Friday, February 7, 2014

Mordechai Kedar: American Policy in Afghanistan - Connecting the Dots

By Mordechai Kedar

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

Read the article en Español (translated by Shula Hamilton)

What are the ten greatest mistakes that the United States made in Afghanistan?

The book evoked many reactions when it was published, some of which were positive and some negative, with the disagreement being less about the facts than their interpretation. The authors won wide recognition, negative or positive, according to the reader’s point of view.

This week, Stephen Walt published an important article in the journal “Foreign Policy” in which he describes the ten greatest mistakes that the United States has made in Afghanistan, against the background of President Obama’s decision to withdraw from this country at the end o f 2014. Walt states in the beginning of the article that the war did not end well, and that the United States will not defeat the Taliban; instead, the Taliban will establish an al-Qaeda terror state in Afghanistan.

The U.S. tries to win the battle alone

Relations between the United States and Afghani president Hamid Karzai are deteriorating: not only does Karzai not agree to leaving American forces in his country, lately he has begun to say that the United States is responsible for the death of his citizens. This is very distressing for many Americans, considering what the United States has invested in Afghanistan, in its soldiers’ blood and billions of dollars. Walt enumerates ten reasons for the American failure.

The first is that the United States entered into the battle alone. After the attacks of September 11, 2001 NATO members offered the United States to join in a war on the Taliban and al-Qaeda, but Minister of Defense Donald Rumsfeld politely rejected the suggestion, thinking that the United States could cope with the problem alone. Only after the war in Iraq broke out in March 2003 did Rumsfeld agree to additional forces joining in Afghanistan, but by then it was too late, since the Taliban had already begun to return to their former strength.

Karzai’s administration was not capable of ruling the state effectively

The second reason is bin Laden’s escape to the mountains of Tora Bora, and the American failure to eliminate him during the first phase of the war. If bin Laden had been eliminated in the first phase it would have been easier for the Americans to eliminate al-Qaeda. In my opinion Walt errs in this statement, because the elimination of bin Laden at any point in time would not have destroyed the al-Qaeda idea of global jihad. The third reason is the Afghani constitution of 2004, which grants the president broad authorities and does not take into account the wishes of the population, who are interested in autonomy on a local basis. Karzai’s administration was not capable of ruling the state effectively and therefore it became corrupt. The economy did not develop and the state became dependent on foreign donations.

Walt errs severely on this point: the United States should have brought about the division of Afghanistan into separate states, a separate state for each one of the ethnic groups, similar to what occurred in the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, and not just grant them local autonomy.

Forces and Intelligence resources were diverted to Iraq
The fourth reason that Walt identifies for the American failure is the invasion of Iraq, which diverted forces and intelligence operations from Afghanistan to Iraq. In my opinion it is difficult to take this reason seriously, because the joint force of the United States and NATO could certainly have coped with two fronts simultaneously.

The fifth reason is the fact that Obama did not increase the forces enough in order to eliminate the Taliban in 2009, and the forces that he did add were not sufficient to cope with the support that the Taliban received from Pakistani territory. On this point, I agree with Walt.

The sixth reason is the fact that President Obama set a date for the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The message that he sent to the Taliban is that its fighters had only to be patient and survive until the stated date in order to take over the country after the United States left. Walt is correct in this point as well. One who shows his cards is always at a disadvantage. The seventh reason Walt states is that the United States did not act decisively enough to promote the peace process and reconciliation in Afghanistan while encouraging the more moderate stream of Taliban and additional segments of the population. Walt is totally wrong on this point, because he assumes that a moderate segment will be able to dictate policy to a violent group. This is impossible, because in any conflict between a moderate and a violent agent, the violent one will win.

Eventually, support for the war decreased among the American public
The eighth reason is the failure of both Bush and Obama to convince the American public of the necessity of war in Afghanistan after the initial support at the end of 2001, following the attacks of September 11. The more time that passed, the more the president lost support of the public, who did not see the purpose for the war. Obama tried to justify the continuation of the war citing the danger that the al-Qaeda organization might become established in Afghanistan, but in 2009 al-Qaeda already had alternatives in Pakistan and in Iraq. At that point, the American public did not believe that the goal could be achieved and therefore it reduced its support for the war.

The ninth reason is the fact that the government that the United States had established in Afghanistan was weak, and the regime was dependent on American support in order not to collapse. Walt’s mistake is that by its very nature, a regime in a country as complex as Afghanistan cannot be strong, because the population is split and divided into many groups that do not see the regime as legitimate.
The tenth reason is internal contradictions and inconsistencies in American policy toward Afghanistan over the years.

The basic mistake was leaving Afghanistan as a unified state instead of dividing it into separate states based on ethnicity

Walt sees the dots but does not connect them: the primary, basic mistake that Walt neglects to note was leaving Afghanistan as a unified state instead of dividing it into separate states based on ethnicity, and all of the mistakes that he does note are a necessary result of this basic mistake.

Walt demonstrates erudition concerning the actions of the United States, but from his article it is clear that he has only a partial understanding of Afghanistan’s true problems, and in this he is apparently no different from many decision makers in Washington, who, like him, see the dots, but do not always manage to connect them.


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 SallyZahav 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.

Jews in (Arab) Palestine?

by Daniel Pipes

A brouhaha erupted recently in Israel over a completely theoretical question: could Israelis now living in the West Bank be allowed to live under Palestinian rule? This debate usefully focused attention on one of the trickiest and deepest issues of the Arab-Israeli conflict, and so it bears pondering.

Naftali Bennett (l) and Binyamin Netanyahu, allies who sometimes strongly disagree.

Israel's Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu started things off on Jan. 24: "I do not intend to remove a single [Jewish] settlement [on the West Bank]. I do not intend to displace a single Israeli." Glossing this statement, an unnamed official in the prime minister's office (PMO) explained that, "Just as Israel has an Arab minority, the prime minister doesn't see why Palestine can't have a Jewish minority. The Jews living on their side should have a choice whether they want to stay or not." That aide characterized this as Netanyahu's "long-standing" position.

Some in the nationalist camp became enraged. Habayit Hayehudi chairman Naftali Bennett, a minister in the current government, blasted the prime minister for reflecting "an irrationality of values" and "ethical insanity." In his view, Zionists "did not return to the land of Israel after two thousand years of longing to live under the government of Mahmoud Abbas. Whoever advocates for the idea of Jewish life in Israel under Palestinian rule is undermining our ability to sit in Tel Aviv."

Others agreed: "We will not abandon settlers behind enemy lines," said Deputy Defense Minister Danny Danon. Such ideas "contravene the Zionist ethos" observed Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin. "Ludicrous" was the choice adjective of Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Ofir Akunis.

Migron, a West Bank outpost that the Israeli government helped fund and then evacuated.

When another unidentified PMO official suggested that members of the government can leave the government if they disagree with the prime minister, Bennett ratcheted up, recalling murders of Jews by Palestinians and concluding that "The essence of Zionism is sovereignty. If there is no sovereignty there is no Zionism."

The PMO then retorted with a demand that Bennett apologize or resign, to which he replied that "if the prime minister was offended, this was not my intention" while claiming the right to "criticize him when the situation calls for it. This is my duty." The incident ended with the surfacing of old interviews showing that Netanyahu and Bennett's party had each previously articulated the other's view, leaving things a complete muddle.

What to make of this week-long debate? Who's right, who's wrong? Although I usually support Bennett et al.'s approach, Netanyahu is right this time, for many reasons.

The disgrace, trauma, and futility of then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon's removal of 8,000 Israelis from Gaza in 2005 – a move unprecedented for any democracy – points to the imperative for Israel's government to establish the inviolable principle that it never again will remove its nationals from territory. The Gaza experience also established how exponentially more disastrous it would be to repeat this process with the West Bank's 40 times' larger population of Israelis. That Netanyahu strongly objected to Sharon's decision (and left his government in protest against it) highlights his honorable consistency here.

Second, why should the government of Israel fulfill the Palestinians' wish for a Judenrein West Bank?

Third, permitting Jews to live under the Palestinian Authority is eminently practical. The Israeli flag cannot follow each Jew and make him an island of Zionist sovereignty. Plenty of Jews around the world and even some in the Middle East live outside of Israel's borders. Why not in the West Bank?

Jews in Hebron currently need a great deal of security. Here, a soldier guarding a Purim parade in 2012.

Fourth, the PMO statement cleverly shreds the campaign of delegitimization against Jews residing in the West Bank. If Jews can live on the West Bank under Palestinian rule, they no longer can be portrayed as obstructing a resolution of the Arab-Israeli conflict, thereby defanging the whole "settlement" issue.

Finally, this Netanyahu's position changes the terms of debate. It permits Jerusalem to argue that true resolution of the conflict requires Israelis being able to reside peaceably in a Palestinian state. The conflict will only truly end, I have contended for over a decade, "when the Jews living in Hebron need as little security as the Arabs living in Nazareth." Such a prospect, of course, is very remote; but accepting the principle of Jews living in "Palestine" allows Zionists to accept the two-state solution in the abstract while justifiably delaying its implementation for generations, maybe forever.

Bennett and his supporters should calm down and appreciate Netanyahu's diplomatic master stroke.

Mr. Pipes ( is president of the Middle East Forum. 

Copyright - © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. All rights reserved.

Muslim Brotherhood in the Oval Office

by Lee DeCovnick

The Muslim Brotherhood, founded by virulent anti-Semites, subsidized by Adolf Hitler, and its stated goal for the MB in America includes the following:

The Ikhwan [the MB] must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions.

The MB has even been thoughtful enough to list some it's North American front groups: (scroll down the PDF for the English translation)

The MB ultimately would like to eliminate all the Christians, all the Jews, and all the Buddhists, all the Hindus; every single infidel on the planet, while establishing a Global Caliphate run by, of course, the Muslim Brotherhood.

What a swell bunch of folks.

Say, did you read the Washington Free Beacon bylined by Adam Kredo? I guess the entire MSM somehow missed this news item.

Anas Altikriti, a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood, is closest to the camera, on the left side of the photo.
A senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood was recently hosted at the White House for a meeting with President Barack Obama, prompting an outcry from critics of the global Islamist organization.
Anas Altikriti, a top British lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood whose father heads Iraq's Muslim Brotherhood party, recently met with the president and Vice President Joe Biden as part of a delegation discussing problems in Iraq.
Altikriti, whose work has also been tied to Hamas, can be seen smiling in photos published by the White House as he stands next to Iraqi Parliament Speaker Usama al-Nujaifi, who is pictured shaking hands with President Obama in the White House's Roosevelt Room. The meeting was first highlighted by the blog Harry's Place.
Altikriti's presence in the White House was surprising to many who said the U.K. organization he heads, the Cordoba Foundation, has been singled out by British Prime Minister David Cameron as the "political front for the Muslim Brotherhood."
Paul Stott, an U.K. academic and expert in British jihadism at the University of East Anglia, said Altikriti's presence in the meetings represents "part of the long term U.S.-U.K. engagement with the Muslim Brotherhood, a strategy which hit choppy waters when it became clear people in Egypt were far from ready to let the [Muslim Brotherhood] run the country the way they wanted."
"The coup could have put paid to this glad handing, but it is clearly continuing," Stott said.
Altikriti has been called the "key political lobbyist for the Muslim Brotherhood in Britain." His Cordoba Foundation has been criticized for working "closely with other British extremist groups which seek the creation of an Islamic dictatorship, or caliphate, in Europe," according to the British Telegraph newspaper.
Altikriti formerly served as a spokesman for the British Muslim Initiative (BMI), a group that has been singled out for close links to Hamas. BMI's founder and president Mohammed Sawalha has served as a senior military operative for Hamas.

So, a senior member of the MB is invited to the Oval Office, and is photographed with the President. We can only wonder how many such meetings have taken place already, and how many more will occur in the next three years while Obama remains in office?

As Glenn Reynolds often quips, this nation is in the best of hands.

Lee DeCovnick


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

Friends of Israel must Speak up Now

by Isi Leibler

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry no longer pretends to be evenhanded in overseeing the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

His most recent move was to indirectly threaten Israel with boycotts if it refuses to accede to additional demands on issues of borders and security. Despite the fact that he represents our closest ally, Kerry is demanding compromises from us that could impact on our very survival. Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon rightly responded that a European boycott is preferable to rocket attacks on Ben-Gurion International Airport.

Kerry has put no comparable pressure on the Palestinians. He has not insisted that they deviate from positions that he knows are unacceptable to any Israeli government. He has failed even to publicly condemn their ongoing incitement. By selectively pointing the gun at Israel's head, Kerry has reinforced the belief that the Palestinians can only benefit by remaining intransigent.

Although Kerry is aware that Congress and the American public would vigorously oppose any initiative that threatens Israel with sanctions, this has not prevented him from encouraging European countries, including Germany, to do so. Kerry is capitalizing on European anti-Israelism, which is proliferating at an alarming rate, as demonstrated by a recent opinion poll indicating that nearly half the citizens of the EU believe that Israel is engaged in a genocidal campaign against the Palestinians. Incredibly, in a recent communique about International Holocaust Remembrance Day, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton could not even bring herself to mention the Jews.

Israel's political leaders are contributing to this situation. President Shimon Peres told the Americans that the Palestinians need not concede to Israel's central demand for recognition as a Jewish state -- one of the government's crucial demands which the Obama administration had already taken on board. Such behavior by a president does not merely represent a major breach of his constitutional limitations but under the circumstances can only be considered unconscionable.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Minister Naftali Bennett provided a bonanza for global anti-Israel entities seeking to portray Israel as the obstacle to peace by publicly bickering over whether Israelis could live under Palestinian jurisdiction -- a currently utterly unrealistic scenario.

Ministers Yair Lapid and Tzipi Livni have both made histrionic remarks about the potential economic impact of a European boycott should the peace talks fail, providing grist for the mills of the global boycott, divestment and sanctions movement's propaganda.

A group of leading Israeli businessmen, purporting to promote a nonpartisan two-state policy together with Palestinian counterparts via a body called "Breaking the Impasse," also engaged in actions to weaken Israel's negotiating position. While attending the Davos World Economic Forum, they distributed a petition calling for one-sided demands on Netanyahu to be flexible and accommodating to the Palestinians and warning of devastating repercussions to the Israeli economy if peace negotiations fail. Like the panic-stricken politicians, these businesspeople are chanting empty mantras about the value of peace that cynically imply government warmongering and contribute nothing to the real challenge of negotiating a peace accord: how to come to an understanding with duplicitous partners who rule over a criminal society and are committed to the elimination of Jewish sovereignty.

Critics are entitled to differ with Netanyahu's negotiating position. But what do they mean by "flexibility?" Does flexibility mean that Israel should agree to freeze all construction in the major settlement blocs, including Jerusalem until an (unlikely) settlement is reached? Does flexibility mean we should accept the right of return of 6 million descendants of Arab refugees as a basis for negotiations? 

How should we interpret the Palestinians' vicious incitement, sanctification of released murderers, and over recent weeks, the ghoulish depiction on Palestinian state TV of the released murderers' detailed accounts of their monstrous acts? Is this what is expected of a genuine peace partner? 

Do the prime minister's critics want Israel to be flexible in terms of security knowing that Hamas, which has resumed missile launches against us, could either merge with or assume control of the PA?

Would the businessmen who pressure Netanyahu to be more accommodating encourage him to entrust the security of our children and grandchildren to Kerry's electronic fences or NATO forces rather than the Israel Defense Forces?

Thankfully, the prime minister is fully aware of the risks that such flexibility represents. He therefore directs his negotiations toward the creation of a Palestinian state that provides for Israel's security. He is juggling in this mad hatter's game, seeking interim progress and working to retain American support and to demonstrate to a hostile world our absolute commitment to peace -- all while resisting the enormous pressure to capitulate on long-term security issues.

The results will not bring us closer to peace. Netanyahu's government is poised to accept the forthcoming, nonbinding U.S. framework agreement with sufficient reservations to make it meaningless but enabling Kerry to demonstrate a "successful diplomatic coup." The Palestinians are likely to follow suit. Both parties are likely to continue negotiations in the hope that they will be the ultimate winners in the blame game. 

Our ability to cope with failed peace efforts, however, should not preclude us from presenting our positions with strength, unity and dignity during these negotiations. As Ya'alon has aptly stated, "I am not ready to talk about [ceding] an inch of territory unless the PA accepts recognition of our right to exist as a nation-state of the Jewish people, giving up the right of return, and addressing our security needs. … I hope we achieve this; if not, we will manage." 

Netanyahu must refrain from making independent statements that do not have cabinet approval, curtail the counterproductive flow of ministers' inflammatory remarks, and insist that ministers support or remain silent on established positions. Discipline is essential. 

The prime minister must also remain committed to working against anti-Israel forces seeking to delegitimize and demonize us by distorting our policies and objectives. To achieve this will require the more intensive support of friends of Israel throughout the world, especially in America, which Netanyahu has yet to fully capitalize. 

American Jewish leaders will have to review their approach. Over the years, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the American Jewish Committee, the Anti-Defamation League, the Zionist Organization of America and other committed Jewish bodies have displayed consistent devotion, loyalty and support for Israel. But today they face a dilemma. Their hitherto fully justified determination to maintain bipartisanship becomes counterproductive if it precludes them from standing up and confronting an administration that is clearly bullying Israel and not acting evenhandedly toward its only democratic ally in the region.

They can do so in a respectful manner. But when a U.S. secretary of state indirectly encourages Europeans and others to pressure Israel with sanctions unless it makes further concessions, friends of Israel must protest publicly or this could develop into a tsunami and we will be abandoned. Not surprisingly, the traditionally outspoken ZOA immediately protested. But it was significant that ADL head Abe Foxman, hardly a hawk, sent Kerry an open letter bitterly criticizing his remarks, which he charged would be construed as "an incentive by Palestinians not to reach an agreement" and "as legitimizing boycott activity."

Israel's supporters around the world should today unite and speak out. The government and Diaspora leaders should initiate a Day of Global Solidarity with Israel in which Israelis, Americans, and Israel supporters worldwide gather in Jerusalem to express their support for Israel's commitment to peace, and condemn those seeking to force Israel to compromise on its basic security needs. We must demonstrate that a genuine peace can only be attained when both sides are committed to peace and treated fairly.

Isi Leibler's website can be viewed at He can be contacted at


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Confronting the Boycotters

by Shoula Romano Horing

On Saturday, February 1st, at the Munich Security Conference, U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, once again shamefully and irresponsibly tried to incite fear among Israelis of potential anti-Israeli boycotts if the ongoing "peace" talks with the Palestinians fail. This was the second time in four months that Kerry warned Israel about "talk of boycotts" and "campaign of delegitimization" if the status quo between the Israelis and the Palestinians is maintained. 

Instead of being the trumpet and the megaphone for such warnings, Kerry should be expected to lead the campaign against bigoted, misinformed and anti-Semitic boycotters of Israeli universities and companies in the U.S. and Europe by issuing his own warnings that the U.S. government will not tolerate such boycotts against an ally and a friend. In turn, Israelis should reject such fearmongering. The Israeli government should not turn the other cheek to those threatening her with a boycott by agreeing to the suicidal demands of Kerry and the Europeans to establish another Gaza in the West Bank. 

Israel and its supporters should call on the U.S. Congress to intervene and legislate against these anti-Israel boycotters, as they did in the 1970's against the Arab boycott, by stopping taxpayer subsidization of the boycott advocates, instructing the IRS to revoke the tax-exempt status of these academic institutions and levying taxes, civil penalties and fines against European and American companies who participate. 

Giving in to the organized, well-financed and misinformed campaign by the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement, the American Studies Association announced a boycott of Israeli academic institutions which followed boycotts announced by the Association for Asian American Studies and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. 

While economic boycotts of Israel by U.S. companies is minimal, the main threat comes from Europe, where several European corporations, churches, and pension funds have already cut or have threatened to cut their economic relations with Israeli banks and other institutions as a result of the ten-year BDS campaign. The movement is led by Palestinian leadership and 80 NGOs, financed by the European Union and European government funds and grants which were meant to be used as humanitarian aid and not for political warfare. The real goal of BDS is to defame and destroy Israel as a Jewish state, regardless of its borders, through false allegations of human rights violations, apartheid, and war crimes. Given the reality that Israel is the only democracy in the Middle East, and has the freest press, an independent judiciary, as well as religious and racial diversity within its universities -- including affirmative action for Arab students -- such boycotts smell of anti-Semitism. 

While the European Union is boycotting Israeli academic and research institutions in Jerusalem and the West Bank, they never consider boycotting brutally oppressive regimes in the Middle East and the world. They are not boycotting China where freedom of speech and press are nonexistent, or Saudi Arabia where women cannot vote or show their face and Jews and Christians cannot practice their religions, or Egypt where Coptic Christians have been openly persecuted. The American academic boycotters never consider boycotting universities in Syria where the Syria government has slaughtered its citizens with chemical weapons, or universities in Iran where political, religious and sexual dissidents are hanged and no academic freedom exists. These academic and economic boycotts have nothing to do with protecting human rights but with scapegoating the Jewish people once again. Singling out Israel, the world's only Jewish state, for condemnation and isolation is to engage in discrimination against Jews, which is also called anti-Semitism. Instead of cowering down in front of bullies and trying to appease them, the Israeli government and its supporters must follow those who choose to stand up instead and reject hypocrisy, bigotry, and moral double standards.

On January 29th, Scarlett Johansson ended her relationship with the humanitarian group Oxfam International over their support of BDS and their criticism of her endorsement of Sodastream, an Israeli company that operates a factory in the Maale Adumim settlement in the West Bank. Oxfam lost hundreds of thousands of dollars as a result. 

Sodastream's distributor in France sued a group called France Palestine Solidarite which associates with BDS for their campaign. A French court ruled on January 29th that the French pro-boycott group must compensate Sodastream for denigrating its products and issued a cease and desist order from advertising that the Israeli company's products are sold illegally when they are labeled "made in Israel". 

The previous day, the New York Senate passed by a vote of 51-4 a bill to end taxpayer funding to private or public state colleges and universities that support boycotting Israel. This is the first time a legislative body passed such a bill targeting the American Studies Association boycotters. Moreover, 92 universities in the U.S. have released statements rejecting the academic boycotts of Israel. Several universities have cut their institutional ties including Brandies and Indiana. The same day a group of 134 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter criticizing ASA. The next step is for Congress to instruct the IRS to revoke the tax exempt status of the members of such associations. 

If the hypocritical and bigoted Europeans, Palestinians, and other Arabs, as well as their academic and corporate supporters, want to single out the Jewish state, let us take the fight to them and hurt them financially through private lawsuits and legislation. Let Israel finds new economic markets in prosperous Asia where they are appreciated and quickly leave the Europeans to sink economically under their own self-righteousness.

Shoula Romano Horing is an attorney. Her blog


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An Exercise in Indoctrination

by IPT News

A University of California, Berkeley professor is requiring 100 students to create Twitter accounts and post comments about "Islamophobia," anti-Islamist Muslim activist Tarek Fatah reports.

In his Toronto Sun column Wednesday, Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress, describes the "panicked message" he received from a Berkeley student taking a class taught by Hatem Bazian. Bazian directs the school's Islamophobia Research and Documentation Project.

Though the Twitter posts are a part of the student's grade, he wrote that it felt unethical because "he's basically using us as unpaid labor to work on his agenda."

Most of the students are not Muslims, Fatah writes.

The class has Islamophobia in its title, Bazian wrote in response to questions from Fatah. It "is designated as an American culture community engagement scholarship class … Students are asked to send at least one posting per week on something related to the course content, be it from the actual reading or anything they read or came across."

Bazian also serves as chairman of American Muslims for Palestine, a group which has repeatedly defended Hamas and featured speakers who say their ambition should be to challenge Israel's legitimacy as a state. During one conference, Bazian explained that universities are "the front line [for the Palestinian cause] moving forward, the front line. Why? Because this is the next generation."

Fatah points out that none of the student Twitter posts he has seen so far "challenged the validity of the term" Islamophobia. The term has been applied to everything from vandalism at mosques to terrorism-support investigations to criticism of American Islamist political groups.

Bazian widened the definition last summer, to cover Muslim political opponents. In a column for Al Jazeera, Bazian criticized the Egyptian army for forcing President Mohamed Morsi – the Muslim Brotherhood's candidate for office – and for statements and imagery used to criticize the Islamist group.

The arm "unleashed a deliberate 'Othering' campaign against the Brotherhood and its supporters that was highly Islamophobic, deploying a barrage of anti-Muslim tropes to achieve the desired outcome," Bazian wrote. Millions of Egyptian Muslims took to the streets in the days and weeks before the military stepped in, demanding Morsi's ouster. Their criticism was rooted in policy failures and a perception that Morsi placed entrenching Islamist power above the needs of the masses.

Fatah remembers the flack Middle East Forum Director Daniel Pipes took in 2002, when he launched "Campus Watch" to document "the mixing of politics with scholarship." But Bazian's required Twitter assignment shows that Pipes, "the scholar of Islam, with a dozen books to his credit, was right to be concerned."

IPT News


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Exposed: The Muslim Brotherhood/Al-Qaeda Connection

by Raymond Ibrahim

published by
As former Egyptian President Muhammad Morsi’s trials continue, it’s enlightening to consider what is likely to be one of the centerpieces of the trial: longstanding accusations that Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood party worked with foreign terrorist organizations, including al-Qaeda, against the national security of Egypt. 

Based on these accusations of high treason, Morsi and others could face the death penalty.
Concerning some of the more severe allegations, one of Egypt’s most widely distributed and read newspapers, Al Watan, recently published what it said were recorded conversations between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri, al-Qaeda leader Ayman Zawahiri’s brother. 

In these reports, Watan repeatedly asserts that Egyptian security and intelligence agencies confirmed (or perhaps leaked out) the recordings.

Much of the substance of the alleged conversations is further corroborated by events that occurred during Morsi’s one-year-rule, most of which were reported by a variety of Arabic media outlets, though not by Western media.

In what follows, I relay, summarize, and translate some of the more significant portions of the Watan reports (verbatim statements are in quotation marks).  In between, I comment on various anecdotes and events—many of which were first broken on my website—that now, in light of these phone conversations, make perfect sense and independently help confirm the authenticity of the recordings. 
The first recorded call  between Muhammad Morsi  and  Muhammad Zawahiri lasted for 59 seconds. Morsi congratulated Zawahiri on his release from prison, where he had been incarcerated for jihadi/terrorist activities against Egypt, and assured him that he would not be followed or observed by any Egyptian authorities, and that he, Morsi, was planning on meeting with him soon.  Prior to this first call, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, then Chief of Staff, mediated and arranged matters.

The presidential palace continued to communicate regularly with Muhammad Zawahiri, and sources confirm that he was the link between the Egyptian presidency and his brother, Ayman Zawahiri, the Egyptian-born leader of al-Qaeda.

It should be noted that, once released, the previously little-known Muhammad Zawahiri did become very visible and vocal in Egypt, at times spearheading the Islamist movement.
The next recording between Morsi and Zawahiri lasted for 2 minutes and 56 seconds and took place one month after Morsi became president.  Morsi informed Zawahiri that the Muslim Brotherhood supports the mujahidin (jihadis) and that the mujahidin should support the Brotherhood in order for them both, and the Islamist agenda, to prevail in Egypt.

This makes sense in the context that, soon after Morsi came to power, the general public did become increasingly critical of him and his policies, including the fact that he was placing only Brotherhood members in Egypt’s most important posts, trying quickly to push through a pro-Islamist constitution, and, as Egyptians called it, trying in general to “Brotherhoodize” Egypt.

This second phone call being longer than the first, Zawahiri took it as an opportunity to congratulate Morsi on his recent presidential victory—which, incidentally, from the start, was portrayed by some as fraudulent—and expressed his joy that Morsi’s presidency could only mean that “all secular infidels would be removed from Egypt.”

Then Zawahiri told Morsi: “Rule according to the Sharia of Allah [or “Islamic law”], and we will stand next to you.  Know that, from the start, there is no so-called democracy, so get rid of your opposition.” 

This assertion comports extremely well with his brother Ayman Zawahiri’s views.  A former Muslim Brotherhood member himself, some thirty years ago, the al-Qaeda leader wrote Al Hissad Al Murr (“The Bitter Harvest”), a scathing book condemning the Brotherhood for “taking advantage of the Muslim youths’ fervor by … steer[ing] their onetime passionate, Islamic zeal for jihad to conferences and elections.” An entire section dedicated to showing that Islamic Sharia cannot coexist with democracy even appears in Ayman Zawahiri’s book (see “Sharia and Democracy,” The Al Qaeda Reader, pgs. 116-136).

The call ended in agreement that al-Qaeda would support the Brotherhood, including its international branches, under the understanding that Morsi would soon implement full Sharia in Egypt.  After this, Muhammad Zawahiri and Khairat al-Shater, the number-two man of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, reportedly met regularly.

It is interesting to note here that, prior to these revelations, U.S. ambassador Anne Patterson was seen visiting with Khairat al-Shater—even though he held no position in the Morsi government—and after the ousting and imprisonment of Morsi and leading Brotherhood members, Sens. John McCain and Lindsay Graham made it a point to visit the civilian Shater in his prison cell and urged the Egyptian government to release him.

The next call, recorded roughly six weeks after this last one, again revolved around the theme of solidifying common cooperation between the Egyptian presidency and the Muslim Brotherhood on the one hand, and al-Qaeda and its jihadi offshoots on the other, specifically in the context of creating jihadi cells inside Egypt devoted to protecting the increasingly unpopular Brotherhood-dominated government.

As I reported back in December 2012, Egyptian media were saying that foreign jihadi fighters were appearing in large numbers—one said 3,000 fighters—especially in Sinai.  And, since the overthrow of the Brotherhood and the military crackdown on its supporters, many of those detained have been exposed speaking non-Egyptian dialects of Arabic.

During this same call, Zawahiri was also critical of the Morsi government for still not applying Islamic Sharia throughout Egypt, which, as mentioned, was one of the prerequisites for al-Qaeda support. 

Morsi responded by saying “We are currently in the stage of consolidating power and need the help of all parties—and we cannot at this time apply the Iranian model or Taliban rule in Egypt; it is impossible to do so now.”

In fact, while the Brotherhood has repeatedly declared its aspirations for world domination, from its origins, it has always relied on a “gradual” approach, moving only in stages, with the idea of culminating its full vision only when enough power has been consolidated. 

In response, Zawahiri told Morsi that, as a show of good will, he must “at least release the mujahidin who were imprisoned during the Mubarak era as well as all Islamists, as an assurance and pact of cooperation and proof that the old page has turned to a new one.”

After that call, and as confirmed by a governmental source, Morsi received a list from Zawahiri containing the names of the most dangerous terrorists in Egyptian jails, some of whom were on death row due to the enormity of their crimes.

In fact, as I reported back in August 2012, many imprisoned terrorists, including from Egypt’s notorious Islamic Jihad organization—which was once led by Ayman Zawahiri—were released under Morsi.

One year later, in August 2013, soon after the removal of Morsi, Egypt’s Interior Ministry announced that Egypt was “preparing to cancel any presidential pardons issued during Morsi’s era to terrorists or criminals.”

During this same call, and in the context of pardons, Morsi said he would do his best to facilitate the return of Muhammad’s infamous brother and al-Qaeda leader, Ayman Zawahiri, back to Egypt—“with his head held high,” in accordance with Islamist wishes—as well as urge the U.S. to release the “Blind Sheikh” and terrorist mastermind, Omar Abdul Rahman.

In March 2013, I wrote about how Morsi, during his Pakistan visit, had reportedly met with Ayman Zawahiri  and made arrangements to smuggle him back to Sinai.  According to a Pakistan source, the meeting was “facilitated by elements of Pakistani intelligence [ISI] and influential members of the International Organization, the Muslim Brotherhood.”

The gist of the next two calls between Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri was that, so long as the former is president, he would see to it that all released jihadis and al-Qaeda operatives are allowed to move freely throughout Egypt and the Sinai, and that the presidential palace would remain in constant contact with Zawahiri, to make sure everything is moving to the satisfaction of both parties.

Zawahiri further requested that Morsi allow them to develop training camps in Sinai in order to support the Brotherhood through trained militants. Along with saying that the Brotherhood intended to form a “revolutionary guard” to protect him against any coup, Morsi added that, in return for al-Qaeda’s and its affiliates’ support, not only would he allow them to have such training camps, but he would facilitate their development in Sinai and give them four facilities to use along the Egyptian-Libyan border.

That Libya is mentioned is interesting.  According to a Libyan Arabic report I translated back in June 2013, those who attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, killing Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were from jihadi cells that had been formed in Libya through Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood support.  Those interrogated named Morsi and other top Brotherhood leadership as accomplices.

More evidence—including some that implicates the U.S. administration—has mounted since then.

Next, Watan makes several more assertions, all of which are preceded by “according to security/intelligence agencies.”  They are:

• That Morsi did indeed as he promised, and that he facilitated the establishment of four jihadi training camps.  Morsi was then Chief in Command of Egypt’s Armed Forces, and through his power of authority, stopped the military from launching any operations including in the by now al-Qaeda overrun Sinai.

• That, after Morsi reached Pakistan, he had a one-and-a-half hour meeting with an associate of Ayman Zawahiri in a hotel and possibly spoke with him.

• That, after Morsi returned to Egypt from his trip to Pakistan, he issued another  list containing the names of 20 more convicted terrorists considered dangerous to the national security of Egypt, giving them all presidential pardons—despite the fact that national security and intelligence strongly recommended that they not be released on grounds of the threat they posed.

• That the Muslim Brotherhood’s international wing, including through the agency of Khairat al-Shater, had provided $50 million to al-Qaeda in part to support the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.

One of the longer conversations between Morsi and Zawahiri reported by Watan is especially telling of al-Qaeda’s enmity for secularist Muslims and Coptic Christians—whose churches, some 80, were attacked, burned, and destroyed, some with the al-Qaeda flag furled above them, soon after the ousting of Morsi.  I translate portions below:

Zawahiri: “The teachings of Allah need to be applied and enforced; the secularists have stopped the Islamic Sharia, and the response must be a stop to the building of churches.” (An odd assertion considering how difficult it already is for Copts to acquire a repair permit for their churches in Egypt.)

Zawahiri also added that “All those who reject the Sharia must be executed, and all those belonging to the secular media which work to disseminate debauchery and help deviants and Christians to violate the Sharia, must be executed.”

Morsi reportedly replied: “We have taken deterrent measures to combat those few, and new legislative measures to limit their media, and in the near future, we will shut down these media stations and launch large Islamic media outlets.  We are even planning a big budget from the [Brotherhood] International Group  to launch Islamic and jihadi satellite stations  to urge on the jihad. There will be a channel for you and the men of al-Qaeda, and it can be broadcast from Afghanistan.”

Undeterred, Zawahiri responded by saying, “This [is a] Christian media—and some of the media personnel are paid by the [Coptic] Church and they work with those who oppose the Sharia… secularist forces are allied with Christian forces, among them Naguib Sawiris, the Christian-Jew.”

Morsi: “Soon we will uphold our promises to you.”

In fact, there was a period of time when the secular media in Egypt—which was constantly exposing Brotherhood machinations—were under severe attack by the Brotherhood and Islamists of all stripes (comedian Bassem Youssef was the tip of the iceberg).  In one instance, which I noted back in August 2012, six major media stations were attacked by Brotherhood supporters, their employees severely beat.

The last call recorded between Muhammad Morsi and Muhammad Zawahiri took place on the dawn of June 30, 2013 (the date of the June 30 Revolution that ousted Morsi and the Brotherhood).  Morsi made the call to Zawahiri in the presence of Asad al-Sheikha, Deputy Chief of Presidential Staff, Refa’ al-Tahtawy, Chief of Presidential Staff, and his personal security.

During this last call, Morsi incited Zawahiri to rise against the Egyptian military in Sinai and asked Zawahiri to compel all jihadi and loyalist elements everywhere to come to the aid of the Muslim Brotherhood and neutralize its opponents.

Zawahiri reportedly responded by saying “We will fight the military and the police, and we will set the Sinai aflame.”

True enough, as I reported on July 4, quoting from an Arabic report: “Al-Qaeda, under the leadership of Muhammad Zawahiri, is currently planning reprisal operations by which to attack the army and the Morsi-opposition all around the Republic [of Egypt].”  The report added that, right before the deposing of Morsi, Zawahiri had been arrested and was being interrogated—only to be ordered released by yet another presidential order, and that he  had since fled to the Sinai. 

Also on that same first day of the revolution, Khairat al-Shater, Deputy Leader of the Brotherhood, had a meeting with a delegate of jihadi fighters and reiterated Morsi’s request that all jihadis come to the aid of the presidency and the Brotherhood.
As Morsi’s trial continues, it’s only a matter of time before the truth of these allegations—and their implications for the U.S.—is known.  But one thing is certain: most of them comport incredibly well with incidents and events that took place under Morsi’s government.

Raymond Ibrahim


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