Friday, June 3, 2011

What 'Arab Spring'?

by Cal Thomas

Upheaval in Yemen and the possibility that al Qaeda might take over, turning that country into a stronger terrorist base than it already is, should give pause to American and European policy in the Arab world. At its recently concluded G-8 meeting of industrial economies in Deauville, France, Western governments pledged $40 billion to "newly democratic" nations in North Africa and the Middle East. One might as well throw money at Chicago and hope for electoral reform so the dead are no longer allowed to vote on Election Day.

In spring, one usually cultivates a lawn so that new vegetation can take root and grow. In the Arab world where this money is targeted, the only roots you'll find are the roots of oppression and terrorism.

If Western nations think what is happening in Tunisia and Egypt will lead to real democracy, where competing political parties, ideologies and faiths have a fair and equal opportunity of being debated, they are seriously deluded. The money would have a better chance of financing a winning streak in a Las Vegas casino.

If these countries were seriously pursuing democracy and needed only money to complete their transformation, there is plenty of money in the region that could be used to help them.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, OPEC income is expected to rise this year above the $200 billion increase of 2010. That would be around $833 billion, the Energy Information Administration forecasts.

That's money the United States and the rest of the G-8 have paid oil-producing nations at prices ranging from $4 to $7 a gallon, depending on the country.

If money alone could foster democracy in North Africa and the Middle East, there are plenty of Arab countries with loads of it -- chiefly Saudi Arabia. Yet the Saudis have shown very little interest in an "Arab Spring," preferring to remain instead in the doldrums of an Arab winter.

Democracy doesn't spring up of its own accord. It must have a base from which it can blossom. That was a point made by Timur Kuran, a professor of economics and political science at Duke University, in a recent op-ed column for the New York Times entitled "The Weak Foundations of Arab Democracy."

Kuran wrote:

"Democracy requires checks and balances, and it is largely through civil society that citizens protect their rights as individuals, force policymakers to accommodate their interests, and limit abuses of state authority. Civil society also promotes a culture of bargaining and gives future leaders the skills to articulate ideas, form coalitions and govern."

None of this exists in any of the nations to which the G-8 has pledged its support. In Egypt, supposedly the most progressive of the Arab states, fundamentalist Muslims still persecute Coptic Christians.

The radical Muslim Brotherhood, which at the start of the revolution claimed no interest in political power, is now active in its pursuit of victory in the upcoming election and hints that it might revoke Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.

The problems in North Africa and the Middle East can't be solved by money. What's needed is a change in outlook. Radical Islam forces women into second-class status; it is rooted not in optimism, but in pessimism.

Radical Islamists appear to serve an angry god who commands them to kill those who do not believe as they do, but this belief will do little to lift the Arab world out of the religious and political deep freeze that holds it back from true progress.

In C.S. Lewis' "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe," Narnia has been transformed by a white witch into a land where it is "always winter, but never Christmas."

That pretty much describes the lands of North Africa and the Middle East where the "white witch" is radical Islam and spring will never arrive as long as it holds sway over the minds and hearts of the people.


Cal Thomas

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

Jonathan Spyer: The Strategic Significance of Damascus

by William Aquilino

A briefing by Jonathan Spyer

Jonathan Spyer began by stating that as revolution spread across the Middle East, the Assad regime maintained belief that its citizenry would be loyal to the regime. When protests erupted in Syria, however, the Assad regime resorted to force and terror—including the use of artillery against population centers—in an attempt to quell the uprising. Global opinion also seemed to be quelled, with journalists unwilling to risk their lives against Syrian artillery, the U.S. and E.U. content with using sanctions to influence the Assad regime, and neighboring countries unwilling to press Syria to reform.

According to Mr. Spyer, factions within Syria have also diluted the potency of the protests—including an amorphous rebel leadership structure and Islamist groups in the pockets of Assad. Given the reality of the situation, Mr. Spyer believes the regime has a solid chance of survival.

More worrisome are the strategic implications in the region, especially vis-à-vis Iran. Syria's alignment with Iran remains a core feature of Syrian policy, an "insurance policy" that protects Assad from paying the price for his regime's activities. Tehran's tutelage, combined with Western hesitancy, insures that the Assad regime continues to survive. Moreover, the success of Syria's alignment with Iran—and the simultaneous toppling of U.S.-backed governments—has shown Middle Eastern regimes the relative safety of Iran's sphere of influence and the risks associated with aligning with Western powers.

During the question and answer session, Mr. Spyer voiced confusion as to why the United States launches missiles at Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi—an isolated eccentric of the region—while refusing to send the Air Force against the greater threat of the Assad regime. Mr. Spyer descried the weakness of E.U. and U.S. actions against Syria, warning that Iran's skill at using "proxy military forces as a tool for building political influence" will continue unabated as Syria allows Iran to funnel materiel through its borders to support Hezbollah and Hamas.


Jonathan Spyer is a senior research fellow at the Global Research in International Affairs Center in Israel, a columnist for the Jerusalem Post, and author most recently of The Transforming Fire: The Rise of the Israel-Islamist Conflict (Continuum, 2011).

William Aquilino is an MEF intern

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In Egypt, Muslims' Attacks on Copts Increase

by N. Shamni and L. Azuri

Since the January 25, 2011 revolution, Egypt has seen several clashes between Muslims and Copts, and attacks on Coptic churches have increased. In early March, clashes broke out in the village of Sol, in the Helwan Governorate, over the demolition of a church there. On March 23, in the Upper Egyptian city of Qena, Salafists attacked and cut off the ear of a Copt suspected of having relations with a Muslim woman. Qena also saw mass demonstrations by Muslims over the appointment of a Coptic province governor, ultimately leading the authorities to suspend his appointment for a period of three months. In April in the town of Abu Qarqas, a quarrel over a building put up by a Copt, which obstructed traffic, sparked clashes that ended in numerous arrests and dozens of injuries, with the homes of several Copts torched. Violence also erupted on May 19 in the Cairo suburb of Ain Shams, when Muslims demonstrated against the government's decision to reopen the Church of the Virgin there, which had been closed for three years.

The clashes peaked on May 7, when a fight broke out outside the Mary Mina Church in the Imbaba neighborhood of Cairo, in the Al-Giza Governorate, leaving 12 Copts and Muslims dead and hundreds of others wounded. Violence was sparked off when hundreds of Muslims gathered outside the church, demanding the release of 'Abir Tal'at Fakhri – a young Coptic woman who, according to her Muslim husband, was being held there against her will after having converted from Christianity to Islam.

Since then, Copts have staged numerous demonstrations throughout Egypt, as well as a prolonged sit-down strike outside the state television building in Cairo, demanding protection of their rights and the prosecution of those responsible for the violence. It should be noted that in recent years, there were a number of similar incidents in Egypt involving young Coptic women who were reportedly held captive by the Church after converting to Islam.

In the Egyptian press, Muslim and Coptic writers pinned responsibility for the events on various elements. The Supreme Council of the Egyptian Armed Forces was held largely responsible, on the grounds that the security forces were failing to respond with sufficient urgency and resolve against the attackers. Some blamed the previous regime, stating that its supporters were trying to create chaos in order to pave the way for a counterrevolution. There were also those who blamed Egypt's Salafists, who, they said, have been intimidating the country's residents, Muslims and Copts alike, since the revolution. Others faulted the Coptic Church, claiming that it has placed itself above the law, and that the young women in question converted to Islam in order to escape the church's rigid divorce laws. Yet others said the events were a result of the sexist attitudes of Egyptian society.


N. Shamni and L. Azuri

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Move the US Embassy to Jerusalem

by Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison

To understand the question of Jerusalem's status, we should first ask ourselves where the capital of Russia is. Everyone knows it's Moscow. That's where the U.S. Embassy, Spaso House, is located. It's in Moscow because Vladimir Lenin, the Bolshevik revolutionary, moved the capital from the St. Petersburg of Tsar Peter the Great back to the interior of Russia, to that medieval fortress, the Kremlin.

Does the U.S. State Department think it's odd that our American Embassy is located in the capital city designated by the bloody dictator, Lenin? He was a man who dedicated his life to overthrowing the free world -- including us.

Not odd at all. We never considered not having our embassy in the city first designated by the Soviets as their capital.

Now, let's think about Berlin. Berlin was Germany's capital until May 7, 1945. That's when Nazis surrendered unconditionally to Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower. Ike was the Supreme Commander Allied Powers Europe (SCAPE). Ike's staff actually feared Adolf Hitler might hunker down in a mountain redoubt in Bavaria and it might take years to root him out. But he didn't. He shot himself in his Führerbunker, far beneath the flaming, rubble-strewn streets of Berlin.

Afterward, for fifty years, the peaceful little Rhineland town of Bonn was West Germany's capital. The Federal Republic of Germany, as it was called, became an economic powerhouse and a mainstay of our NATO alliance. Following reunification in 1990, the German parliament (Bundestag) voted to transfer the capital back to Berlin. So, in 1999, Germany's democratic lawmakers returned.

The United States Embassy to Germany, of course, dutifully packed up and carted everything to Berlin. We never thought of not doing so.

So, what's up with Jerusalem? Jerusalem has been Israel's capital since Bible times.

All over the world, for three thousand years, Jews have prayed to remember Jerusalem.

The Pslamist wrote: "If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy" Ps. 137:5-6).

Jerusalem was a great capital city a thousand years before Paris, before London, and certainly before Washington was thus dignified. Yet, Jerusalem is not where the U.S. Embassy to Israel is located. That's in Tel Aviv. And if your American child is blessed enough to be born in this Holy City, her birth certificate will read "Jerusalem," yes, but not Jerusalem, Israel.

This is because the Obama administration does not want to antagonize the Arabs. The Arabs deny the existence of Israel. Their rejection of Jerusalem as Israel's capital is a key part of their stony negotiating stance. To appease them, Mr. Obama goes the extra mile.

President Obama went to Egypt two years ago this month. He gave a famous speech in which he "reached out to the Muslim world." He chose Al-Azhar Mosque, a nest of Muslim Brotherhood activity, as the site for his speech.

Since that speech, the authoritarian Egyptian ruler, Hosni Mubarak, has been overthrown. His shaky thirty-year peace with Israel is evaporating, like water in the desert. Mubarak's predecessor, Anwar Sadat, won a Nobel Peace Prize for making that peace pact with Israel. The Muslim Brotherhood assassinated Sadat in broad daylight in 1981 for doing so.

So far, the Muslim Brotherhood is the only group to benefit from the Obama outreach to Muslims. The "Arab Spring" in which his administration places such great stock is bringing them to power in Egypt and possibly Libya, too. Still, President Obama wouldn't dream of not sending the U.S. ambassador to Cairo, in Egypt.

Obama policy in the Mideast is a barren fig tree. It has yielded nothing. It's time to try something different: Let's tell the Arabs that the United States' Embassy in Israel is moving to Jerusalem. And all birth certificates for Americans born in that ancient capital city will henceforth read, Jerusalem, Israel.

The President should tell his Muslim friends that Israel has taken risks for peace, only to be rewarded with renewed terrorist attacks. By moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, the president will show that he is sincere in his determination to stand by Israel in her hour of need. President Obama should appreciate the importance of this gesture; after all, his own birth certificate says: "Honolulu, Hawaii." He knows why these things matter.


Ken Blackwell and Bob Morrison

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

Arab Leaders Betray the Palestinians -- Again

by Leo Rennert

It was only a few days ago that, amid great fanfare, Egyptian authorities announced the reopening of the Rafah crossing at their border with Gaza. The move was hailed as a major victory for the Hamas terrorist group, which rules Gaza, and a blow to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip. It was also viewed as a radical switch by Egypt's military rulers away from the more cooperative stance Hosni Mubarak displayed in his relations with Israel.

But in the Middle East, perceptions and conventional wisdom often turn out to be wrong. It took only a few days for Egypt to dash Palestinian expectations.

According to a June 1 report by Reuters and Haaretz, the Cairo-Hamas honeymoon has turned sour. The number of Palestinians allowed to cross into Egypt has turned into a mere trickle -- from 565 last Saturday to 404 on Sunday to 631 on Monday, to 227 on Tuesday and to fewer than 100 by late Wednesday.

"Following the joy that swept most of our people, movement at the crossing yesterday and today was disappointing," a Hamas official told reporters. And no wonder. The much touted reopening of the Rafah crossing was starting to look more like the familiar eye-dropper pattern during Mubarak's regime, when the number of Gazans occasionally allowed into Egypt was more symbolic than for real.

Meanwhile, on the West Bank, Mahmoud Abbas's Palestinian Authority also has been running into big-time difficulties with its supposed supporters in the Arab world.

According to a June 1 dispatch from maannews, the Palestinian news agency, Prime Minister Salam Fayyad reported that the PA has been plunged into a major financial crisis, unable to meet its bills and payrolls, because Arab regimes were not delivering all the money that they had pledged -- the massive contributions that drew earlier headlines.

Fayyad bemoaned a "serious shortfall" in the PA's exchequer, blaming Arab countries, including oil-rich regimes, for delivering only a combined total of $52.5 million a month since the beginning of this year -- "much less than they committed for."

Contrast this with the European Union and Uncle Sam, who actually deliver what they promise.

It's a new chapter in an old story -- Arab leaders are most generous in aiding Palestinians with fulsome rhetoric, but when it comes to concrete actions, including hard cash, they turn tail.


Leo Rennert

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Syria to Target Gas Rigs in Next War, Warns Vilnai

by Gil Ronen

Minister of Home Front Defense Matan Vilnai described an exceedingly harsh scenario of the next war between Israel and its Arab neighbors Wednesday. Speaking to the heads of vital industries, Vilnai said that the next war will last at least a month and that Syria will target Israeli offshore gas fields.

Details of Vilnai’s speech were published by Globes.
In the next round of fighting, he said, hundreds of missiles with half-ton warheads will strike central Israel daily.

In a conflagration with Hamas, the terror organization "will try very hard to hit Tel Aviv,” he assessed. “Not everything will reach here [Tel Aviv] and most will fall on the way, but some rockets will strike here too.”

Accurate Syrian missiles will target Israeli economic interests like the offshore gas fields, he warned. “The Syrians do not need to fire dozens of missiles at these facilities,” Vilnai explained. “Their systems are accurate enough that by firing a few missiles – everything goes up in the air. The offshore facilities are a soft underbelly.”

“The Arabs know how to learn lessons,” said Vilnai. “They are not cowards and they do not run away like we were all taught in the past. They know they cannot defeat the IDF in the field of battle so they intend to hit the heartland with missiles.”

“We need to prepare for a war with Syria, with Hizbullah and with Hamas,” he told the industrialists. “In an all-out war, most of your employees have been called up to the various fronts, and simultaneously, hundreds of missiles fall in central Israel. Not thousands, hundreds. We checked this and measured it. We calculated how many missiles they have, how many we can destroy in attacks we initiate, how many we can intercept in mid-flight and more. They will fire thousands of rockets and missiles daily and hundreds will hit central Israel. And this will take at least a month, including Fridays and Saturdays, without rest.”

The minister’s meeting with the heads of industry was coordinated with Industrialists’ Association chief Shraga Brosh, in preparation for a large scale home front drill that will include the vital industries.

The drill – Turning Point 5 -- will take place in three weeks’ time and will include nighttime air raid sirens. Turning Point 4 took place in 2010, and Turning Point 3 in 2009. Both were the largest civil defense drills held in Israel to date.


Gil Ronen

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IHH Warns Israel: Don't Touch the Flotilla

by Chana Ya'ar

The terrorist-linked Turkish IHH organization is warning Israel not to try to stop the group's second flotilla when it attempts to breach the maritime blockade of Gaza.

A news conference was held Monday aboard the Mavi Marmara ship, where nine terror activists last year died after attacking IDF naval commandos who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port. Speaking to reporters, IHH spokesman Huseyin Oruc asserted confidently, “They will not attack. We don't believe they will repeat the same big mistake against humanity.”

The vessel was docked at a port in Istanbul after having been returned to Turkey by Israel following last year's incident. “It is the Mavi Marmara, it is a peace boat and the other 14 boats are also peace boats,” Oruc claimed.

Activists aboard the Mavi Marmara last year wielded iron rods, clubs, knives and other weapons, as they fell upon each soldier who landed on the deck from a helicopter hovering above. The Israeli soldiers were equipped solely with paintball guns and small pistols. Several were badly injured.

It was later discovered that of the six flotilla vessels allegedly carrying “humanitarian aid” to Gaza by sea, the Mavi Marmara carried nothing at all, other than terror activists prepared to attack Israelis.

Despite the video evidence of what occurred aboard the vessel, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu told Reuters on Monday it was up to Israel to avoid a repeat of the incident.

Davutoglu added that Israel should end its “illegal” blockade of Gaza, and said his government could not stop its citizens from attempting another flotilla to the region.

“No democratic country can think they have full control over these NGOs (non-governmental organizations), he said.

Israel's deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, meanwhile, warned in response that any flotilla would be stopped.


Chana Ya'ar

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Thursday, June 2, 2011

“Tsunami of September”

by Ryan Mauro

The Israeli Defense Minister is warning of the “tsunami of September” when the U.N. will vote on recognizing an independent Palestine. Spain will recognize a Palestinian state even before then. International pressure against Israel is ratcheting up, and at the same time, Fatah has buried the hatchet with Hamas and seeks to do the same with Palestinian Islamic Jihad.

Dozens of countries support recognizing an independent Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders, including Russia, China, India, South Africa and the countries of the Arab League. Most of South America has already formally recognized a Palestinian state, and now Spain intends to join them before the September vote at the U.N. takes place. If a member of the U.N. Security Council blocks the recognition of a Palestinian state, there will be an international uproar. It is very possible that a stream of countries will follow in Spain’s footsteps and independently recognize a Palestinian state. This may encourage the Palestinians to unilaterally declare statehood, setting the stage for war.

The Palestinian Authority will submit a request for full membership in the U.N. to the Secretary-General by mid-July. The request will then go to the president of the Security Council, which is Germany. Luckily, Germany opposes a U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood. The Security Council then forms a committee to evaluate whether the Palestinians meet the requirements for U.N. membership. A conclusion must be reached at least 35 days before the General Assembly opens, which is August 10. It is likely that the push for membership in the U.N. will be stopped at this juncture as the U.S., U.K. and France hold veto power. At that point, the General Assembly can recognize a Palestinian state on its own but not grant it U.N. membership.

Israeli intelligence believes that the U.N. General Assembly will vote in favor of Palestinian statehood based on the 1967 borders. Prime Minister Netanyahu is striking a confident tone on the issue, saying it is “destined for failure.” He also mocked the legitimacy of the General Assembly’s vote, saying, “No one can stop the United Nations General Assembly from recognizing the Palestinian state in September. The U.N. can also adopt a resolution that the world is flat.”

The Palestinians are presenting a united front ahead of the push at the U.N. Fatah and Hamas have signed a reconciliation agreement. This forms a unity government and ends Fatah’s fight against Hamas. This effectively ends the peace process as Hamas is committed to Israel’s destruction. As President Obama said in his speech about the Arab Spring on May 19, “How can one negotiate with a party that has shown itself unwilling to recognize your right to exist?” Prime Minister Netanyahu likewise said, “The Palestinian Authority must choose either peace with Israel or peace with Hamas. There is no possibility for peace with both.”

Now, Fatah is even extending a hand towards Palestinian Islamic Jihad. President Abbas has met with the Secretary-General of the Islamic Jihad in Cairo, who came from Syria. The topics of discussion were the Palestinian Authority’s operations against Islamic Jihad networks in the West Bank, and a possible release of the terrorist group’s members from prison. An alliance against Israel is apparently the objective, as Islamic Jihad said the meeting was about “confronting future challenges and Israeli threats.”

It is significant that the meeting between Abbas and the leader of Islamic Jihad took place in Cairo. The Egyptian military regime has become increasingly friendly to Islamists. It is trying to improve relations with Iran, and has permanently opened the crossing into the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. A general is admitting that the military conducted “virginity checks” on female protesters arrested on March 9. Last Friday, the Muslim Brotherhood and the military regime were on the same side in opposing protests by liberal demonstrators.

Hamas says it is trying to convince Fatah to join its jihad. “What is needed today…is to have resistance in all forms, armed and public ones,” said the terrorist group’s leader. Hamas has also said it will give Israel an additional year to agree to a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital, but says war won’t necessarily follow if the demands are not met. Of course, Hamas will not settle for anything less than the destruction of Israel. One of the group’s leaders said in June 2010, “Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety.”

Tension between the Israelis and Palestinians is increasing in the lead-up to the effort at the U.N. The Israeli military is preparing for a repeat of the Nakba Day provocations on the June 5-June 10 anniversary of the Six-Day War. “Activists” in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan are already organizing online for the event.

As Defense Minister Ehud Barak said a “diplomatic tsunami” is headed towards Israel and its defenders. This September, the West must remember Israel is the shining light of the Middle East and stands on the frontlines in the war against radical Islam.


Ryan Mauro is the founder of, the National Security Adviser for the Christian Action Network and an analyst with Wikistrat. He can be contacted at

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The Great Error of Israeli Normalization

by Daniel Greenfield

Israel has celebrated its 63rd independence day, but it is a hollow celebration in a country that is less independent than it has been in decades. Rather than working within regional and global realities, its leaders instead fanatically pursue normalization and stabilization. But normalcy and stability are illusions in the Middle East, as the past few months have reminded us.

Pursuing stability with unstable regimes is doomed from the start. Normalization relies on peace achieved through agreements with Arab leaders. But such agreements are always hostage to the corruption of the Arab governments and their desperate need for bigoted populism. Even an agreement with the relatively stable Egypt was not able to outlast a single government. The less stable Palestinian Authority breaks agreements as soon as it signs them.

The Camp David Accords, jewel of the normalization crown, have proven to be worthless. The Oslo Accords were discredited in far less time than that. Had Israel given in to pressure and exchanged the Golan Heights for a peace treaty with Syria-- that agreement would no longer be worth the paper it was written on. And yet in January, the Obama Administration was aggressively pushing Israel to turn over the Golan Heights, for which so many IDF soldiers gave their lives, for exactly that.

Arab leaders don't understand the Western obsession with treaties. Nor do they consider them to be binding in any way. To them an accord or an agreement is nothing but a statement of their interests, which becomes obsolete the moment their interests change. There is no such thing as a permanent peace agreement that binds nations and peoples. All treaties with Arab leaders are signed with individuals and their families. They do not represent any permanent reconciliation or normalization. That can only be achieved through intermarriage and complete cultural blending.

Arabs view the Israeli pursuit of peace as insecurity. When Israel talks about how much it wants peace, it loses face. The Arabs view such talk as a sign of weakness, an admission of guilt by thieves who now want to strike a bargain to avoid what's coming to them, or a disingenuous claim to cover up plans for war.

The culture of the Shouk, the middle-eastern bazaar, is the bluff and the mind game. To assert a lie confidently is to strengthen your bargaining position, to speak the truth softly is to be thought a liar. Everyone knows what they want, but no one comes right out and says it. No one but a tourist or a sucker. If you come out and say that you want peace, then you're either a sucker, a coward or looking for an excuse to start a war. Arab states assume all three things about Israel. Often at the same time. Because our behavior confuses them as badly as they confuse us.

Israel demonstrates superior force and then sues for peace. It surrenders to terrorists and then it bombs them. It retreats and then talks about a permanent settlement. Arab behavior often looks crazy to outsiders, but our behavior looks much more crazy to them. We think that they say one thing and do another. They think the same thing about us. And with good cause.

Arab leaders speak the language of the region. Israeli leaders speak some bizarre Western dialect that is foreign to the region and its sensibilities. Arab leaders assume that foreign diplomats who don't understand that what they say isn't what they mean are either idiots or being disingenuous. Confused? You're now an honorary diplomat. And Western emissaries either end up believing everything they hear to not believing anything they hear. But their problem is that they confuse the poetry of the words with the content of the message.

Israel pursuing the mirage of permanent peace and brotherhood is one of the dumber things they have ever encountered. There is no such thing in the region. The Arabs hate the Persians. The Sunnis hate the Shiites. The Egyptians hate the Saudis. Bedouin clans that live side by side for centuries have blood feuds that have gone on for centuries. Look at Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, any Arab country under a microscope and you see a whirling mass of smaller entities who only stop fighting when a stronger force gets in the way.

Everyone in the Middle East hates everyone else, and will go on feeling that way until the end of time. The only way to stop your neighbor from cutting your throat, stealing your car or making off with your daughter-- is to threaten to do the same thing to him. And worse.

Israeli leaders of another generation understood this regional reality. But the distance between the men who drained the swamps and fought bandits, and the men who live enclosed in the massive population density of the Tel Aviv Metropolitan Area, up there with London, Moscow, Tokyo and Rio De Janiero, has grown too great. They are intimately familiar with Tel Aviv, Paris and Brussels. But they have no understanding whatsoever of the people they live among.

Urbanization in civilizations means that the people who have the most awareness of an external threat, are cut off from the centers of power. Too many Israelis have come to think of Arabs as people like them who happen to speak a different language. Cousins they just don't get along with. Few would have been stupid enough to make that mistake seventy years ago. But insularity, multicultural propaganda and the popularity of surface elements of Arab culture have made it ubiquitous.

The New Middle East is a fairy bubble born out of that myth. And no matter how many times it bursts, there are still those who chase after it.

There can be no permanent peace or normalization with the Arab world, except within the context of regional realities. Those realities are that Arab leaders are obligated to publicly hate Israel, while privately cooperating on issues of mutual interest. Any written treaty is worthless, but oral agreements can work, so long as they benefit both sides. The Arab Street will go on hating Israel, as they have hated religious minorities and anyone who is different from them in any way. There will be no brand new Middle East, just the same old one as before.

The difference between the Middle East as it was and as it is, is window dressing. These are still borderline feudal societies with the important families controlling the land and the government. And the peasants having barely enough to tie their shoes together with. The Arab world consists of ramshackle post-colonial governments run by powerful families. The parliaments and ministers, the bureaucrats and officers, are generally the sons of powerful families, their nephews, distant cousins, and anyone else who can be counted on to be loyal to the tribe. Whether the men at the top call themselves sheiks or colonels, they rely on the support of that oligarchy, and rule through some combination of bribery and armed force. The Arab Spring is nothing more than prominent families and religious factions fighting it out for supremacy.

If Israel is to survive in the Middle East, it will only be able to do by accepting those realities, and maintaining its existence by demonstrating and using the power it has. The only normalcy and stability it can have is that the Arabs will accept that it is not going anywhere. Something that had already been accomplished in the late seventies, only to be trashed by bleeding heart leftists in the nineties. Only by making it clear that it will not be destroyed, undermined or bullied into giving up, will that reassert itself.

The State of Israel exists in a violent and unstable part of the world. That violence will be part of its reality for as long as it is there. There should be no more land for peace or peace initiatives of any kind. They do far more harm than good. Like any bad neighborhood, the only thing to do is secure your property, keep watch over it, move along anyone who doesn't belong there, and keep a weapon handy at all times. Only then can you reach a limited understanding with the local gangs and even gain their respect. That is the regional reality. You don't achieve regional normalization by signing a few accords and turning over some land. Instead you do it by turning your presence into an indisputable fact. And if you work with that regional reality, then the regional reality will work with you.


Daniel Greenfield

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Hamas and Fatah: Different Tactics, Same Jihad

by Robert Spencer

George Wallace famously said long ago that there wasn’t a dime’s worth of difference between the Republican and Democratic parties, and that is even more true of Fatah and Hamas. Now that Hamas and Fatah have signed a reconciliation agreement, the entire State Department strategy for dealing with the Palestinians is in ruins – not that anyone has noticed.

For years, the Bush administration and then the Obama administration have worked from the premise that Fatah and its Palestinian Authority governments were the “moderates” that merited backing against the “extremists” of Hamas. It was a myopic, simplistic and naïve analysis from the beginning, and now it has been definitively exposed as such.

In reality, both groups share the same Islamic outlook towards Israel that makes peaceful coexistence with the Jewish State impossible. Both believe that no state ruled by non-Muslims on what they consider Muslim land has any legitimacy; there are no theological differences between them, but only relatively minor differences of strategy and of strictness in their observance of Islamic law that mainly arise from Fatah’s origins in Sixties-era socialism as opposed to Hamas’s birth as an explicitly Islamic movement. Fatah is also more inclined to be patient, while Hamas tends to be significantly less so. Fatah is willing to make deals with the Infidels as stepping stones to greater progress toward the ultimate goal; Hamas tends to see such deals as trimming, and prefers not to compromise even temporarily.

Thus the Hamas Charter, which was promulgated in 1988, quotes Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood, saying that “Israel will exist and will continue to exist until Islam will obliterate it, just as it obliterated others before it.” The PLO’s Palestine National Charter is twenty years older. It doesn’t mention Islam at all, but it nonetheless enunciates the same goal in different language: “The liberation of Palestine, from an Arab viewpoint, is a national (qawmi) duty and it attempts to repel the Zionist and imperialist aggression against the Arab homeland, and aims at the elimination of Zionism in Palestine.” This language was never revised even after the PLO recognized Israel in 1993.

The PLO Charter’s talk of “imperialist aggression” is redolent of the socialist milieu in which the PLO/Fatah was born. Over the years, however, this gave way to a steadily more Islamic perspective. Yasir Arafat began his career railing about imperialism and ended it calling for jihad. This trajectory reflected the resurgence of Islam as a political force; Saddam Hussein and other Arab leaders followed the same course over the same decades. Thus, while Hamas, which is an acronym for the Islamic Resistance Movement, was founded in the 1980s by Muslims who believed that the PLO was giving short shrift to the Islamic aspect of the Arab war against Israel, over the years, the distinctions between the two groups have become increasingly blurred.

For example, according to Palestinian Media Watch, last November the official Palestinian Authority television network broadcast a song by a jihadist singer named Amar Hasan, including these lyrics that deftly blend the old Arab nationalism of the PLO with the new and prevailing jihadist sentiment:

My brother! The oppressors [Israelis] have gone too far.
Therefore Jihad is a right, and self-sacrifice is a right.
Shall we let them steal the Arab nature -
the patriarchal glory and rule?
And only through the sound of the sword
They respond, with voice or echo.
Draw from the sheath your sword;
And let it not return.
My brother, my brother, Oh proud Arab
Today is our moment, not tomorrow.
My brother, the time of our nation’s sunrise has arrived,
[the time] for you to repel those who are misled
And bring renaissance to Islam.

This was by no means an isolated incident. In June 2010, the host of a children’s show on government-sanctioned Palestinian Authority television interviewed the four-year old son of a jihadist who was being held in an Israeli prison. The host asked the child: “The Jews are our enemies, right?” The boy agreed, of course.

In another notorious program, a mother cast the death of her son who had been killed in an Israeli defense action in terms of Islamic jihad theology: “We had always hoped for his [my son's] Martyrdom (Shahada), knowing he wanted to die as a Martyr (Shahid). Every time he went out, we would say to him, ‘May Allah be with you.’ We knew that he wanted to die as a Martyr. Praise to Allah, he sought Martyrdom, and he achieved it. My message to every mother is to sacrifice her child for Palestine.”

Not to be outdone, Hamas TV in January 2010 demonized Israeli settlers by depicting one exulting: “the most delicious thing is to kill Palestinians and drink their blood.” Fatah, meanwhile, tried to prove that it was just as bloodthirsty and murderous as Hamas, which used to celebrate its murders of Israeli civilians on its website as part of its “Glory Record” until it decided to try to win over international opinion by portraying itself as the beleaguered victim. In the summer of 2009, a Palestinian Authority television show featured a student who was aligned with Fatah taunting a Hamas-linked teacher for not killing enough Israelis: “Since Hamas seized power, we haven’t heard of any Martyrdom operation [suicide-bombing].” The student goes on to boast that “the first shot was fired by the PLO; the first Jihad was carried out by the PLO, with all the other factions – but Hamas always opposed.”

A senior leader of “moderate” Fatah, Muhammad Dahlan, let the cat out of the bag in March 2009 when he declared: “They always say that the Fatah movement wants Hamas to recognize Israel. This is a gross deception. And I want to say for the thousandth time, in my own name and in the name of all of my fellow members of the Fatah movement: We do not demand that the Hamas movement recognize Israel. On the contrary, we demand of the Hamas movement not to recognize Israel, because the Fatah movement does not recognize Israel, even today. [...] Therefore, no one can compete with us. We of the Fatah do not recognize Israel; we recognized [corrects himself] recognize that which the PLO recognized, but that does not obligate us as a Palestinian resistance faction.”

In other words, the PLO’s recognition of Israel was a sham to deceive the West; even Fatah, the largest faction of the PLO today, doesn’t consider itself obligated to abide by it, and thus it does not supersede the words of the Palestine National Charter that essentially call for the complete obliteration of Israel. This imperative has only been made clearer by the new alliance with Fatah and Hamas. They are coming together to wage their jihad against Israel more effectively.


Robert Spencer

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

Jewish Rights to "Palestine" According to International Law

Egypt's Revolution: What Happened?

by Tarek Heggy

A Description of What Happened:

There is a point at which a popular uprising -- or any popular movement - must be described as a revolution, and that is when it succeeds in rallying huge numbers under its banner and when it produces effects and brings about changes that impact strongly on the reality on the ground. The first condition was fully satisfied in the movement that began on January 25th, 2011: the number of Egyptian men and women who took to the streets to demand change ran into the millions. While Tahrir square was the scene of million-plus demonstrations in Cairo over many days, the size of countrywide demonstrations over several days ran to more than ten million.. Even taking into account the difference in the size of the population, the numbers were proportionally far greater than those who participated in the 1919 revolution or those who took to the streets in support of the army takeover on July 23rd, 1952. They were even far greater than the mass demonstrations which toppled the socialist era in the countries making up what was known as the eastern bloc. Thus the quantitative aspect attests to the fact that we witnessed the largest popular movement in Egypt's modern history, as well as one of the largest in the history of the world over the last two centuries.

As to the second condition that qualifies a movement to be called a revolution, namely, the effects it produces and the changes it brings about, there is no doubt that what began in Egypt on January 25th, 2011 brought about (and continues to bring about) huge and radical changes in Egyptian reality, the most important being the overthrow of the head of a regime that ruled Egypt with increasing repression for thirty years, attaining in the last ten one of the worst forms of an alliance between power and wealth.

In addition to toppling the head of state, the revolution shook the regime to its roots, even though many of its component elements not only still remain among us but are actively engaged in fomenting what can only be described as a counterrevolution. There is therefore no disputing the fact that the events which began in Egypt were a great, even a glorious, revolution. It was also a "white" revolution: the only blood spilt was at the hands of the regime and its cohorts, including a number of loyalist business tycoons.

Thus the January revolution in Egypt deserves the praise heaped on it by a large number of world leaders who did not stop at describing it as a great revolution but went on to talk admiringly of its resolve, dedication, brilliant organization and peacefulness. Some went as far as to propose that the Egyptian revolution be included as a subject on the curricula of their higher educational institutions.

Background to and Reasons for the Revolution:

Although no one can deny that the first half of President Mubarak's rule (1981 -1996) was marked by political repression and economic and social stagnation, there was no momentum for a revolution against the president as long as he was ruling Egypt on his own. During the second half of his period in power, however, his family, notably his wife and younger son, began to take an active part in ruling Egypt, involving themselves in all spheres of activity. The son established an oligarchy between some prominent members of the political power structure and a number of business tycoons. The influence and power of this coalition grew until it became the real ruler on the internal front (leaving foreign policy to the president). During those years, political repression and financial corruption attained levels never before experienced by Egyptians in their modern history. The coalition committed its fatal mistake in 2010 when the president's younger son helped the secretary-general of the ruling party (the president's party), Safwat Sherif, a man despised by all Egyptians, and the wealthy tycoon Ahmed Ezz, the son's close associate, to forge election results twice. The first time was for the Shura (upper house) elections; the second (and this was the more important) was for the People's Assembly elections, when they took over 98% of the seats for their followers, leaving 2% for the rest of Egypt. As far as the Egyptian people were concerned, this was the straw that broke the camel's back.

When the president succumbed to pressure from his family, specifically from his wife and younger son during the second half of his period in power, he set in motion a process that was to bring about his downfall. He began by allowing them to participate with him in managing the country's political, economic, social, cultural and educational affairs, gradually allowing them to virtually take over the running of the country while reserving for himself the foreign affairs portfolio. This led to the formation of an unholy alliance between power and money that engendered corruption in all spheres of life for a full decade and a half, culminating in the unprecedented rigging of the parliamentary elections. A few weeks after this latest chapter in the rampant corruption perpetuated by the coalition between power and money under Mubarak's rule, the flood gates of revolution

Was the Revolution Expected?

As someone who has lectured widely, I believe I am in a position to confirm that all the experts on the region believed Egypt was headed for a revolution. However, all of them (as well as the writer of this article) expected it to come either from the slums or the mosques. This proved not to be the case. The revolution was launched by young men and women of the middle class, most of them university graduates and all of them adept in the use of modern communications technology. Their grasp of this technology, notably the Internet, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter, provided them with a contemporary understanding of two concepts. The first is citizenship; the second the role of government. Most of the members of the computer generation have a better understanding of the rights of citizens than previous generations. At the same time, they know that governments are there to serve, not to rule; and they can clearly see the difference between governments that serve in advanced countries and those that rule in countries like Egypt.

January 25th, 2011:

In defiance of state security arsenals and an interior ministry swollen from 100,000 men in 1981 to over a million at the beginning of 2011, and despite extensive wiretapping and eavesdropping on all forms of electronic and tele­communications and tight state control over much of the media, the January Revolution was a well-organized movement from the start. Armed with a steely determination, people succeeded in mustering a mass following that was remarkably united across class, age and sectarian lines. These features of the revolution deserve to be studied in depth. They also deserve to be highly praised. When the police state shut off access to Facebook and the Internet, then text messages on cell phones and finally cell phones themselves, their attempts to abort the revolution backfired as popular indignation sparked even wider protests. A respectable state, one that respects its people, would never resort to such shameful acts; those who ordered the social media blackout must be brought to justice.

Despite the regime's best efforts, however, the revolution flowed on as relentlessly as if it were following a detailed musical score. In the final analysis, science defeated a primitive power structure out of touch with the realities of the age. The leaders of the Kifaya movement told me of their frustration over the years because of their inability to mobilize even a thousand people for a demonstration. Then out of the blue, as it were, the January 25th generation miraculously managed to organize a 1000-strong demonstration that swelled in just four days to a one-million strong revolution in Tahrir Square. These youngsters had simply managed to break the fear barrier, and they believed in themselves and in their message. At the same time, they knew that although their enemy appeared strong, it was in fact extremely weak.

A Revolution for Freedom, Not Bread:

While no one disputes the importance of ensuring decent living standards for all citizens, 'dignity" and "freedom," not "bread" and "job' were the catchwords and triggers of the revolution. there is a relationship between dignity and freedom on the one hand and bread and jobs on the other that the revolution's youth understood full well: The failure to provide all Egyptian citizens with decent living standards is the direct result of a political system that denied freedom to its people and stripped them of their dignity. People who enjoy freedom with dignity participate in political life; they can change their rulers and the rules by which they are governed, and eventually reach a stage in which all citizens enjoy equal rights to decent living standards with all that this term implies: housing, food, the right to marry and to found a family, medical treatment, and so on.

The Demands of the Revolution:

The demands of the revolution were predominantly political: freedom, dignity, participation and social justice. They were also limited to the domestic front. The revolutionaries did not attempt to deceive people with rousing slogans related to matters outside the national borders. Their main concern was to reform the country, not the world. Prioritizing goals and placing them in the right sequence is a sign of emotional maturity and mental equilibrium.

Secularism of the Revolution:

From the very first moment until the overthrow of the head of the regime, the revolution was purely secular in all its aspects. On the few occasions when some of the protesters attempted to raise religious slogans the majority would shout them down with cries of "secular…..secular".

Among the many achievements of this great revolution was that it exposed the real weight of the government of president Mubarak, of the opposition parties formed during his years in office and of the Muslim Brotherhood. The revolution showed the whole world that although there can be no denying the existence and influence of the Muslim Brotherhood, the regime had deliberately exaggerated its weight to frighten the world into believing Mubarak was the only alternative to a takeover by political Islam.

The Days of the Revolution:

Countless articles and books are sure to be written about the days of the revolution and the incidents that revealed the admirable qualities of the Egyptian people. However, as an eyewitness who was often in Tahrir Square during the revolution, I should like to record those aspects of the revolution that impressed me most. First, the Egyptian people focused on their goals with an iron resolve and an unwavering determination that many thought they had lost forever. Second, the prevailing mood in Tahrir square was marked by a degree of camaraderie, solidarity, harmony and warmth unprecedented in gatherings of this size and diversity anywhere in the world. Third, the heroism of the revolutionaries in standing up to the brutal force brought to bear on them by the regime, which attacked its people with weapons, cars, hired thugs on horseback and camels, Molotov cocktails and snipers. For close to three weeks the revolutionaries stood firm against these unrelenting attacks, displaying a fortitude as solid as the granite so beloved by the ancient Egyptians. When the history of this revolution is written it should record for posterity the crimes committed by the Mubarak regime against the peaceful protesters, such as its attempt to dispel them by launching a barbaric attack on Tahrir square using state security forces, a large number of former convicts and rampaging horses and camels normally used by tourists. The attack was orchestrated and funded by elements belonging to the two wings of the power establishment: the political and the financial. These people should spend their remaining days in prison, after being tried before regular courts of law, not the military tribunals the Mubarak regime used to try civilians.

The Dramatic Collapse of the Egyptian Police:

The revolution's early days witnessed a dramatic collapse of the Egyptian police force on which the former regime had spent tens of billions of pounds and which it had furnished with arms and equipment more suited to an army than a police force. The regime had also expanded its membership to over a million officers, patrolmen, policemen and conscripts. As the revolution unfolded, we saw the fall of this colossal organization, whose motto had been changed by its former chief, the deposed interior minister, from "to serve the people" to "to serve the regime." The brutality of the police force against the men and women of Egypt was what brought it to its knees. Still, I believe there were, and still are, honorable men in the police force who genuinely want to serve the nation and its citizens to the best of their ability. The leaders of this organization (the successive interior ministers appointed by Mubarak) and their leader (Mubarak himself), however, changed the orientation of this national organization, which shifted its main focus from security against crime to political security under the leadership of a succession of mediocre men with corrupt intentions.

I speak from personal experience, having come to know all the interior ministers who served in the last thirty years. It was these men, with their narrow vision and lack of any cultural dimension, who masterminded the incidents that were attributed to sectarian strife. Moreover, they used the emergency law for one purpose only: to protect the head of the regime, not Egypt and the Egyptian people. Many of the top cadres in the interior ministry over the least three decades helped the head of the regime propagate the big lie of his presidency: that his regime was the only alternative to the Islamist bogeymen. Given the absence of a cultural dimension in their makeup, and lacking a sense of history, the police leaderships brandished the Islamist threat to frighten the outside world and their own people into accepting the use of police measures exclusively, without any attempt to deal with the cultural or political dimensions of the phenomenon. The police measures to which they resorted were often illegal, marked by excessive force, downright brutality and a total disregard for basic human rights. In my opinion, all the blame should be directed against the head of the interior ministry, not against its officers and soldiers. They are sons of Egypt whose only fault is the policies, orientations and objectives that governed them in general, and Habib el-Adly in particular.

The Coalition of Power and Money:

Much can and should be revealed in detail to the Egyptian people about the negative features at every level of the past three decades.. But the worst of all, the one that impacted most negatively on their lives, was the coalition formed in the second half of the Mubarak presidency, from 1996 until January 25th, 2011, between some members of the power elite and a number of wealthy businessmen.

In the first half of the former president's years in power the coalition did not exist; it only began to take shape upon his younger son's return from Britain. The members of the coalition soon came to monopolize the country's political and economic life. They infiltrated the ruling party and, in addition to their control over the party as a whole, formed a powerful group within it that they called the Policies Committee. They then moved on to infiltrate a number of vital sectors. In the space of a few years, most banks were headed by coalition members. Their tentacles spread to the media, with many of their members placed at the head of leading press establishments and TV channels, so there would be no little influence on Egyptian public opinion.

At a later stage, the influence of this coalition spread to other important institutions, notably the universities. This was the curse that destroyed the Mubarak presidency and engendered the revolutionary spirit in the hearts and minds of Egypt's youth, who rose to bring one of the worst chapters in the country's modern history to an end.

No one can deny that the Egyptian people are performing a great service for their country and future generations by insisting on opening the political and economic files of the ousted regime and pushing for a thorough investigation into the many violations it committed which could, if the public prosecutor finds grounds for legal proceedings, lead to the incarceration of their perpetrators.

Anyone who violated the law in any way, anyone who plundered Egypt in any way, anyone who spread corruption in Egypt over the last three decades should be punished. In this connection, the definition of corruption must extend to include fortunes made by reason of connections to the power establishment.

The Regime's Concessions in Face of the Tidal Wave of Revolution:

It would seem that two factors, namely, a stupefyingly long period in power and a poor cultural formation, rendered the leaders of the former regime unable to understand the reality, magnitude, orientations, strength and determination of the January 25th revolution. This lack of understanding made some of them believe they were facing "demonstrations" that could be quelled through a carrot-and-stick approach. This meant using security measures while making some concessions, like removing the Nazif cabinet, then appointing a vice-president -- to fill a post the former president claimed that for a quarter of a century he had tried and failed to find someone worthy of occupying. The regime then announced first that the president, then that his son, would not be running in the presidential election in September 2011; removed the leadership of the National Democratic Party, the most hated institution in the country, then delegated some of the president's powers to the vice-president. These concessions attest to an unnerved regime's failure to understand what was happening. A revolution does not stop when a few crumbs, large or small, are thrown its way.

We must thank the president's son for forming the power/money coalition because had it not been for this particular outrage, the anger of the people would not have reached the critical mass necessary to spark a revolution that seemed to go against the nature of the Egyptians, who are noted for their resilient and fatalistic attitude to whatever the fates throw at them.

We must also thank those who failed to understand what happened on January 25th, 2011. Because had they realized what was really going on, even more innocent blood would have been spilt.

This in no way makes the regime's murder of more than three hundred Egyptian men and women any less horrifying; those who committed those crimes must be tried and executed.

The Former President's Speeches During the Revolution:

The three speeches delivered by the president during the revolution were most revealing in the way he thinks of his country and his people. The speeches showed an extreme stubbornness that can only be found in people with limited emotional abilities. They also revealed that the president sees himself as a benefactor who deserves gratitude for the many favors he bestowed on Egypt.

In all three speeches, he spoke down to the people, dispalying an arrogance that he had hitherto been careful to mask. The speeches showed an amazing detachment from reality. Not once did he refer to what was happening as a revolution; not once did he refer to the coalition between power and money that led to the revolution; not once did he refer to the rigging of the parliamentary elections, which was a slap in the face to the Egyptians. Nor did he utter a word of apology to the people for the crimes committed against them before and during the revolution. He did not apologize for the more than 300 peaceful protestors killed by his regime. Moreover, his speeches always came hours behind schedule, yet another sign of his lack of respect for his people. The last speech he made 24 hours before stepping down was the worst ever since he became president of Egypt on October 14th, 1981. Analysts and commentators will have much to say about the speeches and the lessons to be drawn from them.

Incomprehension .. Bluster .. Stubbornness – Downfall:

As the revolution unfolded, so too did a soap opera, starring the regime, play out in several episodes. The first was entitled "incomprehension," which led to the second, entitled "bluster." Those was followed by "stubbornness," a quality the former president was proud to admit to. This soap opera helped the revolution and the revolutionaries, who achieved their first victory when they heard the former president announce he was stepping down. The word "first" describes that victory, as the revolution has other objectives not been fully realized yet, but no less important than the removal of the head of the regime

The Downfall of the Head … The Regime Has Been Weakened, Not Toppled:

There is no doubt that the January 25th revolution succeeded on two counts:

It brought down the head of the regime and dealt a debilitating blow to the regime itself. But not all the regime's symbols and officials have gone away, nor has the spirit of the Mubarak era or the methods and aims of state institutions. These might be the only alternative to chaos and a political vacuum. But the next six months are what will determine whether the regime, even greatly weakened as it is and with its head removed, will spawn a new regime in the same mold and with the same characteristics, or whether the armed forces, the great hope of the Egyptian people, will succeed in administering matters in a way that will lead us to the beginning of an entirely new era on 14th October this year -- an era in which Egyptians will enjoy real political freedoms and participate in shaping their present and future in which corruption will retreat, and with it, the dominance of the power-and-money coalition; an era in which we will see a rotation of power, where leaders can be changed and held accountable, and governments are there only to serve the people.

The Armed Forces:

There is no doubt that the armed forces protected the revolution and the people as a whole from many evils which the head of the regime and the leaders of a number of his political and security agencies would not have hesitated to visit on them in order to remain in power. The armed forces protected Egypt from internal fighting and destruction; and all their decisions and actions testify to their patriotism and love for the people, as well as their determination to safeguard the public utilities and wealth of Egypt. The hope now is that the army will hand over power to a president elected in free and fair elections, and to a civilian government of competent individuals so that we can start a new and better era, with greater freedom, trust and transparency, an era in which everyone is accountable.


Tarek Heggy

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

Terror Ties of the MSA


CBN exposes how the MSA serves as a terror factory inside campuses across North America:


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

Israel Faces New Flotilla Threat

by P. David Hornik

It was a year ago on Tuesday that Israeli naval commandos intercepted the Mavi Marmara, one of a convoy of six ships that had sailed from Turkey with the aim of breaking Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza. The commandos, attacked with metal bars, clubs, and knives by a mob of jihadists from the terror-linked IHH organization, fought for their lives and killed nine of the assailants—sparking yet another round of international Israel-bashing and investigations.

Now, a year later, the same IHH is, along with the Free Gaza Movement, organizing another flotilla—and it’s supposed to set sail for Gaza toward the end of June.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, which is connected to military intelligence, published an explosive exposé on the new flotilla. IHH leader Bülent Yildirim and another senior figure in the organization, Hüseyin Oruç, say this one will be much larger—numbering 15 ships, including the Mavi Marmara again, and a total of 1500 passengers.

As with last year’s flotilla, the non-Turkish contingent can be expected to consist of leftist-NGO and other Western fellow travelers of the jihad, largely under the Free Gaza Movement’s aegis. Yildirim says members of Arab parliaments and anti-Israeli “Jews from around the globe” will also be on board.

The IHH claims that this time none of the passengers will have weapons, and that it is prepared for UN or European observers to inspect the flotilla’s cargo. The Meir Amit Center expresses “skepticism,” noting that

for the previous flotilla IHH also claimed that the luggage of the passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara had been inspected by the Turkish authorities as they boarded the ship in Istanbul. In reality, the “inspection,” if it was indeed carried out, was meaningless, because many weapons were loaded aboard the ship, as was military equipment and tools for making improvised weapons.

Some other reasons for skepticism that this new flotilla will be a pacific one:

• Shaheeds. In its major propaganda campaign for the new flotilla, the IHH has been “glamoriz[ing] the memory of the nine shaheeds… killed aboard the Mavi Marmara [last year], and instilling hatred for Israel.” Yildirim has also “made various incendiary speeches in which he stressed IHH’s determination to proceed with the flotilla, even at the price of additional shaheeds.”

• A “surprise.” In speeches, IHH members have also warned Israel that there will be a “surprise” this time. The Meir Amit Center thinks this could refer to a plane being sent to Gaza. “In a speech [Yildirim] gave on April 7, 2011, at a memorial service for the…Mavi Marmara [operatives], he said that the Gaza Strip would also be reached by air” and that “the organization was in the process of acquiring a plane[.]”

• The nature of the IHH. As the Meir Amit Center noted in an earlier bulletin, the IHH is a radically anti-Western, Islamist group “which in the past provided support for the global jihad.” In a May 5 press conference with other Turkish Islamist organizations in an Istanbul suburb, the IHH denounced the killing of Osama bin Laden by the United States. In a speech two months before the embarking of last year’s flotilla, Yildirim said: “the United States is killing Muslims…. NATO forces are killing Muslims…. China is killing Muslims…. Israel is killing Muslims…. A Muslim cannot be defeated by oppressors and infidels…. The day we agree to be the slaves of the West [is the day] we taste defeat…. If the owners of Al-Quds [Jerusalem] are Muslims, control of the world will be in Muslim hands.”

Israel is indeed not counting on any pacifism from the next flotilla. Israeli media have been reporting that Flotilla 13—the same naval-commando force that boarded the Mavi Marmara last year—has called up all of its reserves and been training intensively with the air force to confront the new threat. On Tuesday, it was further reported that Israel is preparing “surprises” of its own, and that—while the goal is to take over the ships nonviolently—“soldiers were under order to use force to neutralize armed danger and neutralize attackers if necessary.”

As Israeli chief of staff Benny Gantz noted, “The flotilla’s organizers want to provoke us, not to provide aid to Gaza. There is no humanitarian problem; hundreds of trucks of food and supplies enter Gaza every day.” Gaza’s situation was further eased by Egypt’s opening of the Rafah crossing this week, and the sole purpose of Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is to stop weapons from reaching Hamas, the anti-Israeli terror organization that runs it and repeatedly shells Israeli communities.

Israel has been striving hard to drive those points home on the diplomatic front, and so far with some success. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has asked governments to discourage activists from launching the new flotilla, and the United States and the European Union have also come out against it.

And where is Turkey in all this? The answer is that Turkey is not only doing nothing to discourage the venture but is, in effect, the force behind it.

As the Meir Amit Center notes in the same exposé, the “IHH and the flotilla project receive political, propaganda and logistical support from the Turkish government[.]” In a TV interview on May 21, Turkey’s Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu stated that “Turkey will give the necessary response to any repeated act of provocation by Israel on the high seas.” There could be no clearer endorsement of the new flotilla than that open threat.

If the expanded, 15-ship flotilla sails as planned, then, the stakes will be high. Turkey, which not long ago had close strategic ties with Israel, has under the Islamic AKP government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan been moving steadily toward hostility. With Israel also facing threats from civilian marches and a hostile post-Mubarak Egypt, its immediate environs are potentially explosive. Strong Western backing for Israel in defending itself against this second Turkish flotilla would send the right signal of resolve against the mounting jihadist tide. But it is hard to be optimistic.


P. David Hornik

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

Have Christians Gone Overboard in Outreach to Muslims?

by David J. Rusin

In the Muslim world, Islamists increasingly target Christians for persecution; in the Western world, Christians increasingly target Muslims for outreach. Extending a hand to followers of Islam can be praiseworthy, but the lengths to which some Christians have gone may come as a shock. Consider a few recent cases on the congregational level:

  • Muslims using churches for prayer. Last year, Muslims awaiting construction of their mosque accepted a neighborly offer to pray at Heartsong Church in Cordova, Tennessee. An analogous arrangement exists at Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Alexandria, Virginia. (Interestingly, each of the two Islamic communities is stained by radicalism: the first via Yasir Qadhi and the second via ICNA.) Opposition has grown rapidly, with Anglican priest Mark Durie contending that Muslim worship has "no place in a Christian church" due to Islam's differing view of Jesus and prayers that chide Christianity.

  • Christians distributing Korans. In response to Christian pastor Terry Jones burning the Islamic holy book on March 20, leaders of Salt Lake City's Wasatch Presbyterian Church pooled their money to purchase Korans, which later were passed out for free at an area store. This was done to help "push back against the lunatic fringe," said Russell Fericks of the church's governing board. "We're not afraid of the truth," he added.

  • Joint Christian-Muslim worship. On May 22, St. John's Episcopal Church in Montclair, New Jersey, held an interfaith service that reportedly began with the Muslim call to prayer and incorporated readings from the Koran — even during Communion. "I've grown concerned about the demonization of Muslims. I want Montclair to develop an understanding of the religion," Rev. Andrew Butler explained.

  • Half church, half mosque. A project in the Stockholm suburbs aims to graft a mosque onto an existing church. Bishop Bengt Wadensjö of the Church of Sweden, which owns the property, recently described this as a way to "demonstrate how people can get along together regardless of culture, language, or faith." The plan is to renovate the current facility, expand space rented by Catholics, sell land to a Muslim group, build an adjacent mosque, and link the structures through a "communal foyer" to create "God's House."

In addition, peculiar examples of individual Christian leaders reaching out to Muslims by mixing their faith with Islam include a Dutch Catholic bishop urging everyone to call God "Allah" in 2007, an American emergent church pastor joining the Ramadan fast in 2009, and an Episcopal minister in Missouri practicing aspects of Islam during this year's Lent.

There is nothing wrong with outreach to Muslims. However, when pursued in ways that come off as highly deferential and spiritually confused, it can embolden Islamists by suggesting that Christians are uncertain and weak. Encouraging tolerance of Muslims is laudable, but the unreciprocated trend of Christians effectively promoting Islam is troubling.


David J. Rusin

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Raped and Ransacked in the Muslim World

by Raymond Ibrahim

Huwaini: "When I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her"

Plundering the possessions, lives, and dignity of Christians in the Islamic world: is this a random affair, a product of the West's favorite offenders—poverty, ignorance, grievance—or is it systematic, complete with ideological backing?

Consider the very latest from the Muslim world:

  • Pakistan: Muslim landowners used tractors to plough over a Christian cemetery in order to seize the land illegally. A young Christian mother was raped by six men. "In both cases, police covered up for the culprits."
  • Iraq: A Christian youth was kidnapped and decapitated: his family could not pay the €70,000 ransom demanded by his abductors. "The murder was meant to intimidate Christians so that in the future they will more readily pay ransom demands."
  • Egypt: Christian girls continue to be abducted and forced into conversion or concubinage (which amount to the same thing) and "kept as virtual slaves."

None of this is surprising listening to popular Muslim preacher Abu Ishaq al-Huwaini:

If only we can conduct a jihadist invasion at least once a year or if possible twice or three times, then many people on earth would become Muslims. And if anyone prevents our dawa or stands in our way, then we must kill them or take as hostage and confiscate their wealth, women and children. Such battles will fill the pockets of the Mujahid who can return home with 3 or 4 slaves, 3 or 4 women and 3 or 4 children. This can be a profitable business if you multiply each head by 300 or 400 dirham. This can be like financial shelter whereby a jihadist, in time of financial need, can always sell one of these heads (meaning slavery) [translated by Nonie Darwish; original Arabic recording here].

Huwaini actually made these scandalous assertions some eighteen years ago. But because they were only recently exposed, he was invited to "clarify" his position on Hikma TV last week. Amazingly, though he began by saying his words were "taken out of context," he nonetheless reasserted, in even more blunt language, that Islam justifies plundering, enslaving, and raping the infidel. (Al Youm 7 has the entire interview, excerpts of which I translate below.)

According to Huwaini, after Muslims invade and conquer a non-Muslim nation—in the course of waging an offensive jihad—the properties and persons of those infidels who refuse to convert or pay jizya and live as subjugated dhimmis, are to be seized as ghanima or "spoils of war."

Huwaini cited the Koran as his authority—boasting that it has an entire chapter named "spoils"—and the sunna of Muhammad, specifically as recorded in the famous Sahih Muslim hadith wherein the prophet ordered the Muslim armies to offer non-Muslims three choices: conversion, subjugation, or death/enslavement.

Huwaini said that infidel captives, the "spoils of war," are to be distributed among the Muslim combatants (i.e., jihadists) and taken to "the slave market, where slave-girls and concubines are sold." He referred to these latter by their dehumanizing name in the Koran, ma malakat aymanukum—"what your right hands possess"—in this context, sex-slaves: "You go to the market and buy her, and she becomes like your legal mate—though without a contract, a guardian, or any of that stuff—and this is agreed upon by the ulema."

"In other words," Huwaini concluded, "when I want a sex-slave, I go to the market and pick whichever female I desire and buy her."

Lest Muslims begin attacking all and sundry, however, Huwaini was careful to stress that Islam forbids Muslims from plundering and enslaving nominal or even "heretical" Muslims, such as Shias. He used the Iran-Iraq war as an example, saying that a Sunni man is not permitted to enslave and abuse a Shia woman, "for she is still a Muslim and thus considered free."

Unfortunately Huwaini's position is not "radical." One is reminded of when Sheikh Gamal Qutb was asked on live TV if Islam permits men to rape their female captives. The one-time grand mufti of Islam's most authoritative university, Al Azhar—the institution that once gave us the "adult breast-feeding" fatwa—refused to answer and, when pressed, became hostile and stormed off the set.

Let us now return to the atrocities that opened this article and ask: In light of the above, is it any wonder that Christians under Islam are routinely raped and ransacked, even as the "humanitarian" West yawns?


Raymond Ibrahim is associate director of the Middle East Forum
Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Islamic Schools of Child Sexual Abuse

by Frank Crimi

Recently released American diplomatic cables have revealed Saudi Arabian and United Arab Emirate donors to be spending $100 million a year to fund a Pakistani network of jihadist religious schools. While these Islamic schools — known as madrassas — are better known as places to recruit and train young boys and girls as terrorist fighters and suicide bombers, they have other equally disturbing uses.

Madrassas have been cited as major links to terrorist organizations, providing militant groups juvenile recruits, organizational bases, transit points and military training. While wealthy Arab donors have long been suspected of funding them, the diplomatic documents also pointed to direct active support by both the Saudi Arabian and UAE governments.

Most of the funds in question were sent to madrassas in Pakistan’s Punjab province. Despite a reputation as the most moderate of Pakistani provinces, reports from 2008 have claimed anywhere from 5,000 to 9,000 Punjab children to be fighting in Afghanistan.

In either case, the Pakistanis, according to the cables, reportedly turned a fearful blind eye to the issue, stating “The provincial and federal governments, while fully aware of the problem, appear to fear direct confrontation with these extremist groups.”

According to the cable the juveniles — as young as age 8 — were being recruited from mostly large, poverty stricken families. As such, each child’s family would receive a $6500 compensation as well as “God’s favor,” if the child happened to be martyred along the way.

Once enrolled in the madrassa, children would then be isolated from direct contact with the outside world and “taught sectarian extremism and hatred for non-Muslims.” After several months of indoctrination, they would then be sent to more established training camps before going on to wage jihad, either as combat insurgents or as suicide bombers.

So successful are madrassas as jihad producers that it has been reported that all the leaders and cadres of the Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP), Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (LeJ), and Lashkar-e-Tayyaba (LeT); 90 percent of the Taliban’s leaders and cadres; and 70 percent of the leaders and cadres of the Harkat-ul-Mujahideen (HUM) and the Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (HUJI) are madrassa alumni.

As centers of anti-Western hate, madrassas litter the entire Muslim world, but the ones in Pakistan are the most extensive and well organized. While Pakistan’s government accounts for 11,221 registered madrassas, the estimates of unregistered madrassas range from 20,000 to 45,000 with a student population between 1.1 and to 1.9 million.

Moreover, Pakistan’s Islamic jihadist schools are home to the largest contingent of foreign nationals, hailing from such places as Afghanistan, Malaysia, Thailand, Myanmar, Uzbekistan, Chechnya, Yemen, Somalia, Bangladesh, Tanzania, Australia, Western Europe and North America.

Of course, not all madrassa graduates go back to their respective countries as motivated jihadi terrorists. Instead, they utilize a clerical role in the mosques of their respective countries to preach hatred against the West and the killing of Jews and Christians.

However, one former madrassa graduate said that there are distinct differences between the types of graduate the madrassas actually produce. To that end, a madrassa is more prone to graduate “cannon fodder for the Taliban and local sectarian thugs” and not technically literate terrorists who “plan al Qaeda operations around the world.”

Part of that result comes from the economically and technology stagnant background of most madrassa recruits. Unfortunately, the other part comes from the fact that many madrassas have less to do with promoting jihad than in promoting the sexual predilections of its leaders.

Despite its reputation as a jihad incubator, many argue that madrassas are nothing more than fronts for a serial collection of sexual predators and pedophiles, places where beatings, rape and imprisonment are common.

For example, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan claimed one 11-year old boy was routinely beaten with iron rods at a madrassa in the northern Pakistani city of Faisalabad and was chained when he tried to escape. While the madrassa teacher denied the torture allegations, he did admit “it is a practice to chain students.”

Disturbing recent reports from some of Pakistan’s madrassas include a 12-year old boy scarred with a hot iron for refusing sexual advances by a teacher; a 14-year old boy drenched in acid for refusing sexual intercourse with a cleric; and a 3-year old sexually assaulted by a teacher.

Compounding the horrific issue is that some of the children’s parents often don’t know the true intent of his child’s madrassa. One man recently sent his 16 year old to the Qayum Jan madrassa in northwest Pakistan thinking he was going to graduate as a “Muslim service provider” only to receive news that his son had gone off to kill himself as a suicide bomber.

One illiterate father had thought he had signed a document giving his family “charity money” but instead had signed a marriage certificate betrothing his 9-year old daughter to the head cleric of her school.

While Asma Jehanghir, chairwoman of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan, has said “The mullahs think they are above the law… We have to break this wall of silence.”

It’s much easier said then done. As one Pakistani official said, “It’s often easier to tackle Islamic militants than to confront the cultural taboo on publicly airing alleged sex crimes and challenging influential clerics.”

To illustrate that point, one 13-year old Pakistani boy who had complained of being sodomized for several weeks by an instructor, reported the incident when doctors found signs of sodomy on his body. However, when the cleric in question was taken into custody, several hundred of his supporters stormed the jail and secured his release.

While Arab fundamentalists believe that their financing of madrassas constitute a well-placed investment in the destruction of the West, it has also sustained the corruption and destruction of an entire generation of their own children. Sadly, it’s a price they are more than willing to pay.


Frank Crimi

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

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