Friday, February 3, 2012

The EU is an Obstacle to Peace

by Emmanuel Navon

The claim that Israeli “settlements” constitute “an obstacle to peace” has become a self-evident European dogma. The truth, of course, is that there was no peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors when none of those “settlements” existed (between 1949 and 1967); that the Palestinian leadership has twice rejected Israel’s offer to dismantle most of its settlements (by Ehud Barak in July 2000 and by Ehud Olmert in September 2008); and that when Israel unilaterally dismantled all its settlements in Gaza in 2005, it was “rewarded” by thousands of rockets.

Rather than settlements, one of the major obstacles to peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the so-called “right of return.” By this euphemism, the Palestinians want to flood Israel with about 7 million immigrants who are the descendants, or alleged descendants, of the 600,000 Arabs who left their homes during Israel’s War of Independence. This would turn Israel into a bi-national state with an Arab majority. Except for a minority of post and anti-Zionist Israelis, even the most dovish members of the Israeli Left consider the “right of return” a non-starter.

While the Zionist Left generally pooh-poohs the “right of return” as a mere rhetorical tool in which the Palestinians themselves don’t actually believe, the fact is that the Palestinian refusal to give in on that issue is what caused the rejection of Barak and Olmert’s peace proposals. Moreover, neither Arafat nor Abbas ever tried to educate their people into admitting that the “right of return” is unrealistic; on the contrary: both leaders have made the “right of return” a central tenet of Palestinian nationalism and an issue whose abandonment is an act of high treason.

The fantasy of the “right of return” is kept alive and indeed nurtured by UNWRA, the United Nations Agency created in 1949 to handle the issue of Palestinian refugees. There are two main reasons why UNWRA is perpetuates and even aggravates the “Palestinian refugee problem.”

First, the mandate of UNWRA (as opposed to the mandate of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, or UNHCR) is not to integrate refugees into their host countries but to support them and to subsidize their lives as second-class citizens in camps.

Second, UNWRA applies the definition of “refugees” to the descendants of the refugees, while UNHCR limits this definition to the refugees themselves. Hence has the world’s number of refugees decreased from 60 million in 1947 to 17 million today, while the number of “Palestinian refugees” has increased from 600,000 in 1948 to 7 million today.

UNWRA is thus a major obstacle to peace. Had UNHCR been in charge of Palestinian refugees (UNHCR handles all the world refugees except Palestinian refugees), the issue would have been solved a while ago.

First, were Palestinian refugees defined as such according to UNHCR criteria, about 100,000 Palestinian refugees would still be around today, most of them elderly. Second, UNWRA collaborates with the discriminatory policies of countries such as Lebanon and Jordan, who deny them citizenship and jobs, by subsidizing the confinement of Palestinian refugees in camps instead of integrating them into countries with which they have no language, ethnic, and religious differences.

Dismantling UNWRA and transferring the fate of the remaining actual Palestinian refugees to UNHCR would thus remove a major obstacle to peace.

The EU has just decided to do the very opposite by granting UNWRA a €72 million donation. This decision is not only an affront to the Palestinian refugees themselves, since it contributes to the perpetuation of their status of segregated and pauperized minorities among their Arab brothers. It is also an affront to the cause of peace. The EU, in effect, has just signed a big check that will fund a major obstacle to peace.

While the EU did somewhat realize the Kantian vision of democratic peace within its borders (although with a little help from the United States, whose army protected Europe from the Soviet Union during the Cold War), Europe’s contribution to peace outside of the Old Continent’s borders has been dismal. From Rwanda to the former Yugoslavia, the EU has been powerless at best and part of the problem at worst. T

he EU (formerly EEC) promoted the PLO in the 1970s and did not welcome the Camp David Agreements of 1979. Although the Oslo Agreements were technically not made in the EU (Norway is not a EU member), the European recipe for peace in the Middle East has failed miserably and tragically.

The EU’s recent decision to fund UNWRA belongs to a long history of counter-productive efforts. But, mostly, it confirms the fact that the EU is an obstacle to peace in the Middle-East.

Dr. Emmanuel Navon teaches at Tel-Aviv University's Abba Eban Graduate Program for Diplomacy Studies


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Egypt Soccer Tragedy Blamed on Military Government

by Rick Moran

With 74 dead and more than 1000 injured in a preventable soccer riot in Port Said on Sunday, Egypt's activists took to the streets of Cairo and other cities, using the tragedy as an excuse to protest against military rule.


Addressing angry lawmakers in parliament, the military-appointed prime minister said senior security chiefs in Port Said and the city's governor had been suspended and the soccer federation's board had been sacked. But he disappointed those seeking tougher steps, such as sacking the interior minister.

Young men blocked roads in Cairo's landmark Tahrir Square in protest, and a crowd gathered at the city's main rail station hoping to see relatives returning from the game in Port Said, a city at the mouth of the Suez Canal on the Mediterranean coast.

As bodies from Egypt's worst soccer disaster were unloaded from trains, covered by blankets, thousands chanted "Down with military rule."

"Where is my son?" screamed Fatma Kamal, whose frantic phone calls seeking news of her 18-year-old had gone unanswered. "To hell with the football match ... Give me back my boy."

At least 1,000 people were injured in the violence on Wednesday evening when soccer fans invaded the pitch after local team al-Masry beat visitors from Cairo's Al Ahli, the most successful football club in Africa.

Hundreds of al-Masry supporters surged across the pitch to the visitors' end and panicked Ahli fans dashed for the exit. But the steel doors were bolted shut and dozens were crushed to death in the stampede, witnesses said.

"I suddenly heard a commotion and ran to the door to find people getting crushed ... with their legs stuck in between the iron bars," said Ahmed Moustafa Ali, an electrician employed at the stadium who witnessed the incident.

"The doors were locked because the rules stipulate that we don't let fans leave at the same time," he said.

The gate lay broken outside the ground. Under it lay a pool of blood and shoes were scattered around. The front page of one Egyptian newspaper declared "A Massacre in Port Said."

I suppose one could stretch the point and blame the military government for the stupidity and criminal negligence of stadium officials, but that matters less than the activists who are using the tragedy to promote their political agenda. In the midst of all the finger pointing and blame making, one would think that measures would be announced that might prevent such a tragedy in the future. No such announcement has been forthcoming as the government would rather sack anyone remotely connected to soccer or the town the incident occurred than attempt to improve safety at soccer matches.

Rick Moran


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Secular Fanatics

by Dennis Prager

The Muslim world is threatened by religious fanaticism. The Western world is threatened by secular fanaticism.

Both seek to dominate society and to use state power to do so. Both seek to eliminate the Other — for Islamic fanatics, that means non-Muslim religions and secularism; for secular fanatics, it means Christianity and virtually any public invoking of God. The Islamists impose Sharia law; the American Civil Liberties Union and the left generally impose secular law. The Taliban wiped out public vestiges of Buddhism in Afghanistan; the ACLU and its allies seek to wipe out public vestiges of Christianity in America — as it did, for example, in Los Angeles County, when it successfully pressured the County Board of Supervisors to remove the tiny cross from the county seal. A city and county founded by Catholics — hence the name “The Angels” — was forced to stop commemorating its founders because they were religious.

This fanaticism has been on display most recently in the state of Rhode Island. This past Christmas, the governor, Lincoln Chafee, renamed the state Christmas tree a “holiday tree.” Though Christmas is a national holiday, for the secular fanatic, anything Christian — or, as we shall see, anything that relates to religion or God — must be banned from public life.

The latest expression of the secular equivalent of Islamism is the lawsuit brought against a Rhode Island high school, Cranston High School West, for allowing a banner, written by a seventh grader in 1963, to remain hanging on one of the school walls. An atheist student, along with the ACLU, brought the lawsuit and a judge ruled that it is unconstitutional for it to hang in a public school.

To appreciate how fanatical the student, the ACLU and the ruling are, you have to know the words on the banner. So here they are:

Our Heavenly Father

Grant us each day the desire to do our best, to grow mentally and morally as well as physically, to be kind and helpful to our classmates and teachers, to be honest with ourselves as well as with others.

Help us to be good sports and smile when we lose as well as when we win. Teach us the value of true friendship. Help us always to conduct ourselves so as to bring credit to Cranston High School West.


The idea that this prayer violates the Constitution of the United States is as much a mockery of the Constitution as it is of common sense. Only a fanatic can welcome the removal of such a non-denominational, sweet, moral exhortation from a high school wall. America is indeed as endangered by the ACLU as the Muslim world is by Islamists.

Defenders of the judge’s decision point to the U.S. Supreme Court decision of 1962 banning state-mandated prayer in public schools. The parallel is invalid. No student is asked, let alone compelled, to state what is on the Rhode Island high school banner. But arguments citing the Supreme Court ruling serve only to confirm my argument: that secular fanaticism has been taking over America. The New York State prayer that the Warren Court outlawed 50 years ago was as non-sectarian, as morally uplifting and as inoffensive as the Rhode Island prayer.

Here is it is in its entirety:

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence upon Thee, and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers and our Country.”

After reading that one sentence, it is intellectually dishonest to maintain that the Warren court’s decision was not an expression of fanaticism. One would have to deny that there could even be any such thing as secular fanaticism. Indeed, if it could have, the Warren Court would have declared the Declaration of Independence unconstitutional for its citing the Creator.

It is no wonder, then, that Alaska Airlines announced last week that it would no longer dispense along with meals its famous little cards with a verse from Psalms.

There are Americans who think that we are a better society without a state Christmas tree, and without high school students seeing a prayer to be kind human beings, and without the Alaska Airlines attempt to elevate American life in a small — and, again, non-denominational — way.

But the Islamist thinks he is improving Muslim life, too, of course.

Dennis Prager


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Assad’s Faithful Ally

by Jacob Laksin

As Syria’s regional and international standing has deteriorated amidst a bloody and brutal crackdown, one country has stood steadfastly in President Bashar al-Assad’s corner. Condemned by the international community and ostracized by the Arab League, Syria’s dictatorship has found a staunch ally in Russia.

Efforts to hold Syria to account have repeatedly run up against Russian opposition. Last October, Russia, backed by China, used its veto on the UN Security Council to block a resolution condemning Assad’s government for its suppression of anti-government opposition. Even when Assad stepped up the violence against his own people, Russia refused to spurn the regime. In December, Russia again blocked a UN resolution to hold Syria accountable for the violence. Just last week, Russia insisted that a draft U.N. Security Council resolution calling on Assad to step aside violated Russia’s “red lines.” While the U.S. and its Arab and European allies press for a resolution calling for Assad to step aside, Russia continues to champion his cause.

Russia’s support for Syria has been striking, not least because it is essentially alone in that support, but it’s not new. Russo-Syrian ties extend back to the Cold War, when the Soviet Union relied on Syria, then ruled by Assad’s father Hafez Assad, as a key sphere of influence. Situated just 400 miles from the Soviet Union’s southwestern border, Syria provided its Soviet patron with strategic and economic benefits. Access to Syrian ports at Tartus and Latakia ensured that the Soviet Union would have a direct link to the Mediterranean Sea. That strategic alliance was further forged with military sales. Between 1956 and 1985, Syria received $16.3 billion in Soviet military equipment, more than any other country in that time period.

Although the Soviet Union is no more, Russia remains a leading weapons supplier for Damascus. By some estimates, at least 10 percent of Russia’s global arms sales go to Syria. Current military contracts are estimated to be worth between $1.5 and $4 billion. Russia also retains its Soviet-era naval base in the port of Tartus. In a symbolic throwback to that era, just last month Russia’s sole aircraft carrier, the Admiral Kuznetsov, anchored at the port. Syrian authorities welcomed the public relations opportunity, hailing the ship’s arrival as a “show of solidarity with the Syrian people.”

Russia also has other investments in Syria, including some estimated $20 billion in Syria’s infrastructure and energy sectors. The Russian engineering company Stroytransgaz has contracts with Syria’s state-owned gas company to develop technical equipment, build roads and lay miles of pipeline in Syria’s central region. Stroytransgaz is also building a natural gas refining plant just east of the Syrian city of Homs. It would not have escaped Russia’s notice that Homs in recent days has been the site of some of the most intense fighting between Syrian government forces and rebels, with an oil pipeline feeding a Syrian refinery among the casualties.

Oil is not what binds Russia to Syria, however. As the world’s largest oil producer and second largest exporter, Russia is not dependent on the Arab world for its energy consumption. Arguably even more than an economic interest, Syria is a status symbol for a country that has never fully abandoned its superpower designs. The collapse of the Soviet Union spelled the end of Russia’s ability to project power and influence through its client states but not its desire to do so. Deprived of its satellites, Russia made its mark by backing anti-Western regimes, whether it was Slabodan Mioslevic in Seria and the Saddam Hussein in Iraq. But as those regimes fell to U.S. and NATO interventions, Russian allies have become a rare commodity. ”With the exception of Belarus, Kazakhstan and Venezuela, there are practically no countries that may be called our friends,” Russian political analyst Alexei Vorobyov recently told the BBC. One could well add Syria to the small list of exceptions.

Yet Russian solidarity with Syria is more than an act of defiance against the West. It is also based on the cold logic that an international campaign to bring accountability to an undemocratic regime could be leveled against Russia, as well as Syria. Vladimir Putin is not Bashar al-Assad, even if Russia’s ruthless military intervention in Chechnya bears more than a passing resemblance to the Syrian government’s suppression of domestic opposition. But as the recent mass rallies in Moscow show, in the eyes of many Russians, Putin’s claims to democratic legitimacy are no more credible than Assad’s. It’s little wonder, then, that Russia has been so adamant in blocking regime change in Syria. As Russia’s UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin revealingly observed this week, once Western countries begin initiating regime change ”it is difficult to stop, then you will start telling what kings need to resign and what prime ministers need to step down.” Including, say, a certain prime minister with plans to reinstall himself as president.

In reality, any such Western effort is unlikely. The Obama administration, seemingly unwilling to accept “no” for an answer, continues to pursue its “reset” policy toward Russia. In the meantime, Russia’s intransigent backing for the Assad regime ensures that Syrians will continue to suffer. Since the government began its crackdown last March, over 6,000 people have been killed, the majority of them civilians. And the government shows no signs of backing down. Just last month, Assad vowed to use an “iron fist” to crush the Syrian opposition movement.

With their country on the edge of civil war, Syrians are in a precarious position. But with Russia effectively blocking any meaningful international attempt to intervene, the Assad regime need not count its days. For the foreseeable future, Russia’s “red lines” guarantee that the regime can continue to shed Syrian blood with impunity.

Jacob Laksin


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Thursday, February 2, 2012

Intelligence Chief: Growing Risk of Iran Attacking U.S. Targets

by Shaun Waterman

Iran is stepping up its spying against the United States, and Tehran might launch terrorist attacks against U.S. targets, including those in the homeland, if the Islamic regime feels threatened, the top U.S. intelligence chief said Tuesday.

Director of National IntelligenceJames R. Clapper cited last year’s discovery of a plot by Iranian officials to kill a Saudi diplomat in Washington as evidence of Tehran's threat to the U.S.

It “shows that some Iranian officials - probably including supreme leader Ali Khamenei - have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime,” he testified before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.

Iran’s willingness to sponsor future attacks in the United States or against our interests abroad probably will be shaped by Tehran’s evaluation of the costs it bears for the plot against the ambassador,” Mr. Clapper said.

His testimony noted that Tehran “continues to support proxies and surrogates abroad” - a reference, in part, to the regime’s links with Hezbollah, a militant Shiite group that is part of Lebanon's government but which U.S. officials say is a terrorist outfit involved in the global drug trade.

Iran is keeping its options open to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so,” Mr. Clapper said, essentially echoing his testimony during a similar hearing on foreign intelligence threats last year.

Senators questioned Mr. Clapper and other intelligence officials about the growing tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program, and in particular about whether Israel would strike Iran this year.

“We’re doing a lot with the Israelis, working together with them,” Mr. Clapper said, adding that he is “very, very concerned” about a strike. He asked to discuss this “very sensitive issue” in closed session.

CIA Director David H. Petraeus said he met with the head of the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad in Washington last week.

“That is part of an ongoing dialogue” that includes monthly chats with senior Israeli officials, said Mr. Petraeus, a retired Army general.

Both men noted that Israel views a nuclear-armed Iran as “an existential threat,” which Mr. Petraeus said should be kept in mind as officials mull the issue.

Iran has joined Russia and China as one of the “most menacing foreign intelligence threats” to the U.S., Mr. Clapper testified. Foreign intelligence services from those three countries “will remain the top threats to the United States in the coming years.”

Iran’s intelligence operations against the United States, including cyber capabilities, have dramatically increased in recent years in depth and complexity,” he said.

Previous assessments of the foreign spy threat, such as last year’s report to Congress by the Office of the National Counterintelligence Executive, identified economic espionage by Russia and China as a top-tier intelligence threat, but did not highlight Iran.

A former U.S. counterintelligence chief told The Washington Times that is significant.

“Rank-ordering foreign intelligence threats is an art. [You have to ask,] ‘Which of these foreign intelligence activities present the greatest threat to the U.S. and our national security interests in the world?’” said Michelle Van Cleave, director of the counterintelligence executive's office in the administration of President George W. Bush.

Putting Iran in the top tier “suggests that this administration is seriously concerned, as they absolutely should be, about Iranian foreign intelligence activities,” she said.

Iranian intelligence activities were prolific in areas where the U.S. was “deeply engaged” - Afghanistan, Iraq and the Middle East and, increasingly, the Western Hemisphere, Ms. Van Cleave said.

Cybersecurity specialists offered mixed responses to Mr. Clapper’s testimony about Iranian cyber capabilities.

The Washington Times reported in October that an Iranian hacker, possibly state-sponsored, is widely thought to have been behind several breaches last year of the Internet security system known as Secure Sockets Layer (SSL). Computer users know the system as the padlock in the browser that shows that online shopping, banking and other communications are secure.

Without mentioning Iran, Mr. Clapper said the SSL breach “represents a threat to one of the most fundamental technologies used to secure online communications and sensitive transactions.”

Foreign intelligence services “have launched numerous computer-network operations targeting U.S. government agencies, businesses and universities,” Mr. Clapper said without naming them. “Foreign cyber-actors have also begun targeting classified networks.”

He noted that the pace of technological development outstripped the efforts of security officials to defend vital U.S. information-technology networks. “We foresee a cyber-environment in which emerging technologies are developed and implemented before security responses can be put in place.”

Nigel Inkster, a former senior British intelligence official, said that the SSL attack was “ingenious” and that the Iranians “probably achieved quite a lot of what they wanted to” with it.

But Mr. Inkster, now director of the Transnational Threats and Political Risk Program of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, noted that the SSL attack seemed primarily designed to eavesdrop on Iran’s own citizens.

“It’s a harbinger of things to come,” he said.

James A. Lewis, a cybersecurity scholar at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, expressed skepticism that Iran’s cyber capabilities might pose a threat to the United States.

The Iranians had been “pursuing cyber capabilities,” he said, and even “tested certain capabilities against Israel.”

But he added that “we [the public] don’t know how successful they’ve been.”

“It’s not a problem right now, but it could be in the future,” Mr. Lewis said of the Iranian threat of a cyberattack.

Mr. Lewis was more sanguine than many others on the issue of threats from non-state actors, such as terrorist groups, crime networks and hackers.

Mr. Clapper singled out the computer-hacking alliance Anonymous and its splinter group LulzSec as growing threats because of their “easy access to potentially disruptive and even lethal technology and know-how.”

But Mr. Lewis said such groups “do not have the capability to launch a truly damaging attack” and are unlikely to develop it in the near future.

“This isn’t going to happen next week,” he said. “It’ll take years.”

Shaun Waterman


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Chief of Staff: Next War will be Short and Harsh

by Gil Ronen

Chief of General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, painted a worrying picture of the military threat to Israel in a speech at the annual Herzliya Conference on Wednesday.

"The threats against Israel have not disappeared," he said. "What was relevant in the past remains relevant. Eight Syrian military divisions are stationed between the Sea of Galilee and Damascus. These forces are currently inactive, but that may change tomorrow morning."

"An extraordinary amount of [enemy] ordnance covers every region of Israel," Gantz said. "Every region in Israel is currently under threat. Our enemies are trying to create a military system that skips over Israel's defense capabilities and directly targets the strategic depth of the State of Israel."

The enemy wants to damage Israel's ability to function in the next war, he explained. They want to "wreak destruction and generate a victory story for the day after. They understand that the campaign will be short and harsh, but they will try and hit us hard to generate these achievements." All this, he said, is part of the ongoing Arab strategy of "strategic attrition" against Israel, adopted when conventional wars proved unable to defeat the Jewish state.

Gaza and Lebanon are "two of the largest ammunition and weapon 'storage facilities' I know," he said, owned by Hizbullah, Islamic Jihad, and other terror organizations. "The Middle East is currently arming more than any other region in the world, and we are the target of all this ammunition."

"Our enemies acknowledge the strength of the IDF, they have seen it in the past and they understand what a western force with high-tech weapons is capable of." Besides conventional military means, he said, they have taken to operating from within urban regions, where they take advantage of innocent civilian populations. "In Lebanon there are buildings that contain both civilian residential apartments and a 'rocket room '– in the same building."

According to Lt. Gen. Gantz, aside from complex fronts our enemies are also "planning attacks using high-tech rockets, portable systems such as anti-tank missiles, and accurate, target-specific and long-distance missiles. We saw this during the Second Lebanon War. Our Navy forces and strategic posts in the Mediterranean Sea are also under threat."

The enemy is mainly targeting the Israeli home front and civilian population, "as an attempt to harm our operative capabilities."

Lt. Gen. Gantz stressed that in the face of the different threats the IDF must continue to develop offensive capabilities, alongside accurate intelligence capabilities and air defenses for defending civilian populations. "It is crucial to ensure our infantry maneuvering capabilities. It must be strong, well-trained and well-equipped, since it will be required to operate in a field more challenging than ever. This is not an anti-tank missile fired from 300 meters we are taking about – this is an anti-tank missile that is accurately fired from six kilometers away."

Lt. Gen. Gantz said that the IDF has grown much stronger in the past few years but needs to maintain this trend. "We are a powerful nation and if we don’t maintain this strength, we simply will not exist."

Gil Ronen


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Sweden to Chabad: No Jewish Homeschooling

by Hana Levi Julian

Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries to Sweden have been threatened by the city of Gothenburg with thousands of dollars in fines for home schooling their children, as the Swedish government attempts to force this Jewish family to send its children to public school.

On January 26, Rabbi Alexander Namdar and his wife Leah, representatives of the worldwide Chassidic movement to Sweden for the past 21 years, were served at their home with a notice by the Gothenburg school authorities.

According to the notice, four of their children who currently study at an international online school must be delivered to a Swedish school by today (Wednesday). Failure to do so could result in a fine of 16000 crown - the equivalent of $2,400 -- per week.

The children's education is not lacking by any means -- and they are not the first in the family to have been educated at home. Six of the family's 11 children also learned at home in their early years, and now live and study abroad at Jewish high schools, teaching seminaries and rabbinic colleges. All are pursuing careers in education.

In addition to the international online school attended by the children -- and 500 of their classmates around the world -- the Namdar children are also receiving private tutoring. Their secular curriculum includes English, Swedish, mathematics, geography, science, music, art and gymnastics. All the children are fluent in English, Swedish and Yiddish, and can read Hebrew by age 5.

The notice came following a change on January first in Sweden's law that tightened restrictions on home schooling. The amendment permits home schooling only in "extraordinary" circumstances -- and religious issues are explicitly excluded as a valid reason for home schooling one's child.

Sweden does not tolerate differences very well, notes Leah Namdar. The longtime ban on shechita (Jewish ritual preparation of kosher meat), and recent laws tightening restrictions on Jewish ritual circumcision are warnings of what Leah Namdar said could become "the last battle against Communism."

"We're two parents fighting city hall for the right to give our children a Jewish education," she told

The family's lawyer agrees: the Gothenburg v. Namdar case will be a critical test of Sweden's record on religious freedom, said attorney Richard Backenroth.

The lawyer has been careful not to attribute the city's action to anti-Semitism. However, European Jewish Congress president Dr. Moshe Kantor recently noted that Sweden is the only nation within the European Union unwilling to discuss domestic anti-Semitism with the EJC. Anti-Semitism has risen in Sweden in recent years, along with a trend towards the extreme right. Jews in the city of Malmo in particular have begun to flee the community as a result of the rising trends.

Backenroth, who is appealing the notice and the "exorbitant fine" that arrived while the case is still pending, told, "Sweden's schools cannot possibly accommodate the needs of the Namdar children with respect to their religious requirements."

More ominously, forcing the Namdar children -- the only Orthodox Jews in the city -- to attend a Swedish school, could expose them to real danger, the movement warned. Swedish schools are notorious for their bullying problems and the children would become a certain target for anti-Semitic harassment.

Guy Linderman, a Jewish citizen of Sweden, agrees the Namdar children need not attend Swedish schools.

Active in politics while living in Sala, he told he had originally supported the new law when it was drafted years ago, but believes it should not be applied to the Namdars. The law, he said, was intended to ensure that Sweden's immigrant population was education, "many of who... had grown up illiterate, incapable of signing their names."

The Namdar children, who he knows well, "are more educated than their Swedish peers," Linderman said.

"This is a stain on the reputation of a country that takes pride in equality as a fundamental value," said Rabbi Namdar. Both he and his wife said they regard education as their "highest priority."

Hana Levi Julian


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The Death Throes of the Lion

by Mordechai Kedar

Everyone knows that the family name of the previous president of Syria and his son, the present president, is "Asad", "Lion" in English. Those who are acquainted with matters in Syria know that their original family name is "Al-Wahish", or "Wild Man", but Bashar's grandfather changed the family name to "Asad", in order to have a name which is more pleasant, honorable and acceptable. But lately, many in Syria have gone back to calling Asad by his original family name, which is consistent with the dishonorable, unacceptable and decidedly unpleasant way in which he treats his own citizens who are advocates of freedom and human rights.

When too many people in Syria say that the regime is about to fall, just the expression of it is enough to bring about the erosion of confidence that still - perhaps - beats in the hearts of some of his supporters. We're not talking about the hard core of Asad's supporters, those who will support him no matter what, which mainly consists of members of the Alawite ethnic group, but those people in the political suburbs and outskirts, who were connected to the Syrian regime in the past.

One of these is the Shi'ite Sheikh Sobhi Tufaili, one of the "founding fathers" of Hizbullah and its first general secretary, who recognized and appreciated well the role that Syria played in the creation of Hizbullah thirty years ago, in arming it, training it and bringing it to be the greatest power in the Land of the Cedars. Sheikh Tufaili was quoted this week as saying, "The Syrian regime can still conduct the process of transition to the "necessary change", but it depends on the adoption of democracy, even if gradually, before time runs out." Tufaili doesn't depend on the long range support of Russia, either, because Russia will not commit political suicide, and when they understand that Asad's regime is finished they will remove their support from him. This kind of clear talk about the end of an Arab regime, the great neighbor and strong patron of Hizbullah, is something that is not done in the political culture of the Middle East, and if Tufaili feels free to speak this way, then something very basic has gone wrong in Syria.

Also Iran ("The worst sort of dictator" in Tufaili's words), the faithful supporter of Syria and Hizbullah, cannot escape Tufaili's criticism: "The Iranian role justifies the battle against Asad, and it was suitable that the Iranians would support an agreement between all segments of Syrian society (i.e.: the surrender of Asad to the demands of his opposition). Tufaili's public support of the Syrian people stems from his feeling that Asad will lose the battle; the people will be the winning side, and it will be worthwhile to the Lebanese in general and to the Shi'ites in particular to invest in the Syrian people and not in the failing regime. The Sheikh's words also relate to the dispute within the Shi'ite community in Lebanon: Hizbullah sends soldiers to Syria to fight for Asad, but Tufaili, who holds the role of "the Responsible Elder", says things that can not be interpreted in any other way except the importance to supporting the Syrian people and not the regime.

The Situation on the Ground

Asad's opposition is strengthening, its military power is growing and its achievements in the field increase from day to day, despite the losses. The losses prove how determined the fighters of the "Free Syrian Army" are to achieve their goal, even at a great price, contrary to the ever-declining morale among the soldiers of the regime, part of whom continue fighting against the regime's opposition only in order not to be executed by their commanders for suspected sympathy with the rebels. "The Free Syrian Army" succeeded within a few days to control areas near the capital, Damascus, and retreated only in order not to give the army of the regime a reason to act with cruelty against the population in these areas. No doubt, the army of the rebels proves that it has the ability to place a real and actual challenge to Asad's army. The number of fatalities in the battles is increasing and reaches almost a hundred fatalities per day, and in parallel, the number of soldiers and officers who desert from Asad's army also increases. Nevertheless, whole divisions have still not deserted, and the military has still not disintegrated.

The state-run media accuses "terror gangs" of betraying the national unity, in the service of "Zionist, colonialist and Otoman" interests, which aspires to dismantle the Arab world and redesign it according to their needs. The heroic Syrian people, in the words of Asad's media, will defeat all those who rise up against it, whether from within or without, the near (Israel, Turkey) or the far (Europe, the United States) and will prove to all that it is stronger than any of their dark schemes.

A special attack by the spokesmen of the regime is merited by the Emirates of the Gulf; especially Qatar, the emirate where the "Al-Jazeera" channel is located. The feeling - which is fairly justified - of Asad and his cronies, is that the emir of Qatar, because of his desire to control the Arab world, decided to overthrow all of the strong rulers, and they feel that the incitement of "Al-Jazeera" was the cause of the demonstrations in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Syria.

Future Trends

In recent days, hints of two important developments have begun to occur in Syria: One is a series of reports about heavy weapons and large quantities of ammunition that is being transferred to the mountains of Ansariyah, the Alawite area which is located in western Syria, north of Lebanon. The transfer of these armaments can mean only one thing: the Alawites are preparing for the day after the collapse of the regime, and the mass escape of hundreds of thousands of Alawites from the Islamic areas, when they will find that the Muslims are chasing them with unsheathed knives in their hands. The weapons that are being transferred to the Alawite areas are meant to defend the Alawite state that will arise to defend the members of their ethnic community, whom the Muslims see as infidels and idol worshipers.

The second event is a meeting that was held in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, that included Kurdish notables fro Syria and Iraq. They also discussed "the day after", meaning what would be the territory and status of the Kurds in Syria after they are freed from the oppression that they have endured for decades. They don't see themselves as continuing to live under Arab auspices, and probably they will determine with facts on the ground an area that will serve them when they will have independence, whether wholly or partially, similar to the near total independence that their brothers in Iraq have achieved for themselves. These discussions may even have dealt with participation with, and perhaps even unity between Iraqi and Syrian Kurdistan, the meaning of which is that there will be a great challenge to Iran and Turkey, both of which countries have large Kurdish minority communities, that aspire to freedom and human rights.

These two developments show how close to realization is this trend which we have written about in the past, which is the disintegration of the Syrian regime into several states after the fall of the regime.

The International Arena

In this arena too, there have been significant developments within the past two weeks, with the transfer of the Syrian case from the Arab League to the Security Council of the UN, because this international body has the ability to use force against Asad, similar to what happened to Saddam Hussein and Qadhaffi. The Syrian regime failed where the Qatar Emirate succeeded, in transferring the Syrian matter to the international level, and to instill in the world a feeling that the damage caused by the actions of the Syrian regime are beyond the limits of acceptability.

Again this small emirate appears as a force driving the Arab world, for now only with words and resolutions, and the Syrian regime, which for many years bragged that it was "Qiblat Al-aruba", the "Arab direction of prayer", appears now as a mindless regime with no conscience, but with muscles that have gone out of control.

It is true that in the Security Council, Russia and China have permanent membership and the power to veto resolutions that they find to be unsuitable, but there are limits to this too.

The End of the Last Revolutionary

The adults among us still remember the traditional division of the Arab world into states that are radical/revolutionary/progressive/advanced/ on one hand, when Moscow was the "direction of prayer" for them, and opposite these were the states that were based on tribal and religious communities, and they were called: traditional, counter-revolutionary, regressive and backwards. The "progressive" leaders were Gamal Abd Al-Nassar, Hafez al-Asad. Qadhaffi and Saddam Hussein. They adopted the Soviet socialist creed, and translated it into "Arab socialism" in Egypt, and to "Baath" in Syria and Iraq. Hatred towards Israel was supposed to be the glue between the parts of the population, and the battle against her substituted for the battle against poverty, crime, neglect and corruption. But the battle against Israel was abandoned and dealing with the real ills of those states never began. That's why they castigated Israel, America, the West, colonialism, capitalism, and everything that characterizes what they refused to be outwardly, but allowed themselves to adopt in private: Recently, the sumptuous houses of Qadhaffi were revealed. Qadhaffi insisted on receiving visitors in a wide Bedouin tent with canopies that fluttered in the wind, in order to give an impression that he acts in accordance with pure desert, Bedouin tradition, but his private life he spent in debauchery and the hedonistic and Bacchanalian style of decadent Europe.

Ironically, during the past year, all of the "revolutionary" regimes whose goal was to re-engineer Arab societies according to the Soviet Socialist model, were trampled by the traditional groupings: the tribes on one hand and Islam on the other. The process was supposed to take place immediately after the fall of the Soviet Union, but in the Middle East processes require much time and courage, and a little bit of organizational prowess, which the Internet and Social networking sites have been supplying lately .

These days Asad is fighting the battle of the last socialist Baathist Mohican who is left in the fort of the Soviet lie, while the waves of Middle Eastern truth are attacking him; the truths of tribalism and loyalty to religion and tradition. And these things threaten to cause him to lose his head, literally. The irony is that it is precisely the Russians who pushed off their shoulders the shame of the "blood flag" that had dominated them for seventy years; and yet they are the ones who continue to breathe life into the dying Syrian regime. This regime is led by "Soviet" Arabic-speaking politruks, who sound from their hoarse throats the worn-out slogans from Moscow during the years of Lenin, Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev in the ears of all, and are left holding the necks of the microphones in Damascus.

The sons of Syria, hungry, thirsty, frozen, bleeding, but lovers of freedom and human rights, are the true revolutionaries, those who are trying to remove the false revolutionaries who took control of the Arab world in the twentieth century by means of foreign ideologies that have never been accepted into the hearts of the general public. The 21st century is the century of the very bitter truth, that prevails throughout the region in which we live: Here, the ruling factors are the tribe, the ethnic group (i.e. the Kurds), the religious group (the Muslim Brotherhood) and the religious sect (Sunni, Shi'ite). Any foreign "ism" from socialism to liberalism - will be rejected by the region like a foreign body that is transplanted into a living body: The body rejects it even if the price is reduced functionality or even death.

Syria today is rejecting the infidel and socialist Asad, who doesn't even know how to spell the word socialism, just as a traditional Islamic region rejects infidels and importation of empty ideologies.

The imported ideology is dead, long live the indigenous loyalties to the tribe, ethnicity, religion and sect.


Dr. Mordechai Kedar ( is an Israeli scholar of Arabic and Islam, a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University and the director of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. He specializes in Islamic ideology and movements, the political discourse of Arab countries, the Arabic mass media, and the
Syrian domestic arena.

Translated from Hebrew by Sally.

Links to Dr. Kedar's recent articles on this blog:
Source: The article is published in the framework of the Center for the Study of the Middle East and Islam (under formation), Bar Ilan University, Israel. Also published in Makor Rishon, a Hebrew weekly newspaper.

9 Islamists Plead Guilty in London Terror Plot

by NewsCore

Mohammed Chowdhury, 20, one of nine men who pleaded guilty Wednesday to plotting pre-Christmas terror attacks in London, leaves Westminster Magistrates Court in a police van Dec. 27, 2010. Photo Credit:AP/Lewis Whyld
Nine radical Islamists pleaded guilty Wednesday to involvement in a terror plot aimed at high-profile targets in the UK's capital, including the US Embassy.

Nine radical Islamists pleaded guilty Wednesday to involvement in a terror plot aimed at high-profile targets in the UK's capital, including the US Embassy.

The men, with roots in Britain's Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities, were arrested in counterterrorism raids on Dec. 21, 2010. ...

Four of the men admitted Wednesday to planning to plant an improvised explosive device at the London Stock Exchange. ... Four men — Omar Latif, 28, from Cardiff, Nazam Hussain, 26, Usman Khan, 20, and Abdul Shahjahan, 27, all from Stoke-on-Trent, central England — admitted lesser charges of preparing for a terrorist attack. Mohibur Rahman, 27, also from Stoke, admitted possessing terror-related material, namely two copies of the Al Qaeda magazine Inspire, which contained articles like "Make A Bomb In The Kitchen Of Your Mom."



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Original materials copyright (c) by the authors.

The Mullahs’ History of Assassination

by John Thompson and Sara Akrami

The deaths of the Iranian defence scientists have allowed the regime in Tehran to weep copious tears and sputter outrage about the inequity of assassination as a political tool. One might think the more natural reaction there might be envy. Assassination has been one of the outreach tools of the ayatollahs and their regime in Iran since the early days of the Revolution. When the Islamic Republic of Iran was established in 1979, it had two strategies to eliminate its opponents. At home, it killed its internal opponents – killing 7,900 of them in its first five years alone using techniques many totalitarian regimes have employed, such as, mass executions, tortures, disappearances, and “accidents”. Abroad, it used its embassies and cultural offices to host killers and sent them out after prominent critics. Many of these critics living overseas were Iranian intellectuals and activists who had escaped from Iran after the establishment of the regime. In addition to employing terror against its own citizens and émigrés, the Iranian government has also claimed victims from other nationalities. The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the world’s most significant sponsors of terrorism. During its 33 years of existence, it has continually instigated violence elsewhere and pursued indirect war through the use of terrorism throughout the Middle East, Africa, and both North and South America.

Although the Islamic Republic of Iran officials claim that terrorism is strange to them, an immense weight of evidence shows that orchestrated terrorism outside Iran is a major factor in practice of the regime. The first victims of the Iranian government terrorism were Shahriar Shafigh, the Shah of Iran’s nephew who was assassinated in 1979 in Paris and Ali Akbar Tabatabai, the former press attaché of the Iranian embassy in the United States under the Shah of Iran who was assassinated in 1980 in Washington. The assassination of Ali Akbar Tabatabai was committed by David Belfield or Dawud Salahuddin, an African-American who converted to Islam and after the assassination fled to Iran. In 2001, Dawud Salahuddin acted as the major character of the movie Kandahar, directed by one of the Iranian regime’s filmmakers Mohsen Makhmalbaf. After the first assassinations, many other Iranian dissidents were killed in different parts of the world.

Among the dead are, Dr. Shahpour Bakhtiar (the last Prime Minister of the Shah of Iran), Dr. Abdol Rahman Ghassemlou (the Leader of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran), General Gholam Ali Oveisi (Tehran military governor), Fereydoun Farrokhzad (the famous Iranian showman, singer, and poet), and many other. One of the more notorious attacks by the agents of the Iranian government against its dissidents occurred in Mykonos restaurant in Berlin, Germany in 1992 that caused the murder of Sadegh Sharafkandi (the Secretary General of the Kurdistan Democratic Party of Iran) and his representatives and translator, Fattah Abdoli, Homayoun Ardalan, and Nouri Dehkordi. In April 10, 1997, the Berlin court announced that this assassination was plotted by Ali Khamenei (Iran Supreme Leader), Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (Iran former President), and Ali Fallahian (Iran former Minister of Intelligence). Two of the terrorists were Kazem Darabi, an Iranian who lived in Berlin and Abbas Rhayel, a Lebanese terrorist and a member of the Hezballah organization. Other Iranian and Lebanese terrorists were able to escape to Iran and Lebanon.

One of the most significant examples of the terrorist activities of the Iranian government against non-Iranians was the truck bombing of the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. The Iranian government directed this terrorist activity through the terrorist group Hezballah. This was one of the deadliest bombings to have ever occurred in Argentina, killing 85 people and injuring 300. A major motive behind this atrocity seems to have been the suspension of a nuclear technology transfer agreement between Iran and Argentina. According to Argentine judge Rodolfo Canicoba Corral, the terrorists who were involved in this act were six Iranians (including Ahmad Reza Asghari, the third Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Iran Embassy in Buenos Aires, who used to work for Iran’s Revolutionary Guard before being posted to Argentina) and one Lebanese man. Evidence suggests that the terrorist attack was planned in 1993, when Ahmad Reza Asghari attended a meeting with the former President of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his deputies.

In addition, the Iranian government has attempted to assassinate other political figures and intellectuals. One of the significant examples was the former Supreme Leader of Iran, Khomeini’s order (Fatwa) to kill Salman Rushdie, the writer of the Satanic Verses on February 14, 1989. Another example is the recent assassination plot of the Saudi Arabian ambassador in the United States. The United States officials have explicitly announced that the agents of the Iranian government especially, some of the commanders of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (Qods Force, a component of the Corps which the United States describes as a terrorist organization) were behind this plot. The plan was to messily assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in a restaurant in Washington. In the hope this would result in the death of enormous number of American citizens. Recently, the Iranian government attempted to assassinate the Israeli ambassador and some Jewish teachers in Baku, Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has friendly relations with Israel and about 9000 Jewish people live there.

Iran, has promoted terrorist groups like the Taliban, Hezballah, al Sadr’s militia goons in Iraq, Hamas, insurgents in Yemen, and has been substantially linked to al Qaeda. However, since doing their level best to further destabilize Afghanistan and Iraq since 2003, Iran has found that unknown parties have been passing high quality arms and training to unsettled elements among its many angry minorities. Between its application of harsh Sharia law, and its reactions to restless minorities and internal criticism, the internal human rights record of Iran is appalling. However, after 33 years, the regime is shaky. The aging revolutionaries have lost the loyalty of the people, failed in their hopes for reorganizing the region, and are finding that their governing coalition is growing corrupt, even more inefficient, and is fragmenting. Like many failing dictatorships, they hope to refocus attention on other projects and pursue the development of nuclear weapons and promoting ever more desperate adventures abroad, relying on increasingly unreliable allies like the Assad government in Syria.

Finally, for 33 years, the Islamic Republic of Iran has used terror to subdue its own citizens, intimidate the Iranians, and as a tool of statecraft against the people of many other nations. Now, they complain about the assassination of their nuclear scientists before they complete the ultimate terror weapon, and about attacks on the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the instrument of their own internal terror. Iran now portrays itself as a victim of terror and seeks sympathy from other nations. For a display of sheer cynicism, it is hard to beat the tears of the crocodile.

John Thompson and Sara Akrami


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

Taliban: New and Improved?

by Robert Spencer

Apparently the Taliban are softening, even allowing girls to get an education. Clearly this heralds an opening to the West, a heady indication that their most repressive days are past them, and that soon they will take their place among the free people of the earth. Soon they will be following the teachings of Naomi Wolf and Thomas Paine.

Yaroslav Trofimov, in a piece that ran Sunday in the Wall Street Journal, noted that Maulvi Qalamuddin, who headed the Committee to Protect Virtue and Prevent Vice back when the Taliban ruled Afghanistan, has completely changed his tune regarding the education of girls. Where once he oversaw the shutting-down, sometimes violently, of girls’ schools, now he says: “Education for women is just as necessary as education for men. In Islam, men and women have the same duty to pray, to fast—and to seek learning.”

Anyone who believes this, or believes that Maulvi Qalamuddin believes it, should contact me, as I have a lovely bridge to sell you. “War is deceit,” said Muhammad, the prophet of Islam, according to a famous hadith, and the Taliban are listening. But the Taliban are to be forgiven for thinking that this sort of thing would play well in Washington, for it very likely will. After all, Joe Biden is still the Vice President – the amiable dunce who recently said: “Look, the Taliban per se is not our enemy. That’s critical. There is not a single statement that the president has ever made in any of our policy assertions that the Taliban is our enemy because it threatens U.S. interests. If, in fact, the Taliban is able to collapse the existing government, which is cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us, then that becomes a problem for us.”

In other words, the Taliban might win, so we have to surrender and act as if we’re just fine with that. And the alternative? Hamid Karzai, who got so annoyed with his American patrons last year that he threatened to join the Taliban himself. The Karzai government, that has been so helpful in “cooperating with us in keeping the bad guys from being able to do damage to us” that an increasing number of American and allied soldiers have recently fallen victim to surprise attacks from Afghan army forces that are supposed to be on our side.

There is no reliable way to distinguish a peaceful Muslim from a jihadist. These friendly fire, or supposedly friendly fire, attacks are yet more fruit of the unwillingness to make even a cursory attempt to take that fact into account. And our troops can’t help but notice. A classified coalition report that leaked last week noted: “U.S. soldiers’ perceptions of A.N.A. [Afghan National Army] members were extremely negative across categories,” including the categories “trustworthiness on patrol,” “honesty and integrity,” and “drug abuse.” One soldier said of the Afghans: “They are stoned all the time; some even while on patrol with us.” Another added: “They are pretty much gutless in combat; we do most of the fighting.”

So divorced from reality is the Western coalition’s view of the Taliban that Maulawi Noor ul Aziz, who was once a senior leader of jihadis in the Nad-e Ali district of Helmand province, was recently granted amnesty by the Karzai government. While he was in Nad-e Ali, Maulawi frequently targeted British troops. And so who, of course, is funding the program to grant amnesty to former Taliban fighters, in the fond hope that they will give up jihad for a normal life? Why, the British, of course. Who else?

And so now the Taliban are fine with girls going to school. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid revealed what was behind this when he explained: “During the past Taliban regime the government would make some hasty decisions, but now we are careful and deliberate.” Has the Taliban actually given up on their intention to impose Sharia upon Afghanistan, in its most virulent, violent form? No. Has the Taliban actually renounced, reformed, or modified any of its foundational principles? It has not.

Nonetheless, the “war is deceit” game is so much easier and more fun to play when you have a target so willing, even eager, to be deceived. And in the Western media and official Washington, the Taliban have not one, but two easy marks. How they must be laughing in Kabul.

Robert Spencer


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Hizb-ut-Tahrir: Sharia Law 'by Force' Enabled by the UK and the US

by Shiraz Maher

Last week the government of Bangladesh announced that it had foiled a potential military coup led by the radical Islamist group Hizb-ut-Tahrir ["Party of Liberation"]. Brigadier General Muhammed Masud Razzaq told a press conference in the capital, Dhaka, that 16 members of the Bangladeshi Army – including retired and active Officers – had conspired to dismiss the government of Sheikha Hasina after she made the country's constitution more secular. He described those involved as "fanatics... with extreme religious beliefs." Two retired officers, Lt. Col. Ehsan Yusuf and Major Zakir, have been arrested, although the main perpetrators are believed to be operating from abroad.

Hizb-ut-Tahrir is an Islamist party whose members seek to revive an Islamic state, or Caliphate. They are deeply opposed to democracy, and believes in adopting violent jihad as the cornerstone of their foreign policy – with the aim of subjugating the entire world to Islam. Founded in 1953 in Jerusalem, the movement now operates around the world, with an international leadership in Lebanon directing its activities.

The group is no stranger to controversy. It is banned across the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan, and Germany. Anti-Semitism laws in Germany were used to outlaw the group after incendiary leaflets were published shortly after 9/11 calling for jihad against Israel and the eradication of the Jewish state. When the war in Iraq started in 2003, the group again published a leaflet telling Muslims to fight jihad in Iraq and to "exterminate your rulers if they stand in your way."

Since 2003, when a new leader took over, Hizb-ut-Tahrir has been increasingly aggressive on the world stage. It has sought to re-establish itself on the Arab street by organizing demonstrations in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. More recently, its members have been seen in Egypt's Tahrir Square as well. The most notable sign of its renewed venom has come with the increased emphasis on trying to stage coups in strategic Muslim countries.

In June 2011, the group was also linked to a failed coup attempt in Pakistan during which a brigadier and four other senior officers were arrested. As Pakistan is a nuclear power wedged into one of the world's most dangerous regions, bordering Iran, Afghanistan, China, and India. it is hard to understate the ramifications if that coup had been successful.

The Sunday Times in London reported:

The Sunday Times has obtained the names of a dozen British Hizb-ut-Tahrir activists based in Lahore and Karachi, or commuting between Britain and Pakistan. There are believed to be many more.

Tayyib Muqeem, an English teacher from Stoke-on-Trent, said he had moved to Lahore to convert Pakistanis to the movement.

At Lahore's Superior College, where Muqeem has set up a Hizb-ut-Tahrir student group, he said the organization's aim was to subject Muslim and western countries to Islamic rule under sharia law, "by force" if necessary.

In a caliphate, 'every woman would have to cover up,' and stoning to death for adultery and the chopping off of thieves' hands would be the law, he said.

Muqeem is not an exception. Hizb-ut-Tahrir has recruited scores of diaspora Muslims from the West before radicalizing them and then sending them back to the Muslim world. The Pakistani Institute of Peace Studies notes that:

After Pakistan conducted nuclear tests in 1998, HT Britain sent at least 10 senior members to Pakistan to set up HT cells in all major cities of the country. It secretly enlisted some officers of Pakistan Army, who were receiving training at Sandhurst, the elite British military academy. The army officers' links with HT were later discovered by the regime of military ruler General Pervez Musharraf and they were arrested in 2003.

Herein should lie the real point of concern for Western governments. Whereas Hizb-ut-Tahrir was originally founded in the Middle East and predominantly operated in the Levant, It later began expanding into the West after its leaders were expelled from Arab countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It was in the West they found a fertile climate in which to grow and expand.

It is not overstating the case to suggest that Hizb-ut-Tahrir has only been able to destabilise Pakistan and Bangladesh because of its successful recruitment of diaspora communities in the West. A Pakistani newspaper, the Friday Times, describes the group as an "unsolicited gift of the United Kingdom to Pakistan." It goes on to note:

[Hizb-ut-Tahrir] is virulently anti-American, condemns drone attacks and curses the 'Zardari government' for being a 'slave of America,' which may account for its lure in the military circles. It also condemns the Pakistan Army for fighting the Taliban in the Tribal Areas, which must please Al Qaeda, the Taliban and officers who don't want to 'fight their own brethren'.

It is not just the United Kingdom that has indirectly fuelled the growth of Hizb-ut-Tahrir in parts of South Asia. The United States is also culpable. As in Britain, the group operates legally in the United States where it recruited Naveed Butt – the current spokesman for Hizb-ut-Tahrir in Pakistan – when he was studying at the University of Illinois.

In a roundabout way, both the United States and Britain are contributing to the destabilization of the world's most volatile region by allowing Hizb-ut-Tahrir to operate and recruit in the West. The fallout from this might not always be immediately apparent, but allowing the group to project itself back into the Muslim world will unleash terrible consequences if it is successful in grabbing any more power.

Shiraz Maher


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

Moderate Muslim Group Backs NYPD Against Onslaught From ICAIR

by Marc J. Fink

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) Defends the NYPD's Use of The Critically-Acclaimed Documentary The Third Jihad: Radical Islam's Vision for America in Counterterrorism Training.

A firestorm manufactured by New York Times (all the news that fits its agenda), and stoked by the Islamist group Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), has forced the New York City Police Department to remove The Third Jihad documentary – praised by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani as "a wake up call for America, " and narrated by a devout Muslim who served as a medical officer in the US Navy – from its counterterrorism training. The removal was followed by obsequious apologies and pleas for forgiveness from the department and current Mayor Michael Bloomberg amid further demands by CAIR for re-training and resignations.

This is the modus operandi of CAIR and other Islamist groups. Incremental Jihad. Political rather than violent. News conferences not bombs. Today: Tie the hands of law enforcement, fire the chief of police, force obsequiousness to radical Islamist groups. Tomorrow: Replace our constitutional republic with a Sharia compliant Amerika. Our freedoms and way of life subservient to the dictates of Sharia, subject to the whims and threats of the loudest and most radical Islamist groups.

Third Jihad features exclusive interviews with some of the nation's leading counterterrorism experts, including, from left to right, former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey, NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly, former Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge and famed historian Bernard Lewis.

"CAIR is the terrorist organization Hamas's representation in the United States," explains Claire Lopez, a former CIA officer. "It is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation/Hamas funding trial of 2008." Indeed, CAIR co-founder Omar Ahmad once told an enthusiastic crowd, "Islam isn't in America to be equal to any other faiths, but to become dominant. The Koran, the Muslim book of scripture, should be the highest authority in America, and Islam the only accepted religion on Earth." Not to be outdone, CAIR spokesman Ibrahim Hooper was quoted as saying, "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future...But I'm not going to do anything violent to promote that. I'm going to do it through education."

But CAIR does not represent all, or even most Muslim Americans. The moderate Muslim group American Islamic Forum for Democracy (AIFD) issued a statement backing the NYPD and Chief Kelly in their efforts to fight Islamist radicalization. According to their website:

AIFD's mission is to advocate for the preservation of the founding principles of the United States Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. AIFD is the most prominent American Muslim organization directly confronting the ideologies of political Islam and openly countering the common belief that the Muslim faith is inextricably rooted to the concept of the Islamic State (Islamism).

Third Jihad narrator Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim and the president and founder of AIFD issued the following statement:

The American Islamic Forum for Democracy unequivocally supports the efforts of the New York Police Department and its Commissioner Raymond Kelly to fight the insidious ideology of militant Islamism. ... This week's attacks on the NYPD and now Chief Kelly are yet another example of the depths of deception that groups such as CAIR are willing to go in order to suppress any criticism of the organization. ...

The story that the New York Times ran this week is over a year old. ... when a new kernel of information was released, CAIR seized that opportunity to reignite the furor. The "shocking" evidence was that 1,500 NYPD officers saw a film that is readily available to the general public and probably already viewed by millions.

This effort by CAIR is a blatant attempt to punish the NYPD and Chief Kelly for doing their job and to strike fear in the heart of anyone that does legitimate work in exposing their lifeblood of Islamism. Political correctness has made mere claims of discrimination and racial bias irrefutable and removed the ability for Americans to have honest discourse on religious issues.

The Third Jihad is not anti-Islam or anti-Muslim. If it were I would not have been a part of it. For me, it was an opportunity to speak with my co-religionists about the threat that exists to our children and our very way of life. It is a wake-up call for our community to accept our responsibility to fight against an ideology within our communities that seeks to strip us of our Constitutional freedoms.

Read AIFD's entire statement here. And give their website some hits here.

The Third Jihad explores the existence of radical Islam in America and the emerging risk that this "homegrown jihad" poses to national security, western liberties and the "American way of life." According to The Third Jihad website:

The film, which is narrated by devout Muslim American Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, opens with the following statement: "This is not a film about Islam. It is about the threat of radical Islam. Only a small percentage of the world's 1.3 billion Muslims are radical. This film is about them."

In 72 minutes, the film reveals that radical Islamists driven by a religiously motivated rejection of western values, cultures and religion are engaging in a multifaceted strategy to overcome the western world. In contrast to the use of "violent jihad" and terror to instill fear in "non-believers," The Third Jihad introduces the concept of "cultural jihad" as a means to infiltrate and undermine our society from within.

The Third Jihad producers have issued a response to the New York Times articles and subsequent removal of the film from NYPD counterterrorism training.

... It is clear that senior members of the NYPD saw value in the film, as did employees of the Federal Homeland Security Department, who first gave the DVD of the film to the NYPD. The Third Jihad features exclusive interviews with some of the nation's leading counterterrorism experts including former Director of Homeland Security Tom Ridge, former Director of Central Intelligence R. James Woolsey, former NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly.

The New York Times has published two news articles (first, second), as well as an editorial entitled "Hateful Film" in the past 48 hours. ... Those that have blasted the film are attempting to stifle an important debate about the internal state of the Muslim community in America, and whether politicized Islam and indoctrination pose tangible security threats. ...

According to the New York Times, nearly 1500 officers, "from lieutenants to detectives to patrol officers" reportedly were shown the film during a period of between three months and a year. ... CAIR is taking credit for the "investigation" which led to the New York Times' coverage, with a press release demanding that the NYPD install Muslim-sensitive materials in their training curriculum to offset what they consider to be an 'Islamaphobic' film. ...

What CAIR and the New York Times failed to clearly address, is that The Third Jihad is narrated by a devout Muslim, who has a significant record of serving the United States of America, as a medical officer in the US Navy and as an attending physician to the US Congress. ...

The film's message urges the Muslim community to look within itself to root out the indoctrination that affects a minority of Muslims.

The documentary is founded on credible evidence presented by the FBI of a "Manifesto" published by radicals calling for the implementation of extremist ideology-both violent and politicized-within the United States.

It is no surprise that CAIR does not like the content of the film. CAIR is singled out in the film for its direct ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, open support for Hamas, and links to terror financing.

CAIR was listed as an unindicted co-conspirator in the 2007 Holy Land Foundation trial, the largest ever terror-financing trial in US History. As a result of these designations, the FBI has formally ceased all ties with CAIR-as should the NYPD and New York Times.

The Third Jihad producers also take issue with several inaccuracies and omissions in the New York Times articles:

Several other inaccuracies appear in the article. For example, the New York Times notes that the film includes a doctored photo of the White House with an Islamic flag atop. But the photo is one of many pieces of documented footage from Islamist sources. Yet the New York Times implies that the filmmakers were the ones to manipulate the photo.

The New York Times also inaccurately quotes the film by stating: "'This is the true agenda of Islam in America,' a narrator intones." But the actual quote from the film is: "This document shows the true agenda of much of Muslim leadership here in America."

The article intentionally omits that this narrator is Dr. Zuhdi Jasser, a devout Muslim.

The rest of the New York Times' coverage focuses on character assassination. While CAIR and others label the film Islamophobic, it is ironic that the film's detractors continuously point out that the film's producer has ties to Jewish organizations. The article inaccurately claims that Raphael Shore simultaneously works for Aish HaTorah.

Read the entire response from the producers here.

Perhaps just as troubling as CAIR's actions are Islamism's liberal enablers in the "mainstream" media. Not only in their dishonest advocacy disguised as reporting that led to the documentary being pulled, but in the way they cover the ensuing "controversy" – and who they cover.

A rally organized by CAIR to demand the firing of NYPD Chief Kelly only drew about 20 protesters -- about one for every microphone on the podium. Notice the Al Jazeera microphone in the middle.

A Google News search found 1,011 news articles covering CAIR's calls for the resignation of the NYPD's chief, Commissioner Kelly. This, despite the fact that a CAIR organized rally attracted only about 20 protestors in New York (see photo above). A similar Google News search for reaction from the American Islamic Forum for Democracy produced exactly three articles, one from the Sacramento Bee and others from the obscure OneNewsNow and PipeLineNews.

The media portrays the radical Islamist groups as representing all Muslim Americans, while ignoring their direct ties to terrorist groups and sometimes open desire to eventually replace the Constitution with Sharia law.

On the other hand, moderate Muslim groups supporting the Constitution and the separation of mosque and state are shunned and marginalized.

Call or write your local news outlets and let them know you'd like to hear more from AIFD and other moderate Muslim groups found here, under "Anti-Islamist Muslim Groups."

Follow Islamist Watch as we continue to analyze the "controversy" surrounding The Third Jihad in the days to come.

Marc J. Fink is Director of Islamist Watch.


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

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Documenting Palestinian Criminality

by Isi Leibler

We are told, day after day, that Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas is a genuine moderate committed to achieving a peace settlement with Israel. In addition to the international community, even some Israelis – admittedly a dwindling minority – also chant this mantra.

Abbas and his spokesman Saeb Erekat bolster this theme by uttering soothing statements in English, endorsing peace to the gullible international community. Yet they speak with forked tongues because in Arabic to their own people, they deny Israel’s right to exist and promote vicious hatred against Jews.

They also claim to have reneged violence. But the PA never conceded that terrorism was immoral. They simply concluded that having failed to achieve their objectives by violence, their goals could best be promoted by temporarily suspending terrorism in order to gain Western support. Abbas made it clear that he "had the honor of firing the first shot in 1965" and was only opposed to terrorist attacks "at this time" for tactical reasons and that "in the future things may change." Yet, even within this framework, Fatah has still succeeded in killing more Israelis than Hamas.

The true objectives of the PA are reflected in the poisonous hatred against Jews and Israel inculcated to their people through the broad range of institutions they control, permeating every level of society– from kindergarten and upwards.

This can be traced to the very inception of the Oslo Accords. Before that, the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis, whilst far from ideal, was certainly better than now, when polls indicate that 84% of Palestinians endorse the murder of Israelis.

In addition to denying Jewish sovereignty, the PA from the outset indulged in the most horrendous demonization, describing Jews as the descendants of apes and pigs, comparing them to Nazis whilst simultaneously praising Hitler, accusing them of stealing Palestinian body parts, using human blood during Passover, promoting AIDs, and many other loathsome blood libels.

This defamatory torrent impacts directly on Israel’s diminished standing in the international community.

In response to this, an important book compiled by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik titled "Deception: Betraying the Peace Process”, has just been released. It meticulously documents the poisonous behavior of the Palestinian Authority during 2010 and 2011 throughout the broad range of institutions they control. It will become an important source for pro-Israeli activists and provide irrefutable evidence in response to those denying the criminality pervading Palestinian society.

Itamar Marcus founded Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) in 1966 as a nonprofit organization to monitor the Palestinian media. Its documentation of Palestinian behavior, including systematically taping State Palestinian TV, became important sources for parliamentarians and serious journalists throughout the world. His briefing of U.S. legislators was a major factor contributing towards the prevailing pro-Israel orientation of Congress and the American people.

The book and the PMW website ( chronicle obscene examples of incitement, especially in the wake of the release of the terrorists in the Schalit exchange. Chairman Abbas, who publicly embraced these mass murderers, summed up the PA approach when he stated "every prisoner is for us a saint and we must exult him”. He subsequently appointed Mahmoud Damra, a notorious terrorist, as his advisor.

The state-controlled Palestinian media sanctified the murders committed by the released terrorists. Thus Ahlam Tamimi, the woman who orchestrated the suicide bombing at the Jerusalem Sbarro restaurant which killed 22 civilians including seven children, was quoted proudly proclaiming she would do it again; Abbas al-Sayed who perpetrated the Passover suicide attack at the Park Hotel in Netanya which killed 30 Israelis was described by Abbas as a "hero" and "symbol of the Palestinian Authority".

Only recently, whilst commemorating the 47th anniversary of Fatah, the Mufti Muhammad Hussein, the PAs highest religious authority appointed by Abbas, proclaimed that the killing of Jews was a major Islamic goal required before the Islamic Resurrection. The moderator introducing him, reiterated that "our war against the descendants of apes and pigs is a war of religion and faith".

And just last week PMW reported how the PA State TV conveyed “greetings” to Hakim Awad, the barbaric and unrepentant murderer of the Vogel family which included a 4 month infant and children aged 3 and 11 years. His mother was honored on the program and conveyed “greetings to dear Hakim, the apple of my eye, who carried out the operation in Itamar, sentenced to 5 life sentences”. His aunt also related to “Hakim Awad, the hero, the legend”. How can people claiming to be promoting human rights conceivably associate themselves with a regime which adulates such monsters on its controlled TV outlets?

The book itself chillingly provides documentation demonstrating how an entire generation is brainwashed into absorbing a culture of death and slaughter. The Palestinian children's programs promoting hatred and evil are incorporated into textbooks, music videos and summer camps all blatantly indoctrinating the sanctity of Shahada (martyrdom) and murder of Jews.

Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, purportedly the most moderate of all Palestinian leaders, is cited for his speech praising four terrorists and sponsoring of a Palestinian children’s summer camp in which the participants were divided into groups labeled with the names of terrorists including a notorious bus hijacker.

Marcus and Zilberdik point out how, in the course of one day, a Palestinian child can walk on a street named after the mass murderer Abu Jihad, to a school named after the founder of Hamas, where he will read hate-filled textbooks, work in a computer room named after a suicide bomber, spend the afternoon at a soccer tournament with the teams named after suicide bombers, go in the evening to the Abu Iyad community center, the orchestrator of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics, and finally return home to view anti-Semitic cartoons on TV before going to bed.

After reading this book, a number of questions come to mind.

The U.S. Congress was considering terminating the funding of the PA general budget unless it terminated incitement, glorification of suicide bombers as heroic role models, payment of over $5 million a month for “salaries” to 5500 terrorists in Israeli prisons, and pensions to the families of terrorists. Why did Prime Minister Netanyahu ask them to desist?

Why does Prime Minister Netanyahu so frequently pay lip service to Abbas as a peace partner and, other than very recently, fail to systematically highlight the criminality of the Palestinian leaders? If our Prime Minister agreed not to publicly highlight these evils in order to placate President Obama, we are likely to pay a bitter price. If the civilized world is made aware of the culture of death and hatred which permeate Palestinian society, we would be in a far stronger position in the ongoing war of ideas.

And finally, how can President Obama and Western countries justify their repeated vitriolic condemnations of Israeli construction in Jewish suburbs of Jerusalem and yet have so little to say about a society which indoctrinates its children with such a barbaric worldview? How can Secretary of State Hillary Clinton validate her silence over these issues after having so passionately condemned Palestinian incitement against Israel when she was a Senator?

After reviewing these horrific texts which document such a savage state-imposed Jihadi culture, it is surely delusional to view the current Palestinian leadership as peace partners. Such a calculated policy of deception reflected by the disparity between reality and duplicitous statements designed for foreign consumption is not merely an expression of malice. It is a manifestation of a determined policy to poison the people against any possible accommodation with Israel. It provides a devastating response to the question raised in the introduction to the book. Was a genuine peace process ever intended?

The writer’s website can be viewed at

He may be contacted at

This column was originally published in the Jerusalem Post and Israel Hayom

Isi Leibler


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

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