Friday, December 2, 2011

US Senate OK's Sanctions on Iran Central Bank


by Reuters

WASHINGTON - The US Senate unanimously approved tougher sanctions against Iran on Thursday, voting to penalize foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank, the main conduit for its oil revenues.

The Senate acted despite warnings from Obama administration officials who said threatening US allies might not be the best way to get their cooperation in action against Iran.

Administration officials said they were indeed looking to sanction Iran's central bank, but in a calibrated manner, to avoid roiling oil markets or antagonizing allies.

The United States already bars its own banks from dealing with the Iranian central bank, so US sanctions would operate by dissuading other foreign banks from doing so by threatening to cut them off from the US financial system.

The United States and its Western allies have supported multiple rounds of sanctions on Iran, seeking to persuade it to curtail its nuclear work. Washington suspects Tehran of using its civilian nuclear program to develop an atomic bomb, although Iran says its program is solely to produce electricity.

The Senate voted 100-0 for an amendment sponsored by Senator Robert Menendez, a Democrat, and Senator Mark Kirk, a Republican, that would allow the US president to sanction foreign banks found to have carried out a "significant financial transaction with the Central Bank of Iran."

"We seek to break the stable financial intermediary in between Iranian oil contracts and the outside world, so that it will just be easier to buy oil from elsewhere," Kirk said in debate this week.

The sanctions were approved as an amendment to a huge defense bill that passed later on Thursday in the Senate. Similar provisions have passed a House of Representatives committee, increasing the likelihood that some version will be sent to Obama for his signature into law -- or possible veto.

On Nov. 21, the United States, Britain and Canada announced new sanctions on Iran's energy and financial sectors, but the Obama administration stopped short of targeting Iran's central bank, a step that US officials said could send oil prices skyrocketing and jeopardized global economic recovery.

"The Obama administration strongly supports increasing the pressure on Iran, and that includes properly designed and targeted sanctions against the central bank of Iran, appropriately timed as part of a carefully phased and sustainable policy toward bringing about Iranian compliance with its obligations," US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee earlier on Thursday, several hours before the Senate vote.

Senate move gives world oil markets time to adjust

The Senate amendment provides a six-month grace period before sanctions would kick in for petroleum transactions with Iran's Central Bank, a move that appeared designed to give world oil markets time to adjust.

It includes a "waiver" letting the president suspend the sanctions if he deems it vital to US national security.

"Our judgment is that the best course to pursue at this time is not to apply a mechanism that puts at risk the largest financial institutions, the central banks, of our closest allies," Undersecretary of the Treasury David Cohen told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Sherman and Cohen drew a rebuke from Menendez, who argued he had agreed to make changes in the amendment to suit the Obama administration only to find that it still rejected the legislation.

"I am extremely disappointed," Menendez said. "At your request, we engaged in an effort to come to a bipartisan agreement that I think is fair and balanced and now you come here and vitiate that very agreement."

"You should have said we want no amendment, not that you don't care for that amendment," he added.

The Obama administration's chief concerns appear to be that the amendment could be a blunt instrument that might send oil prices higher and undercut support for sanctions among US allies, whose backing has been vital to pass four U.N. Security Council sanctions resolutions against Iran.

While the Obama administration steps carefully, some countries in Europe are seeking to push forward a Europe-wide boycott of Iranian crude imports. EU foreign ministers in Brussels failed on Thursday to move forward with a plan backed by France and Britain to ban shipments, but agreed to examine expanding sanctions.

Tightening financial sanctions have already complicated Iran's oil trade. Last December, India's central bank scrapped a clearing house system with Iran, forcing refiners to scramble to arrange other means of payment in order to keep shipments flowing.

It is unclear whether further sanctions on financial dealings would affect shipments to countries like China, Iran's biggest buyer.


Reuters

Source: http://www.jpost.com/IranianThreat/News/Article.aspx?id=247858

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

Muslim Brotherhood Rising


by Rick Moran

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party appeared to be a big winner in the first round of parliamentary elections held in Egypt on Monday and Tuesday. Early returns suggest the FJP captured as much as 40% of the vote with a surprisingly strong showing from the Salifist al-Nour party. The two Islamist parties together could very well make an absolute majority of 65% of the parliament, which means if voting continues along these lines during the rest of the complex process, it is likely that the first freely elected parliament in Egypt’s history will be run by radical Muslims.

The military congratulated itself on how smoothly the vote went despite apparent blatant electioneering at most polling sites by the Muslim Brotherhood and other parties, which is against the law. It hardly mattered since it was clear that the FJP was going to get a large plurality of the vote simply because it was the only party with any name recognition. As soon as it became apparent that the FJP was going to surpass pre-election expectations, the Muslim Brotherhood turned on its erstwhile allies on the military council, calling for an early transfer of power to civilian authorities.

Also accepting the results, albeit with fear and trepidation, were Egypt’s Coptic Christians who fear that an Islamist government will be even harsher than the current military regime has been.

As for the protestors in Tahrir Square, their credibility suffered a blow as the elections appeared to be conducted in a mostly fair and free manner. The National Democratic Institute, which oversaw the foreign observers who monitored the election, issued a statement praising the vote but suggesting that the blatant violations of election laws regarding campaigning at polling spots be better enforced. And while the young activists who brought down the Mubarak regime earlier in the year urged a boycott of the elections, authorities estimated that up to 70% of eligible voters in the 9 provinces that voted this week turned out to cast ballots. Two more rounds of elections in the other 18 provinces — 9 at a time – will be held in the coming weeks with runoff elections for candidates not receiving 50% of the vote held one week after the initial voting.

The complexity of the voting process played right into the hands of the FJP. Voters had to choose two individual candidates and one party list or their ballot would be invalidated. Because of its many decades of charity work with the Egyptian poor, the Brotherhood had a ready-made base of support which it capitalized on by setting up “information” booths right next to polling stations to help voters — many of whom were illiterate — in choosing who to cast their ballots for. The Associated Press described one such “information” center:

Outside polling stations around the country, Brotherhood activists were set up with laptop computers in booths, helping voters find their district and voter numbers — which they wrote on cards advertising the party’s candidates. Elsewhere, they posted activists outside to wave banners, pass out flyers or simply chat up voters waiting in line.

For the illiterate, there were symbols next to which they could mark their ballot. And the FJP made sure that the voters knew which symbols stood for the Brotherhood candidates.

The confusion over who was running and what the parties stood for didn’t help the largest secular mix of parties, the Egyptian Bloc, which is composed of neo-liberal Free Egyptians; the socialist Gathering party; and the Egyptian Socialist Democrats. The better known but even smaller Wafd party, a Mubarak-era organization of liberals and academics, apparently didn’t have much of a showing either. Dr. Barry Rubin points out that the secularists wasted their energy in protesting military rule rather than organizing, uniting, and getting out the vote. Given the several decade head start in organizing that the Brotherhood enjoyed, they may not have won, but they certainly would have had a better showing and a chance for larger representation at the table when negotiations over forming the new government begin.

Besides patting themselves on the back for conducting the elections on time, the generals were expressing their pleasure at the size of the turnout. Major Gen. Mukhtar al-Mulla, a member of the ruling council, said the vote “responds to all those who were skeptical that elections will take place on time.” He added that the turnout was “unprecedented in the history of the Arab world’s parliamentary life.”

Perhaps the size of the turnout had something to do with the fine of 500 Egyptian pounds — around $85 — that the military will impose on those who did not cast their ballots. In a country where nearly half the people earn less than a dollar a day, the fine may have convinced most of them to make it to the polls. In Alexandria, the Globe and Mail reports that people brought their elderly parents to the polls, standing in line with them so they could avoid paying the fine. “You think any of these candidates can change anything? Of course not. Ask anyone here – wouldn’t see these lines without the fine,” said one voter.

Now that the Brotherhood is on the cusp of seizing power, what is it exactly it wants to do with it? Prior to the vote, the Brotherhood backed the military’s position on the Tahrir Square protestors, withdrawing its supports of the latest demonstrations early on. It made a deal with the military to move up the presidential election from July of 2013 to July of 2012. The Brotherhood also negotiated the electoral process itself and steered clear of suggesting an early return to civilian rule.

But the coming electoral victory appears to have emboldened the Islamists. Despite what FJP leaders say was a “convergence” of interests with the military in the past, the party is now demanding the right to form a government without interference from the military, and subsequently choose a civilian cabinet. This almost certainly won’t sit well with the military council because it is likely that parliament would want to set up its own process for writing a new constitution — a deadly threat to the military, which has made it clear it will tolerate no scrutiny of its budget, no change in the economic advantages members hold, and will expect to have a strong voice in running the new parliament.

“The Brotherhood wants a strong parliament and the military council wants a weak one. The reason the Brotherhood fought for parliament is because they’re going to use it as an agent of change,” says Shadi Hamid, director of research at the Brookings Doha Center in Qatar. He adds that the path the FJP has chosen has put it on a collision course with the military.

That change is what has Egypt’s 10 million Coptic Christians so worried. Since Mubarak’s ouster, many violent incidents have taken place pitting extremist Muslims against the small Coptic communities. There have been murders of clergy, church burnings, oppression by local government officials, and just last month, a demonstration by Copts in Cairo that saw the military actually open fire on the demonstrators and run them over with armored personnel carriers. The violence has driven 100,000 Coptic families from the country with more leaving every month.

But the Copts have been in Egypt since the first century AD and most of them have no intention of leaving. Father Ishak, a priest at a Cairo church said, “We picked the Egyptian Bloc because it’s the most liberal group and because they are against religious parties, including the Muslim Brotherhood.” He added, “And if elections are free and fair, it will mean that Copts are more clearly represented and be more active in building a new Egypt.”

The Brotherhood will probably move cautiously in fulfilling its Islamist agenda. The military is still very powerful and is opposed to the idea of Egypt becoming an Islamic state. To protect its position in Egyptian society, it might resort to armed force. This will make the FJP’s job doubly difficult because the party has promised free market reforms that would put a crimp in the military’s control of the economy. Rather than give the military an excuse to kick it out, it is more likely that the FJP will follow the example of the Turkish Justice and Development party that has gradually established control over the courts, the parliament, and finally the military since its victory in 2002.

A new day dawns in Egypt. Elections are a fine and wonderful thing, but elevating the Muslim Brotherhood to power, whose hatred of Israel and whose real agenda is undemocratic and injurious to personal freedom, will undoubtedly usher in a dark age after the dawn, which the Egyptian people will come to bitterly regret.

Rick Moran

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/12/01/islamists-dominate-egyptian-elections/

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

Conspiracies, Terrorist Defense Videoed at Anti NYPD Rally


by IPT News

Muslim Americans teamed up with Occupy Wall Street protesters to march toward the New York Police headquarters Nov. 18 in a demonstration against NYPD and CIA tactics and repression of Muslim American communities.

They defended convicted terrorists as victims of entrapment and abusive treatment, including one convicted of trying to kill American troops and FBI agents in Afghanistan.

One speaker, an attorney, said she was "counting on the media to also help us investigate and expose the vicious Stasi-like tactics of the NYPD." The Stasi were East Germany's brutal secret police.

Another dismissed mosque leaders who work with law enforcement as "Uncle Toms."

The statements were in response to a series of media reports portraying the NYPD engaging in vast surveillance programs with the city's Muslim community, sending informants into mosques, using demographic profiling and other perceived abuses.

But the rally strayed far beyond such grievances, casting all law enforcement actions as invalid and somehow threatening. Dawud Walid, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Michigan chapter, told the crowd of about 200 that it was time to push back.

"We're not gonna sit with you for these bogus iftar dinners where you, say, have a little hummus and some dates with us and then you're sending these informants into our [mosques] and Arab and Muslim organizations. Enough is enough," Walid said. "And we need to start calling out, you know back in the old days the Uncle Toms were normally my color. These days we have Pakistani Uncle Toms, Arab Uncle Toms, we have Uncle Toms masquerading as imams, Indonesian and Malaysian Uncle Toms. And we need to call them out. And these people are trying to speak on behalf of the community, when they try to go off to the powers that be for these photo [opportunities] … We as a community should rise up and say this Uncle Tom and Aunt Jemima does not represent the interests of the [mosques] and Arab organizations. Enough is enough."

CAIR's New York chapter was among the demonstration's sponsors. Joining it were the Muslim American Society's New York chapter, the Islamic Leadership Council of New York, the Islamic Circle of North America, Muslim Alliance in North America, and the Muslim Peace Coalition USA.

Their chosen speakers included several advocates of conspiracy theories targeting Muslims. Among them:

· The lawyer, Lamis Deek, who tells Muslims the Mossad is roaming the streets of America and that the FBI will break the law to set them up.

· An imam, Talib El Hajj Abdur-Rashid, who takes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's side that the Holocaust is exaggerated, and who has a history of defending convicted terrorists.

· Mauri Salaakhan, a writer who thinks Zionists control Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress, and that Israel is responsible for the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

· Walid, who thinks an imam who was killed after he fired first on approaching FBI agents, was a victim of excessive force.

Muslims convicted in American courts are victims, too, speakers told the crowd. Relatives of defendants in two homegrown terrorist plots involving FBI informants spoke of the injustice they believe was done to their loved ones.

"These mens (sic) are doing 25 right now for a case that was manufactured by our God damn Justice Department," said Alicia McWilliams, aunt of David Williams. He was among four men convicted of plotting to blow up a synagogue and target National Guard aircraft. "… And I say hell to Bloomberg. Commissioner Kelly – you knew this case was manufactured … I say hell to the judges. When the government start losing its integrities (sic) and its morals and its ethics, we as a people have to stand up."

While the presiding trial judge was critical of the informant's behavior in the case, she upheld the convictions, finding the defendants had a predisposition "to commit violent terrorist acts against Jews and American government facilities" before the informant entered the picture. Williams, she wrote, "immediately and enthusiastically entered into planning the criminal venture."

Similarly, speaker Mauri Salaakhan called the case of Aafia Siddiqui "the heaviest on my heart of all the cases I've ever dealt with." Siddiqui, an MIT-educated neuroscientist, is serving an 86-year prison sentence for attempting to murder U.S. soldiers and law enforcement officials trying to interview her in Afghanistan in 2008.

Siddiqui blamed Israel for her conviction and demanded that all Jews be excluded from her jury. Her attorneys claim she had been tortured. At the rally, Salaakhan asserted she continues to be mistreated.

"And right now this Muslim woman, this sister of ours, is sitting on a military base in a prison hospital and they are trying to drive this woman into committing suicide or moving her toward a slow, agonizing death," he said. "We should not allow this to happen in silence. We must stand up and we must defend her."

Salaakhan has embraced wild conspiracy theories in the past.

In his book, The Palestinians' Holocaust: American Perspectives, he claimed that the "Jewish-Zionist lobby" in America is so pervasive it controls Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim elected to Congress. He also likened conditions in Gaza to Nazi concentration camps, and cast the Darfur genocide as an exaggeration pushed by Israel.

Attorney Lamis Deek, a member of CAIR-NY's board, kicked off the rally, predicting it would make history as the start of a campaign ending the marginalization of Muslims in America. "This is our first message to the state security apparatus that across the world is falling apart, and we demand that it behave properly here today," she said. "End the state security apparatus. Bring the money back to the people. Build our schools. That's what we're here to say."

She twice condemned the purported "Stasi-like" tactics of the New York police. Deek is known for invoking frightening images in advising audiences to fear law enforcement. FBI agents "will do anything, anything within their power and oftentimes beyond their power to get you to talk," Deek said during an April presentation. "They will threaten you. OK? I've had one case where they tried to blackmail my client, I mean blackmail, seriously blackmail; that's illegal. But they'll do it."

Deek also was actively involved in supporting Viva Palestina, a pro-Hamas aid convoy organized by former British MP George Galloway, through her role as a co-founder of Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition. During a July 2009 fundraiser in Brooklyn, Deek said the convoy's aim was political, not charitable.

Part of that goal was an attempt to legitimize Hamas, a terrorist group, as a legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. Her comments seemed to endorse the Hamas charter and its call for a Palestinian state replacing Israel. "In choosing Hamas, what they chose was one united Palestinian state on all of the 1948 territories from the north to the very south. That is what Palestinians chose. And in supporting Palestinian choice we are saying we support their right to liberation from violent colonialism."

Also speaking at the rally was Imam Talib El Hajj Abdur-Rashid, popularly known as Imam Talib, the president of the Islamic Leadership Council of New York. Like Walid, he tried to discredit Muslims who cooperate with law enforcement.

"You're (Bloomberg and Ray Kelly) doing yourselves and the city of New York a disservice by only talking to Muslims who tell you what you want to hear. You're doing yourself and this city a disservice by only dealing with Muslims who call you boss, I mean literally, by only dealing with Muslims whose idea of success in America is getting a photo op with you," Talib said.

He, too, has a history of defending of convicted terrorists.

Long after Sami Al-Arian pleaded guilty to conspiring to provide goods or services the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Talib described him as "someone who has committed no crime other than to have perhaps a political view that differs … And in America even that is not supposed to be a crime."

Talib similarly defended Jami Abdullah Al-Amin, also known as H. Rapp Brown, who was convicted of killing a police officer in Atlanta, Georgia in 2002. Talib is a member of the National Committee to Free Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin.

Prosecutors argued that Al-Amin was part of a movement of African-American converts to Islam, who wanted a separate Sharia-governed state within the United States.

"The incarceration of Imam Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin is the latest stage in a pattern of harassment, frame-ups and setups of him by the U.S. government," Talib told the New Amsterdam News in 2001. "The pattern stretches over approximately 40 years and is designed to neutralize his effectiveness as a leader to negate the unique dimension of his contributions to the struggle of oppressed peoples and a Muslim freedom fighter born and raised in America."

In his remarks at the New York demonstration, Walid defended a follower of Al-Amin's, who died in 2009 after opening fire on FBI agents who came to arrest him on a criminal complaint. Luqman Abdullah preached violence and urged his followers not to surrender peacefully to police.

Walid spent more than a year trying to cast Abdullah's death as unjust, but investigations by state and federal authorities found agents acted appropriately. In addition, a videotape showed Abdullah concealing his gun as agents approached. Two years later, though, Walid still blames law enforcement for Abdullah's decisions.

"I had a colleague of mine two years ago, a Muslim leader who was killed through one of these joint terrorism task forces, Imam Luqman Ameen Abdullah [who] was shot 21 times including shot in the back by the FBI along with a raid coordinated by the Dearborn and Detroit Police Department, it's personal for me," Walid said at the rally.

No one at the rally mentioned failed terrorist plots in New York City, including the attempted Times Square bombing or Najibullah Zazi's plot to bomb subway stations. Rather, they chose to castigate those Muslims who try to work with law enforcement, concocted arguments to excuse the convictions of would-be terrorists, and likened their situation to one of the most severe police states in history.

IPT News

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3304/conspiracies-terrorist-defense-at-anti-nypd-rally

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

Lebanon: Hezbollah Digs In


by Shoshana Bryen

Hezbollah is the Shiite outpost of Iran on the Mediterranean, largely supplied through Syria, Iran's ally, while training and on-the-ground-assistance is supplied by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC]. While parts of Lebanon –- a "semi-sovereign" country -- are occupied by Palestinian refugee camps that are "no go zones" for the government, the south is occupied by Hezbollah, as is the Lebanese government since Hezbollah shot its way into the Cabinet after the last election.

Even as the Obama administration has been acknowledging the steady growth of Hezbollah's arsenal in both size and sophistication, it has been aiding in the growth and sophistication of the Lebanese Armed Forces [LAF], the Army of the (now Hezbollah-dominated) Beirut government, which is supplied in no small measure by the United States and France. The administration has provided the LAF equipment – including night vision equipment and mini-UAVs – previously reserved for NATO countries and close allies. This gives Hezbollah at least partial control of two armies – one above ground, one largely under.

In May 2010, The United States Central Command (CENTCOM) announced the delivery of an arms shipment to the LAF that included, "1,000 M16A4 rifles, 10 missile launchers, 1,583 grenade launchers, and 538 sets of day/night binoculars and night-vision devices. This equipment will be supported with training provided by the United States government. The United States is committed to providing assistance to the LAF to help them increase their capacity." Defense Industry Daily reported shortly thereafter that the US had supplied mini-Unmanned Arial Vehicles, helicopters and surplus M-60A3 main battle tanks.[1]

Three months later, LAF soldiers fired across the border into Israel, killing one IDF officer and wounding another. Congress temporarily withheld support from the LAF.

With insurrection in Syria potentially severing the supply line from Iran, it is worth considering how Hezbollah may use assets from each military service to survive. And, given Iran's enormous investment in Hezbollah, it is more worth considering whether Hezbollah would try to raise its profile in Lebanon – or complete its takeover – to ensure that Iran's investment is not wasted. The next Hezbollah war may not be against Israel.

Hezbollah's specialty is "digging in." In late June 2006, a group of American military professionals stood on the Israel/Lebanon border looking north. Their IDF escort – and owner of a B&B in the Upper Galilee – said things had not been so peaceful in the North since Israel's withdrawal from Lebanon in 2000. Tourism was up, he said, Hezbollah was quiet and life was good. A retired US Special Forces general was skeptical. "Too quiet," he said. "That is when you worry." [2]

Two weeks later, Hezbollah launched a 34-day war that rained missiles on Israel from beginning to end. Rockets filled with ball bearings to increase their lethality landed on Haifa neighborhoods. The Israeli Foreign Ministry reported 44 Israeli civilians and 119 IDF soldiers killed in the war.[3] Although Israel inflicted devastating losses on Hezbollah's fighters[4] the result was understood as a loss for Israel and IDF prestige.[5]

Hezbollah has been largely quiet since then, but quiet is no longer mistaken for peaceful.

The IDF revamped its doctrine and engaged in new training designed to deal with the small rocket problem.[6] Israel has been using drones to monitor the situation as Hezbollah built arms depots within southern Lebanese villages in violation of UN Resolution 1701 that ended the 2006 war. The multinational UNIFIL force is charged with ensuring that no arms other than those of the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) are maintained south of the Litani River. However, as UNIFIL representatives watched the Israeli drone footage during meetings with American security groups in 2010 and 2011, they took the position a) that it was not happening and b) if it was, Hezbollah was planning for the defense of the villages against Israeli incursion.[7]

Periodic explosions in southern Lebanon are attributed by Israel to "work accidents" in the depots; attributed by the Lebanese government to Israel; and by UNIFIL and Hezbollah to, well, to nothing actually. Following three such explosions in 2010,[8] UNIFIL and the LAF were denied entrance to the affected villages by Hezbollah and, according to the Israeli Foreign Ministry, neither UNIFIL nor the LAF inspected Hezbollah trucks leaving the area after the explosion.[9]

In March 2011, with Hezbollah still firmly in the government drivers' seat in Beirut, Secretary of State Clinton told Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the US should continue to fund the LAF because the army, "cooperates with the United Nations mission in the south, to try to keep the peace there… We worry that if the United States does not continue supporting the Lebanese armed forces, its capabilities will rapidly deteriorate, security in the south and along the border with Israel will be at risk."[10]

Three weeks later, the IDF took the unusual step of releasing a map showing what it said were nearly 1,000 arms and ammunition caches south of the Litani, many inside the Lebanese villages loyal to Hezbollah.[11] Israel warned the Lebanese – and the United States – that it would consider Beirut complicit in any new attacks by Hezbollah on Israel.

That brings the story almost up to date as conditions in Syria continue to deteriorate and Hezbollah compensates.

In June of this year, Haaretz reported that, according to Le Figaro, Hezbollah was transporting missiles, including "Iranian-produced Zilzal, Fajr-3 and Fajr-4 missiles," from Syria into Lebanon for fear that the Assad regime would fall.[12]

Even as Assad remains in power, Syrian army units loyal to the government have been laying mines along the Lebanon-Syria border to keep deserting Syrian soldiers from taking refuge in Lebanon and possibly launching attacks from there.[13] If they finish the job, Hezbollah will be cut off from its Iranian-filled depots. Hezbollah is in a race to collect what it can and move it across the border before the Syrians seal the whole length – whether Assad survives or not.[14]

Haste, of course, makes accidents.

Last week the Lebanese newspaper The Daily Star reported a "huge blast" in the south. Lebanese military sources said it was probably a leftover land mine or cluster bomb from the 2006 war but acknowledged that the LAF – touted by Mrs. Clinton as an asset for the UN and protection for Israel – was again kept from the site by Hezbollah security. UNIFIL representatives said they only heard about it on the news.[15]

Almost simultaneously, Hezbollah reported decimating a CIA spy ring in Lebanon and capturing assets.[16] The coup was apparently the result of slow and steady counterintelligence work – following suspects, tracking cell phone usage and drop sites – much the same way Hezbollah claimed to have broken up an Israeli spy ring in 2009. Hezbollah then said the spies for Israel worked largely in Lebanon's telecommunications industry, raising the question, "Who supplied the tracking system to Hezbollah?" Siemens, the German telecommunications giant, had supplied cell phone tracking capabilities to the Iranian government that enabled it to monitor the Iranian opposition.[17] Is Iran helping Hezbollah by supporting Lebanon's telecommunications capabilities in an effort to spy on the people?

Associated Press likened the Hezbollah raids to Iranian behavior after the disappearance of an IRGC general in 2007. "The Iranian government began a painstaking review of foreign travel by its citizens, particularly to places like Turkey where Iranians don't need a visa and could meet with foreign intelligence services. It didn't take long, a Western intelligence official told the AP, before the U.S., Britain and Israel began losing contact with some of their Iranian spies."[18] Or perhaps is it like the patient "unshredding" of American documents by Iranian carpet weavers after the Iranian takeover of the US Embassy in 1979.

While the demise of the Assad regime in Syria would be a setback for the Islamic Republic – and is therefore much to be desired – nothing in Tehran's history indicates that it will allow its enormous investment in Hezbollah to dissipate at the same time. Underground, under cover, quiet and lethal, Hezbollah and its patron Iran are preparing for the next round – whether against Israel or against Lebanon.

Or both.

[1] UAVs would enable the LAF to see inside Israel. Helicopters on the Israel/Lebanon border would require Israel to scramble to ensure that a flight was not part of a terrorist attack.
[2] JINSA Flag & General Officers Trip Report 2006, Shoshana Bryen.
[3] http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+from+Lebanon-+Hizbullah/Israel-Hizbullah+conflict-+Victims+of+rocket+attacks+and+IDF+casualties+July-Aug+2006.htm
[4] Prompting Hezbollah's leader Hassan Nasrallah to say that had he known the destruction Israel would cause, he wouldn't have started the war.
[5] It was understood that the IDF has to "win" wars; Hezbollah needed only "not to lose" to the vaunted IDF. The same was true in Operation Cast Lead against Hamas in Gaza.
[6] JINSA Flag & General Officers Trip Report 2010 and 2011, Shoshana Bryen.
[7] Ibid 2011
[8] In the villages of Khirbit Salim, Tayr Falsay and Shehadiye
[9] http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Terrorism+from+Lebanon-+Hizbullah/Explosion_Hizbullah_weapons_storage_facility_southern_Lebanon_3-Sep-2010
[10] http://matzav.com/clinton-us-should-fund-lebanon-army-to-protect-israel
[11]http://www.theisraelproject.org/site/apps/nlnet/content2.aspx?c=hsJPK0PIJpH&b=689705&ct=9312067
[12] Report: Hezbollah moving arms from Syria to Lebanon, fearing Assad's fall," Haaretz News Service, June 26, 2011.
[13] http://www.foxnews.com/world/2011/11/01/syria-mining-lebanon-border
[14] The irony is that in all the years Syria occupied large swaths of Lebanon, it denied that there should even be a border – as Lebanon was actually only the western province of Greater Syria. For decades there was no Syrian Embassy in Beirut and no Lebanese Embassy in Damascus – because Syria did not recognize Lebanese sovereignty.
[15] http://www.dailystar.com.lb/News/Politics/2011/Nov-23/154877-huge-blast-rocks-hezbollah-stronghold-in-south-lebanon.ashx#axzz1eVh6HJnK
[16] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/hezbollah-damages-cia-spy-network-in-lebanon/2011/11/21/gIQA5uCEjN_story.html
[17] http://online.wsj.com/article/SB124562668777335653.html#mod
[18] http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/45383207/ns/world_news-mideast_n_africa/

Shoshana Bryen has more than 30 years' experience as a defense policy analyst and has been taking American military officers and defense professionals to Israel since 1982. She was previously senior director for security policy at JINSA

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2629/lebanon-hezbollah-digs-in

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

Britain: Islam In, Christianity Out


by Soeren Kern

A Christian worker in Britain has filed a lawsuit after losing her job when she exposed a campaign of systematic harassment by fundamentalist Muslims.

In a landmark legal case, Nohad Halawi, a former employee at London's Heathrow Airport, is suing her former employer for unfair dismissal, claiming that Christian staff members, including her, were discriminated against because of their religious beliefs.

Halawi's case is being supported by the Christian Legal Centre (CLC), an organization that provides legal support for Christians in the United Kingdom. CLC says the case raises important legal issues, and also questions over whether Muslims and Christians are treated differently by employers.

Halawi, who immigrated to Britain from Lebanon in 1977, told the London Telegraph "that she was told that she would go to Hell for her religion, that Jews were responsible for the September 11th terror attacks, and that a friend was reduced to tears having been bullied for wearing a cross."

Halawi worked at the airport for 13 years as a saleswoman at World Duty Free, where she sold perfumes. Halawi was dismissed in July, following complaints by five Muslims that she was being "anti-Islamic."

Halawi says her problems with the Muslims began after she defended a Christian friend who worked with her at the same store, and who was being harassed by the Muslims for wearing a necklace with a cross.

Matters got worse after Halawi described a Muslim staff member as an "allawhi," or "man of God" in Arabic. Another worker, however, who overheard the remark, thought she said "Alawi," his branch of Islam. The misunderstanding led to a heated argument, after which Hawali was suspended and then fired.

Halawi says she persistently complained to management that she was being subjected to personal religious abuse and harassment from Muslim staff, some of whom went so far as to mock her about "shitty Jesus," according to the CLC. She says a group of "extremist" Muslims were the perpetrators, and that other employees are now worried that their jobs could be at risk if the Muslim group turns on them.

"One man brought in the Koran to work and insisted I read it and another brought in Islamic leaflets and handed them out to other employees," Halawi told the London Telegraph. "They said that 9/11 served the Americans right and that they hated the West, but that they had come here because they want to convert people to Islam…This is supposed to be a Christian country, but the law seems to be on the side of the Muslims," Halawi said.

Andrea Minichiello Williams, director of the CLC, said in a statement that Halawi's case is the most serious she has pursued, and that "it raises huge issues."

"First there is the level of Islamic fundamentalism prevalent at our main point of entry to the UK. Secondly, there are very real issues of religious discrimination, which it would appear those in authority are turning a blind eye to, using the current loopholes in employment law as an excuse," Williams said.

The Halawi case comes amid concerns that Christianity is being marginalized in Britain at the same time that Islam is spreading rapidly and Muslims are becoming more assertive.

British MP David Simpson, for example, has warned that Christianity is seen to be fair game for criticism and abuse while Islam receives special protection in the United Kingdom.

During a debate in the House of Commons in May 2011 about the treatment of Christians around the world, Simpson said: "In the United Kingdom, the policy seems to be that people can do whatever they like against Christianity – criticize it or blaspheme the name of Christ – as long as they do not insult Islam."

In London, the Harrow Council has provoked a storm of protest after announcing plans to offer Islamic halal-only menus in the borough's 52 state primary schools. Parents are outraged that meat prepared according to Islamic Sharia law is being pushed on non-Muslim children. Meanwhile, most of the in-flight meals on British Airways could soon be halal. The airline also says Muslim staff may wear veils, but Christian employees may not wear crosses.

Across Britain, Muslim bus and taxi drivers are telling blind passengers that they cannot bring their "unclean" dogs on board. The problem of prohibiting guide dogs on religious grounds has become so widespread that the matter was recently raised in the House of Lords.

Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, has criticized politically correct officials who remove carols and Nativity plays from Christmas celebrations in an effort to appease Muslims. He wrote: "The weary annual attempts by right-thinking people in Britain to ban or discourage Nativity plays or public carol-singing out of sensitivity to the supposed tender consciences of other religions fail to notice that most people of other religions and cultures both love the story and respect the message."

The politically correct enhancement of Islam at the expense of Christianity in Britain has been institutionalized by the 2006 Racial and Religious Hatred Act, which was enacted by the British government in an effort to ease religious tensions in the country amid a rapidly growing Muslim population. (Britain now has an estimated 2.5 million Muslims, giving it the third-largest Muslim population in Europe, after German and France.)

The new law makes it a crime intentionally to stir up religious hatred against people on religious grounds, and has led to zealousness bordering on the absurd.

In Nottingham, for example, the Greenwood Primary School cancelled a Christmas nativity play because it interfered with the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha. In Scarborough, the Yorkshire Coast College removed the words Christmas and Easter from their calendar not to offend Muslims. In Scotland, the Tayside Police Department apologized for featuring a German shepherd puppy as part of a campaign to publicize its new non-emergency telephone number. The postcards are potentially offensive to the city's 3,000-strong Muslim community: Islamic legal tradition says that dogs are impure.

In Glasgow, a Christian radio show host was fired after a debate between a Muslim and a Christian on whether Jesus is "the way, the truth and the life." In Birmingham, two Christians were told by police "you cannot preach here, this is a Muslim area." In Cheshire, two students at the Alsager High School were punished by their teacher for refusing to pray to Allah as part of their religious education class. Also in Cheshire, a 14-year-old Roman Catholic girl who attends Ellesmere Port Catholic High School was branded a truant by teachers for refusing to dress like a Muslim and visit a mosque.

In Liverpool, a Christian couple were forced to sell their hotel after a female Muslim guest accused them of insulting her during a debate about Islam. In London, Rory Bremner, a political comedian, said that every time he writes a sketch about Islam, he fears that he is signing his own death warrant. At the same time, Scotland Yard says that Muslims who launch a shoe at another person are not committing a crime because the practice is Islamic symbolism.

In Kent, police have been banned from asking for a person's "Christian" name, as this request might offend Muslims. The Kent Police Department's 62-page 'Faith and Culture Resource' guide tells officers to use "personal and family name" instead of "Christian" name. In East London, all elected members of Tower Hamlets town council were told not to eat during daylight hours in town hall meetings during the Muslim month of Ramadan. Special arrangements were also made to disrupt council meetings to allow for Muslim prayer. Meanwhile, the council renamed a staff Christmas party as a "festive meal."

Elsewhere in Britain, a foster mother has been struck off the social services register for allowing a Muslim girl in her care to convert to Christianity. Officials insist the woman, who has who has looked after more than 80 children in the past ten years, failed in her duty to preserve the girl's religion and should have tried to stop the baptism. They ruled that the girl, now 17, should stay away from church for six months.

In some British prisons, radical Muslim gangs are imposing Sharia law on non-Muslim inmates, who have been forced to stop playing Western music, take down pictures of women from their cells and stop eating sausage. The gangs are also targeting non-Muslim inmates for forced conversions to Islam.

In Leeds, more than 200 Muslim inmates at a high security prison are set to launch a multi-million pound claim for compensation after they were offered ham sandwiches during the month of Ramadan. They say their human rights were breached when they were offered the meat, which is forbidden by Islam. At the same time, Muslim sex offenders in British prisons are asking to be exempt from a prison treatment program because the idea that "criminals should not have to talk about their offenses" is a "legitimate Islamic position."

In West Yorkshire, an electrician working for a housing association in Wakefield was told he would be fired for placing a small palm cross on the dashboard of his van. His employer said the cross could be offensive to Muslims: "Wakefield and District Housing has a stance of neutrality. We now have different faiths, new emerging cultures. We have to be respectful of all views and beliefs."

In London, the BBC in September dropped the terms BC (Before Christ) and AD (which translates from Latin to 'the year of our Lord') and replaced them with the "religiously-neutral" BCE and CE. In BBC justified the move this way: "As the BBC is committed to impartiality it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians."

Anglican Bishop Michael Nazir-Ali, who resigned as the Bishop of Rochester amid death threats from Muslim extremists in Britain, says the BBC's move "amounts to the dumbing down of the Christian basis of our culture, language and history."

Soeren Kern is Senior Fellow for Transatlantic Relations at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estrat├ęgicos / Strategic Studies Group.

Soeren Kern

Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2634/britain-islam-christianity

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

Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids Promotes Global Islamic State


by Ryan Mauro

If you need proof that radical Islam is spread across the country, look no further than Iowa’s Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids, whose extremism is plain for all to see online. One of its most notable attendees is Bill Aossey, a Muslim Youth Camps of America (MYCA) official and president of Midamar Corporation, a leading supplier of Halal foods that was given a loan guarantee of $1.75 million as part of the stimulus package. On August 13, 2010, Aossey sat at President Obama’s table in the White House to enjoy an Iftar meal.

The Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids (ICCR) was built in early 1962 with the assistance of Khalil al-Rauef, a close friend of the Saudi Royal Family​ who reportedly shared a common interest in Arabian horses with Eleanor Roosevelt​. The publication of the Saudi state ARAMCO oil company states, “Nobody remaining in the Cedar Rapids Muslim community remembers just why al-Rauef settled there.” It is assumed that he was drawn to the success of the Muslim community.

Al-Rauef paved the way for Saudi King Faisal to donate $45,000 to the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids in 1974. The government of Kuwait followed suit, donating $6,000. The government of Libya provided Korans. It is unclear if this happened under Qaddafi’s tenure.

The ICCR’s website happily tells the story of how Muslims from across the world came to America from all sorts of backgrounds in the early 1950s. It mentions “moderate groups like” the Muslim Brotherhood affiliate in Kuwait named Islah; the Jamaat-e-Islami of Pakistan and the Muslim Brotherhood of Sudan. The website praises how “radical groups banned in many Muslim countries” like “Jihad” (presumably the Egyptian Islamic Jihad), Takfir al-Hijra (an Al-Qaeda affiliate) and Hezbollah were able to come to the U.S. In the past, the website linked to Al-Haramain, a Saudi charity that fundraised for Al-Qaeda.

“Here they are able to forge links with students of other nations providing the nucleus for an international network of leaders committed to the creation of an Islamic state, or an Islamic world order,” the ICCR website states.

The mosque blames “ultra-conservative Christians” for causing terrorism. It claims that Islamic extremists “become a kind of mirror image of their Christian counterparts.” It says that “Many of them are being turned by their American experience into anti-Western, anti-Christian Islamic revivalists.” The ICCR teaches that the “root of the problem is the perception of many resident Muslims that the nation as a whole is prejudiced against them.” Disturbingly, a school for children up to nine years old named My Iman Montessori is located within the ICCR.

The ICCR engages in political activism. On January 2, 2008, the Muslim American Society (MAS) and two other unnamed groups held a class at ICCR to prepare Muslims to participate in the Iowa caucus. The MAS is a front for the Muslim Brotherhood. The MAS official involved, Miriam Amer, is now the leader of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Iowa chapter.

She said at the time, “If we can get even one-half of one percent of the Muslims in this state [to] participate in the caucus—with some even serving as precinct captains—we can insure that the proposed planks will become adopted at the state conventions, and help to shape U.S. policy in the future.” In the MAS website’s post on the event, she is quoted urging Muslims to “take part in a historic event that can tip the balance of power in this country.”

Houses of worship cannot campaign on behalf of a political party. The ICCR and MSA were aware of this mentioned that Amer has worked with both parties. It was still obvious that they were trying to get Iowa Muslims to turn out for the Democratic caucus and later, the Democratic presidential candidate. It noted that 44% of Republican voters in the Iowa caucus are evangelicals and said, “Overall, the GOP candidates have basically ignored the immigrant and Muslim vote this time around, opting instead to focus on the Conservative Christian vote.”

One of the ICCR’s most prominent attendees is Bill Aossey, who founded the Midamar Corporation in 1972 that provides Halal foods around the world. His maternal grandfather came to Iowa in 1988 as the first documented Muslim settler in the state. His father helped found the “Mother Mosque” of Cedar Rapids, the oldest standing mosque in the U.S., and the ICCR. In 1963, Aossey became the first Muslim to enter the Peace Corps.

Aossey sat on the board of directors of the American Muslim Council. Its former executive director is the notorious Abdurahman Alamoudi. He is a supporter of Hamas and Hezbollah and is in jail on terrorism-related charges. Another former executive director, Eric Erfan Vickers, suggested that the destruction of the space shuttle Columbia over Palestine, Texas was a judgment from Allah.

Midamar Corporation is a sponsor of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Islamic Society of North America, Islamic Circle of North America and Muslim American Society. All are Muslim Brotherhood fronts. The first two were labeled by the federal government as “unindicted co-conspirators” in the Holy Land Foundation trial. The government presented evidence tying them to Hamas. In 2002 Aossey spoke at the Muslim Students Association’s Iowa conference alongside Siraj Wahhaj. In 2003, he spoke again for the event, along with Nihad Awad.

Despite these facts, Aossey sat at President Obama’s table for the August 13, 2010 Iftar dinner at the White House.[i] He said they did not discuss political matters. Midamar received a $1.75 million Small Business Administration loan guarantee as part of the stimulus.[ii]

Aossey is a representative of the Muslim Youth Camps of America. The organization had been leasing a 114-acre site at Coralville Lake from the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers to build one of its Muslim youth camps. On April 26, Aossey sent an email to inform the military that MYCA would not be renewing the lease.

There are other Islamist organizations worth mentioning in the Cedar Rapids area. On September 4, the Council on American-Islamic Relations opened up a new office in the city, according to its Facebook page. The coordinator of the Muslim Public Affairs Council’s Iowa chapter, Shams Ghoneim, resides a little over 30 miles away in Iowa City. She is a critic of anti-Islamist Muslim activist Zuhdi Jasser. After he spoke at the University of Iowa, she wrote that “The Shariah issue is fake, as no credible American Muslim is advocating it…Contrary to Jasser’s allegation, Islam has never advocated theocracy.”

CAIR, ISNA and the other prominent Muslim-American organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood say they are committed to fighting extremism. If that is so, they should take a stand against the teachings of the Islamic Center of Cedar Rapids.

Notes:


[i] “Iowa Mosque Teaches More About Coexistence of Christianity, Islam.” Deseret Morning News (Salt Lake City), September 11, 2010.

[ii] Gravelle, Steve. “Stimulus: Funding Flows Through Existing Programs,” The Gazette (Cedar Rapids), June 26, 2010.

Ryan Mauro

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/12/01/islamic-center-of-cedar-rapids-promotes-global-islamic-state/

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

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Islamic Republic’s Warning to the West


by Arnold Ahlert

Yesterday, dozens of young Iranian men surged past police into the British Embassy complex in Tehran, smashing windows, hurling Molotov cocktails, and tossing documents from windows. The British flag was burned and the Iranian flag was raised in its place. The embassy was also looted and a car was burned outside. The riot occurred two days after the Iranian parliament voted to reduce diplomatic relations with Britain, who supported upgraded sanctions against Iran for its continuing pursuit of nuclear weapons. At a time of incredibly high tensions in the Middle East, the last thing the region needed was a re-enactment of the 1979 US embassy takeover, the emblematic point of breakdown in relations between the fanatical Iranian regime and the West.

The British Foreign Office denounced the melee, noting that Iran has a “clear duty” under international law to protect diplomats and offices. The Obama administration joined Britain as well as other members of the European Union in denouncing the violence. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney made the usual toothless condemnations, “in the strongest terms,” of course, and reiterated the British demand that “Iran has a responsibility to protect the diplomatic missions present in its country and the personnel stationed at them.”

The storming of the embassy by regime supporters was a tenacious effort. Police cleared the demonstrators in front of the main embassy, but later clashed with protesters a second time, using tear gas to disperse the mob after protesters once again gained entry to the compound, according to Fars news agency in Iran. Another Iranian news report said six embassy staff members had been held hostage for a short time. British Foreign Secretary William Hague threatened, “Clearly there will be other, further, and serious consequences.”

An Iranian official who declined to be identified told Reuters the government had no role in the uprising. “It was not an organized measure. The establishment had no role in it. It was not planned,” he claimed. The assertion is almost impossible to take seriously. The UK has become a major target of government officials in recent days, with one assembly member publicly saying the country was “worse than the devil” and calling for the ambassador’s expulsion. Only days before the attack, the same politician also exhorted the Iranian people to take action: “The British government should know that if they insist on their evil stances, the Iranian people will punch them in the month [mouth], exactly as happened against America’s den of spies.” Al-Jazeera reporter Dorsa Jabbari claimed the police and various ministries had prior knowledge of the protest, organized by the student arm of the Basij armed group, Khomeini’s foot soldiers. “Any such action of this scale can never be independent in the Islamic Republic,” he said. “These gatherings are always approved by higher officials.”

Giving weight to Jabbari’s assessment was the fact that Sardar Mohamad Reza Naghdi, the commander of the Basij, appeared on state television on Sunday night. He claimed his group was “counting the moments” until it could conduct a strike against “Zionist forces.” Sunday was also the day the Iranian parliament voted to expel the British ambassador. A majority of the 179 lawmakers were in favor of reducing relations to the level of “charge d’affaires” within two weeks. They also approved reducing economic relations with Britain “to a minimum” and raised the possibility that other nations would be subjected to the same punishment if they behaved in the same manner. “This bill is only the beginning,” warned lawmaker Ali Larijani, speaking on behalf of the parliament. The bill required the approval of Iran’s Guardians Council before taking effect. They unanimously endorsed it Monday.

Interestingly, the vote represented a rift between some lawmakers and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. While his government remains steadfast in its refusal to halt its nuclear program, Ahmadinejad was hoping to exploit diplomatic channels to mitigate the worst effects of the sanctions. But with the vote, this possibility was lost, a development that comes as no surprise to political analyst Hasan Sedghi. No matter the consequences of further sanctions, “radical hardliners in Iran will use the crisis to unite people and also to blame the crisis for the fading economy,” he said.

Channeling internal unrest into unified hatred of the West was certainly an aspect of the British embassy storming. The protesters carried placards showing pictures of Majid Shahriari, an assassinated Iranian nuclear scientist, and Qassem Suleimani, the head of the Qods Force. Shahriari, reportedly involved in a “major project with Iran’s nuclear agency,” was killed a year ago on his way to work in one of two bomb attacks that also wounded scientist Fereidoun Abbasi. Other Iranian nuclear scientists have also been killed. In 2007, Ardeshir Hosseinpour was poisoned. In January of 2010, professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a senior physics professor at Tehran University, was killed by a bomb. Iran accused the West and Israel of carrying out the attacks, and they have been a lightning rod among the regimes throngs of supporters.

As for Suleimani, he is a hard-core terrorist, perhaps responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and British troops, according to American diplomatic cables. A consolidation of power by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps may lead to Suleimani’s ascension to the presidency after Ahmadinejad finishes his second and final term. Thus, the attack on the embassy may reflect a flexing of hard-line political muscle.

Yet assuming the uprising was orchestrated, why now in particular? The most likely reason is that the British imposed the harshest sanctions on Iran of any nation, the most onerous of which is the requirement that all contacts with the Iranian Central Bank be severed. If other nations adopted the same tactics, Iran’s ability to process it’s $90 billion worth of oil and gas sales would be seriously compromised.

The upside? Funding for the Iranian government, including the military, and possibly their nuclear development program, would be severely hindered. The downside? Chaos on the world oil market, engendering sky-high prices of perhaps $150 per barrel, damaging already fragile hopes for an economic recovery in both the U.S. and Europe.

Moreover, a multi-nation sanction of Iran’s Central Bank represents the last diplomatic card the West can play. After that, the real possibility of a military strike moves to the fore. The Iranians undoubtedly recognize the level of their vulnerability and seek to mitigate it the best way the know how: by adopting more aggressive posture reminiscent of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran. That too was carried out by radical students who took hostages. 52 Americans were held for 444 days.

Thus, the Iranians are sending the British an unsubtle message. It was a message compounded by the fact that another group of Iranians broke into a second British compound at Qolhak in north Tehran, where demonstrators seized what state IRNA news agency called “classified documents.” No doubt another manufactured “crisis” to “unite the people.”

It remains to be seen exactly what “serious consequences” Britain intends to carry out. What ever they do, nothing, short of regime change is likely to alter Iran’s inexorable determination to acquire nuclear weapons. Despite all the other upheaval in the world, Iranian intransigence and fanaticism remains a dangerous constant. One that may soon make all those other upheavals look trivial by comparison.

Arnold Ahlert

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2011/11/30/islamic-republic-bites-back/

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

Obama Administration Bans Knowledge of Islam


by Raymond Ibrahim

The Obama administration's censoring of photographs of the late Osama bin Laden, lest they offend Muslims, is one thing; but what about censoring words, especially those pivotal to U.S. security?

The Daily Caller reveals that "the Obama administration has been pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive."

The move comes after complaints from advocacy organizations including the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others identified as Muslim Brotherhood front groups in the 2004 Holy Land Foundation terror fundraising trial. In a Wednesday Los Angeles Times op-ed, Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) president Salam al-Marayati threatened the FBI with a total cutoff of cooperation between American Muslims and law enforcement if the agency failed to revise its law enforcement training materials. Maintaining the training materials in their current state "will undermine the relationship between law enforcement and the Muslim American community," al-Marayati wrote. Multiple online sources detail MPAC's close alignment with CAIR. In his op-ed, Al-Marayati demanded that the Justice Department and the FBI "issue a clear and unequivocal apology to the Muslim American community" and "establish a thorough and transparent vetting process in selecting its trainers and materials."

Accordingly, after discussing the matter with Attorney General Eric Holder, Dwight C. Holton said "I want to be perfectly clear about this: training materials that portray Islam as a religion of violence or with a tendency towards violence are wrong, they are offensive, and they are contrary to everything that this president, this attorney general and Department of Justice stands for. They will not be tolerated."

Even before these Muslim complaints and threats, President Obama alluded to censoring words when he said soon after taking office: "Words matter … because one of the ways we're going to win this struggle ["war on terror"] is through the battle of [Muslims'] hearts and minds" (followed by things like commissioning NASA to make Muslims "feel good" about themselves).

As if there were not already a lamentable lack of study concerning Muslim law war doctrine in the curriculum of American military studies—including in the Pentagon and U.S. Army War College—the administration's more aggressive censorship program will only exacerbate matters. Last year's Quarterly Defense Report [QDR], a strategic document, does not mention anything remotely related to Islam—even as it stresses climate change, which it sees as an "accelerant of instability and conflict" around the world.

This attempt to whitewash Islam goes back to a 2008 government memo that not only warned against "offending," "insulting," or being "confrontational" to Muslims, but tried to justify such censorship as follows:

Never use the terms "jihadist" or "mujahideen" in conversation to describe the terrorists. A mujahed, a holy warrior, is a positive characterization in the context of a just war. In Arabic, jihad means "striving in the path of God" and is used in many contexts beyond warfare. Calling our enemies jihadis and their movement a global jihad unintentionally legitimizes their actions [emphasis added].

Aside from the fact that the above definitions are highly misleading, the notion that the words we use can ever have an impact on what is and is not legitimate for Muslims is beyond incompetant: Muslims are not waiting around for Americans or their government—that is, the misguided, the deluded, in a word, the infidel—to define Islam for them. For Muslims, only Sharia law determines right and wrong: whatever falls inside Shra law is right; whatever falls outside Sharia law is wrong.

The U.S. government needs to worry less about which words appease Muslims and worry more about providing its intelligence community—not to mention its own citizenry—with accurate knowledge concerning the nature of the threat.

Without words related to Islam, how are analysts to make sense of the current conflict? What are the goals and motivations of the jihadists? What are their methods? Who might be "radicalizing" them? With whom are they affiliated? Who supports them? These and a host of other questions are unintelligible without free use of words related to Islam.

Knowledge is linked to language: the more precise the language, the more precise the knowledge. In the current conflict, to acquire accurate knowledge, which is essential to victory, we need to begin with accurate language.

This means U.S. intelligence analysts and policymakers need to be able to use, and fully appreciate the significance of, words related to Islam—starting with the word "Islam" itself: Submission—to a worldview based on Sharia law, a set of assumptions and imperatives thoroughly different from those in Western common law. Whatever falls inside Sharia law is right – including unequal justice under law; religious and gender inequality under law; criminalization of lifestyle choices as well as freedom of religion and speech – and whatever falls outside Sharia law is wrong.

It means the U.S. military needs to begin expounding and studying Islamic law and war doctrine—without fear of reprisal, such as when counter-terrorism strategist Stephen Coughlin was fired by the Pentagon for focusing on Islamic doctrine and therefore being politically incorrect. It means America's leadership needs to take that ancient dictum—"Know thy enemy"—seriously.

Raymond Ibrahim, a Middle East/Islam specialist and author of The Al Qaeda Reader, is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Source: http://www.hudson-ny.org/2614/obama-administration-bans-knowledge-of-islam

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

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