-approves all teaching materials, states that it aims to establish 1,000 Confucius Institutes by 2020. So far, it has spent at least $500 million setting up these Institutes.

Although Hanban claims its offer of funding is "unconditional," the money comes, not surprisingly, with strings attached: in 2011, the Chinese regime offered Stanford University $4 million to host a Confucius Institute on Chinese language and culture and also to endow a professorship -- on the condition that the professor would agree not to discuss "delicate" issues such as Tibet.

According also to June Teufel Dreyer, a lecturer at the University of Miami, accepting funds comes with conditions: "There is a whole list of proscribed topics. You're told not to discuss the Dalai Lama -- or to invite the Dalai Lama to campus. Tibet, Taiwan, China's military build-up, factional fights inside the Chinese leadership -- these are all off limits."

In April 2013, McMaster University in Canada announced it would close its Confucius Institute after the Institute announced that its instructors must have no connections to organizations considered by the Chinese government to be problematic – that is, civil and human rights groups.

The increasing level of Chinese "soft power," has its cheerleaders in the West. Tim Wright, a board member of the Confucius Institute at Britain's University of Sheffield, has said that, "Someone who wished to undermine China might not be welcome at the institute, but then the British Council didn't exactly put on talks about the IRA."

As for the seminar planned next month for Chinese security officials, the hosting organization is the Centre for Business and Public Sector Ethics, a group run by a number of British academics. According to its own accounts, the Centre receives funding directly from the Chinese government.

The Centre's director, Rosamund Thomas, promised delegates a "briefing on the current British information security system" as well as the "practice, tactics, techniques and strategies of counterterrorism in the UK."

Thomas, along with another trustee of the Centre, also runs an "ethics multimedia" business, which offers "consultancy services on ethics and human rights; and an "Ethics International Press" company, which publishes books on "ethical behaviour" in business. Both of these companies claim to be "associated" with the Centre for Business and Public Sector Ethics. Despite production of a just a few books and no apparent evidence of strong demand for the companies' consultancy services, the companies hold assets of several million pounds and have turnovers of just a few thousand pounds each year.

According to the Sunday Times, one of those attending the seminar is Fan Ke, a member of the ministry's Third Research Institute, which shares a base in Shanghai with Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army -- the Unit that has been identified as the base for China's cyber-attacks against the West.

Sir Malcolm Rifkind, who chairs the UK's intelligence and security committee, said, "In the case of China, their security apparatus and their intelligence agencies… [are] used for suppressing political dissent. … I'm certainly disappointed that this academic group doesn't feel able to allow issues involving human rights to be raised."

The Centre for Business and Public Sector Ethics has, in fact, been hosting Chinese government and intelligence officials at the University of Cambridge since 2002. In 2012, the Centre brought over a Chinese "media delegation", which included representatives of the Shanghai Information Office, described by Chinese bloggers as the Chinese Communist Party's "propaganda arm."

Why is an "ethics consulting" not-for-profit group with millions in unused assets teaching Chinese intelligence operatives about British security practices? Given the recent growth of Chinese influence within Western universities, however, it should probably not be a surprise that a number of Western academics are party to the scandal.

Samuel Westrop


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Inside Egypt’s Terrorist Camps: Torture, Rape, Mass Murder

by Raymond Ibrahim

A poster of deposed Egyptian President Mursi is seen on a barrier made by members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Musi supporters to protect the sit-in area of Rab'a al- Adawiya Square, where they are camping 

Now that the Egyptian military has finally begun to neutralize Muslim Brotherhood terrorist bases, the so-called mainstream media are doing what they do best—twist reality to the Islamists’ benefit by casting them as innocent victims merely “holding vigil” only to be slaughtered, while calling for the prosecution of the military for “human rights abuses.”  They essentially follow the pro-Brotherhood Al Jazeera’s lead of portraying these bases in Rab‘a al-Adawiya and elsewhere as peaceful “sit ins.”

What the mainstream media have failed to report is that for over two months in these “sit ins”—or more appropriately, mini-emirates in Egypt—many Egyptians have been tortured, mutilated, raped, and mass murdered in the name of Islam and/or Brotherhood rule.  (Of course, this is unsurprising considering how the media also failed to report on the nonstop and heinous attacks on the nation’s Christian minority and its churches, all validated by Brotherhood leadership.)

The anecdotes are many.  For instance, one man accused of stealing was tortured and had his finger chopped off (in accordance to Sharia).  He appears in this video—his face beaten to a bloody pulp—describing his ordeal.  Like so many in Rab‘a, he was there not as a Brotherhood supporter, but because he worked in the area.  Accused of stealing, he insisted he was innocent.  When his accusers refused to relent, he said, “Fine, if I’m a thief, hand me over to police,” but they said, “No, we will hand you over to Allah.” He was taken to a room and tortured for fourteen hours, including by being sprayed with water and repeatedly electrocuted and stabbed and sliced with a switchblade (in minute 3:47 he exposes his mutilated chest).   Then, his “pious” tormentors supplicated their god by saying, “In the name of Allah,” before hacking his finger off.

Women are also easy prey in the Brotherhood camp.  According to a recent report, women are being abused for refusing to have sex with Brotherhood supporters.  One woman was reportedly tortured to death and another critically injured and hospitalized.  An Egyptian organization concerned with female rights said it “will expose in the coming days the extent of the violations and crimes against humanity which our sisters have been exposed to by the orders of the General Guide [Muhammad Badie] to coerce women to engage in sex-jihad, with torture to death for those who refuse.”

Here is another live interview with an Egyptian reporter who was kidnapped in Rab‘a, beaten, and told she must stay “because we need women for sex.”  The logic behind the sex-jihad (or in Arabic jihad al-nikah) is that women are permitted to copulate with single, male Brotherhood protesters to help alleviate their sexual frustrations so they can focus on empowering Islam—which among the Brotherhood is synonymous with empowering the Brotherhood—without becoming too restless and possibly abandoning the jihad.

Then there are the corpses that are being found.  According to journalist Ahmed Musa on Tahrir TV channel, one of the arrested terrorists confessed that Brotherhood leadership murdered more than 80 people who were either suspected of being police informants or were trying to escape the Brotherhood camps. The Brotherhood then buried the bodies in a mass grave inside Rab‘a.  According to the arrested terrorist, the Brotherhood fears that, “if their camps are broken up, their crimes against humanity will be exposed and that the Ministry of Interior will take pictures of this mass grave and broadcast them to the world.”

Aside from these atrocities and accusations of atrocities, reports of general beatings surface every day.  The majority revolve around people working or living in Rab‘a, who are pressured to join the pro-Morsi protests, only to be beaten savagely if they refuse.

Despite the many serious human rights abuses that took place under Brotherhood auspices, the only Western media ever to allude to any of this was an AP report that, after explaining how bound, dead bodies were found near Rab‘a and how many in Egypt insist it’s the work of the Brotherhood, immediately went into default mode by suggesting these could all be false allegations and, if dead bodies are being found, perhaps it’s the work of the military trying to frame the Brotherhood—exactly what the Brotherhood has been caught doing, killing their own supporters to frame the military.

Brotherhood exploitation of the media to garner sympathy is an old phenomenon.  Years back, former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, discussing how Islamists often turn to violence when “dialogue” doesn’t go their way, said:
But when I see that you are firing at me, trying to kill me—well, I have to defend myself.  Then the international news agencies go to these [Islamist] groups for information, and they tell them, “They are killing us, they are killing us!”  Well, don’t you [news agencies] see them killing the police?!  I swear to you, not one of the police wants to kill them—not one of us.
And now, as the Egyptian military disperses the Brotherhood’s terrorist camps, right on cue, the Western press is doing what it does best—skewing reality to the benefit of the Brotherhood.

Still, there is one positive side to all this.  Because so many Muslim Brotherhood members and their Islamist allies had congregated in Rab‘a and elsewhere, turning them into mini Islamist states where Brotherhood rule is enforced—torturing, chopping fingers off, sexually abusing women, and murdering dissenters—we have gotten a glimpse of exactly what sort of state they wish to see Egypt become.

But just as it took several months before even Fox News told of the Muslim Brotherhood torture chambers—despite the fact that any number of Egyptian media had for months been disseminating pictures and videos of those tortured—no doubt it will take a while before news of the Brotherhood torture camps is ever disseminated in the West.

Raymond Ibrahim


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Barry Rubin: How Western Intellectual Values Have Gone Haywire

by Barry Rubin

“First make sure you’re right, then go ahead.” –Davy Crockett, 1836
For almost two months I  have been talking and traveling through America trying to understand the country. Soon I will begin a dozen-part series called “Lost” about the  reminder of the Obama term in the term in the Middle East and how friendly countries and national interests can survive.
Meanwhile , though, it is adding insult to injury for defenders of the U.S. policy to claim that I or someone else would have more credibility if I didn’t write for a “right-wing site.” This is an extraordinarily important way that the debate is being narrowed and dummied up.
First, of course, I would never make a parallel argument. What matters is whether the claims have credibility. Does it make sense? Is it internally consistent? Does it correspond with otherwise known information? This is the path of logic, of the Enlightenment. Reputation of the author might be a useful factor, too.
An argument from al-Qaida can be quite correct regardless of where it comes from. Thus, this approach is part of the de-rationality of Western thought today. It is a weapon: disregard everything that comes from a source that disagrees with you on other issues.
Incidentally, while some have told me that my language is too intemperate at times in criticizing Obama, I note that they have not been any more successful in changing views or even–whenever they speak out clearly–getting their ideas (as opposed to technical expertise) to the public.
Second, if I wanted to write about the so-called demographic threat (which I can prove in five minutes is nonsense) or write that Israel must make peace right away I can publish it in the NY Times.
So first they bar certain arguments from the mass media and then they say that if you persist in making certain arguments this proves bias because of the few remaining and smaller places you are allowed to appear. In other words, first you bar people and arguments; then you say that the fact that they are barred proves that they—not you—is the biased one.
Let me tell you a story. In 1991 Senator Charles Percy, a man who was then highly regarded and considered himself something of an expert on the Middle East, said he didn’t understand why the Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein didn’t withdraw from Kuwait. After all, said Percy, wouldn’t some intelligence chief or general tell him that he was going to be defeated?
This was abject ignorance. If someone had done so—told Saddam he was wrong—the man would be lucky if he were only fired, and still pretty lucky if he wasn’t thrown into prison, tortured, and had his family punished or executed.
The supposed advantage of democracy is that the media, academia, and others speak—where did I hear this before?—truth to power. If you know you are not just going to be ignored, not just that you are going to be punished, but that nobody is going to hear you that is a disincentive to doing so.
But this goes far beyond liberal or conservative, it sabotages the whole advantage of democracy. You can’t be an anti-fascist or anti-Communist in the 1930s until the elite officially accepts that? Maybe it would have been better to voice these concerns and have them heeded before December 7, 1941 or before September 11, 2001. Maybe it would have been better to have done something about it before tens of thousands of lives had been snuffed out internationally, blighted domestically, resources wasted, and society set back by decades.
Is this really the best we can do in 2013?
Personally I am a social democrat/liberal/centrist/conservative, reading from left to right. What works works; what is true is true; what is wrong is wrong. Forgetting that rather basic fact has been very bad for the West. It’s called honest pragmatism.

Barry Rubin


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Why Does the Muslim Brotherhood Attack Churches?

by Jonathan S. Tobin

The world is focusing much of its sympathy today on the members of the Muslim Brotherhood that were gunned down in the streets of Cairo by armed police and soldiers seeking to end the Islamist attempt to put Mohamed Morsi back into power. The violence is regrettable and the casualties are widely interpreted as evidence of the brutality of the military regime that toppled Morsi and his Brotherhood regime last month. But the notion that the Brotherhood is the innocent victim of a nasty junta seeking to bring back Mubarak-era authoritarianism is only half right. Though the military government is an unsavory partner for the United States, no one should be under any illusions about the Brotherhood or why the majority of Egyptians (who went to the streets in their millions to support a coup) probably approve of the military’s actions.

Proof of the true nature of the Brotherhood was available for those who read accounts in the last weeks of life at their Cairo encampments that were policed by Islamist thugs with clubs and other weapons. Brotherhood gunmen fought the police in pitched battles. Non-violent civil disobedience isn’t in the Brotherhood playbook. Even more damning was the Brotherhood response elsewhere in Egypt. As the International Business Times reports:
Supporters of ousted Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi have attacked churches in Dilga, Menya and Sohag after government security forces backed by armored cars and bulldozers stormed protest camps outside Cairo’s Rabaa al-Adawiya mosque.
The Churches of Abraham and the Virgin Mary in Menya were burning after Morsi supporters set fire to the outside of the building exteriors and smashed through doors. … Muslim Brotherhood members also threw firebombs at Mar Gergiss church in Sohag, a city with a large community of Coptic Christians who represents up to 10 percent of Egypt’s 84 million people, causing it to burn down, the official MENA news agency said. Protesters threw Molotov cocktails at the Bon Pasteur Catholic Church and Monastery in Suez, setting it ablaze and breaking windows.
Why is the Brotherhood attacking churches as part of its argument with the military government?

The first reason is because the Christian minority, unlike the military, is vulnerable. Throughout the long year when Egypt suffered under Morsi’s Islamist rule, Christians and their churches were increasingly subject to attacks as the Muslim movement sought to make the position of the religious minority untenable. As the Brotherhood seeks to demonstrate that it is still a viable force in the country’s streets even after its Cairo strongholds are uprooted, expect more attacks on Christians to remind Egyptians that the Islamists are still a force to be reckoned with.

Second, the attacks on churches are not just a regrettable sideshow in what may be soon seen as a civil war as the Islamists seek to regain power after losing in the wake of the massive street protests that encouraged the army to launch the coup that ended Morsi’s rule. Rather, such attacks are an inextricable part of their worldview as they seek to transform Egypt in their own Islamist image. In the Muslim Brotherhood’s Egypt, there is no room for Christians or even secular Muslims. That is why so many in Egypt applauded the coup as perhaps the last chance to save the country from permanent Islamist rule.

The church attacks should remind the West that the stakes in the conflict in Egypt are high. If the U.S. seeks to cripple the military, they won’t be helping the cause of democracy. The Brotherhood may have used a seemingly democratic process to take power in 2012, but they would never have peacefully relinquished it or allowed their opponents to stop them from imposing their will on every aspect of Egyptian society. As difficult as it may be for some high-minded Americans to understand, in this case it is the military and not the protesters in Cairo who are seeking to stop tyranny. Though the military is an unattractive ally, anyone seeking to cut off vital U.S. aid to Egypt should remember that the only alternative to it is the party that is currently burning churches.
Jonathan S. Tobin


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