Saturday, June 23, 2012

Life Under Sharia


by Marc J. Fink

Brutality and Injustice

Islamist Watch, a project of the Middle East Forum, defends the freedoms and liberties of Western society against "stealth jihad," a campaign by Islamists to slowly and methodically implement a Sharia-compliant theocracy in the West. Sharia is Islamic law, based on the Koran and the teachings and personal actions of Mohammad (known as The Sunnah, noted and reported in Hadiths).

Below, very personal examples of life under Sharia in Islamist societies. The intolerance, the brutality, the inhumanity. The extreme lack of religious pluralism, women's rights, free speech and equality under the law.

1. Sudanese Woman Lashed (Video)
2. Saudi Woman Harassed in Mall By Sharia Police for Wearing Nail Polish (Video)
3. Woman Stoned to Death Along Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier (Graphic Video)
4. Turkey Indicts World-Famous Pianist for Atheist Tweet
5. Kuwait Man Receives 10 Years In Prison for Anti-Mohammad Tweet
6. Homosexuals Executed in Iran (Graphic Photos)
7. Tunisian Demonstration Demands Death for Man Accused of Heresy (Video)
8. Tunisian Islamists Slaughter Convert to Christianity (Extremely Graphic Video)

NOTE: Clicking on a video link in this [post] will take you to this article's web address, where all videos can be viewed. You can also go to this article's web address by clicking here.

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1. Sudanese Woman Lashed (Video)

A Sudanese woman is lashed by uniformed policemen at a Khartoum police station. The crowd of men gathered around laugh at the process. Following the spectacle is an interview with Khartoum Governor Dr. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Khadhr, which aired on Blue Nile TV on December 12, 2010.

Under Sharia law in Sudan, it is illegal for women to wear pants in public. The penalty: 40 lashes.

Source: Middle East Media Research Institute, TV Monitor Project. Please see, memritv.org and memri.org

Excerpt from interview:

Gov. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Khadr: What was aired was the implementation of an Islamic punishment. … We should consider the more important issue in this case – our penal code is in keeping with Islam, and the Shari'a is the main source of our legislation. Islamic punishments are carried out to purge the perpetrator.

INTERVIEWER: This is not a case of a woman wearing pants, is it?

Gov. Abd Al-Rahman Al-Khadr: No, it is not. I did not mention the nature of the crime, because I do not want to slander her. It has to do with immoral activity and prostitution.

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2. Saudi Woman Harassed in Mall By Sharia Police for Wearing Nail Polish (Video)

A woman caught the attention of Saudi Arabia's feared Sharia Police at an upscale shopping mall in Riyadh. Contrary to the strictly enforced Sharia law, she was wearing lipstick, nail polish, and a few strands of hair were visible under her veil. The agency that zealously enforces Sharia law in Saudi Arabia is called the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice.

This very brave woman stunned the Sharia Police – who are used to absolute obedience – by putting up a public protest and recording the incident with her camera phone. The State Police were eventually called in. It is not known what eventually happened to this woman, who lives in a closed society with no civil liberties. Since the video was posted on YouTube, it is reasonable to assume she survived – at least for the short-term.

Source: Middle East Media Research Institute, TV Monitor Project. Please see, memritv.org and memri.org

Excerpt from video:

Woman: None of your business! I'm free to put on nail polish if I want to. … I'm not getting out! What are you gonna do about it? … You are not the boss of me, and you can't tell me not to wear nail polish!

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3. Woman Stoned to Death Along Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier (Graphic Video)

A lot has been written about women being stoned to death under Sharia law. But rarely has it been seen. The cell-phone video below shows a woman being stoned to death, allegedly by the Taliban in Pakistan, along the Afghanistan border. Watching it is very upsetting, but necessary to serve witness to the brutality of Sharia law.

The woman is ruthlessly killed in a slow form of execution by having stones thrown at her again and again. Her "crime": allegedly being seen out with a man.

Below, ABC News shows a heavily edited and sanitized version of the video in a Sept 24, 2010 report by Brian Ross:

Below, an unedited version, as originally shown by Al-Aan TV in Dubai:

See also, Memri's translation of the Al-Aan TV segment.

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4. Turkey Indicts World-Famous Pianist for Atheist Tweet

World famous concert pianist Fazil Say is considering never returning to his native Turkey after a Turkish court accepted an indictment against him for allegations of insulting Islam. After decades of secular rule, Turkey has recently fallen to the forces of Islamism. Say's offense? A tweet:

The openly atheist Say wrote a tweet mocking the muezzin, a person who leads the call to prayer in a mosque. "The muezzin finished the azan in 22 seconds. What's the rush? A lover? A raki table?" he asked. He also retweeted a verse attributed to the 11th-century poet Omar Khayyám: "You say rivers of wine flow in heaven, is heaven a tavern for you? You say two houris (beautiful young virgin women) await each believer there, is heaven a brothel to you?"

Say is known for his electric performances of Beethoven. Great art that will never be heard where Sharia reigns.

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5. Kuwait Man Receives 10 Years In Prison for Anti-Mohammad Tweet

A Kuwaiti man was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly sending "disparaging" tweets about the Prophet Mohammad. Hamad al-Naqi was found guilty of "endangering state security" – whatever that means.

Mr. al-Naqi is actually lucky. Shortly after being arrested for his "crime," Kuwait's parliament approved a law imposing the death penalty on any Muslim who insults God, his prophets, messengers, Prophet Mohammad's wives or the Koran, in any form of expression, if they don't repent.

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6. Homosexuals Executed in Iran (Graphic Photos)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad infamously told an audience at Columbia University that there are no homosexuals in Iran. If that's true, it's because they are being murdered under Sharia law.

Four Iranian gay men are due to be executed for sodomy under their nation's Sharia law, according to recent stories in the Huffington Post and Jerusalem Post. The four men -- identified by the Human Rights Activist News Agency in Iran as Saadat Arefi, Vahid Akbari, Javid Akbari and Houshmand Akbari -- are set to be hanged after their guilty verdicts were approved recently by "high court" judges.

A recent study found homosexuals in Iran are comprehensively and systematically brutalized by the Islamist regime, which exposes them to horrific punishment, bullying and risk of suicide. The first detailed report on Iran's homosexual community has found that its members live under social and state repression, with some being persecuted, forced into exile or even sentenced to death.

A series of photos from 2005 shows the hanging of two terrified teenage Iranian boys, allegedly for their "crime" of homosexuality. The photos are of Mahmoud Asgari, 16, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18.

The Washington Post reported on the controversy surrounding the photos and the difficulty in verifying the "crimes" of these two teenagers in the closed, totalitarian Islamist society of Iran.

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7. Tunisian Demonstration Demands Death for Man Accused of Heresy (Video)

The following is footage of an Islamist demonstration held in Tunisia in response to statements made by an unnamed Tunisian expat deemed heretical to Islam. The footage aired on the Al-Jazeera network on June 8, 2012. Translated by Memri.

Excerpt from video:

Tunisian cleric Mokhtar Jbeli: That man had the audacity to affront us and all that is sacred to us. He does not respect the Tunisian people. He must be punished. We demand that he be placed on trial and punished.

Interviewer: Even if he apologizes?

Mokhtar Jbeli: Anybody who affronts the Prophet Muhammad must be punished by death, even if he repents. The punishment for heresy must be imposed upon him. Even if he repents, he must be killed, because it is the decree of Allah.

Crowd: Allah Akbar. Allah Akbar.

Mokhtar Jbeli: Islam will be victorious, whether the atheists, the infidels, the secular, and their ilk like it or not.

Tunisian cleric Shihab Al-Din Tleish: Let everybody know that for the sake of the Prophet Muhammad, we are willing to sacrifice our fathers, our mothers, and ourselves. We will be slaughtered for your sake, oh Messenger of Allah. We will not allow the Messenger of Allah to be cursed.

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8. Tunisian Islamists Slaughter Convert to Christianity (Extremely Graphic Video)

According to the Encyclopaedia of Islam, the most authoritative reference work on Islam in the English language, "there is unanimity that the male apostate must be put to death."

WARNING: The video below of a brutal beheading is EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. It is highly recommended that you do not view. It is posted here only to serve as an historical witness to the brutality of Sharia law – the barbarity of Islamist societies can not be denied. For those who prefer not to view it, a full textual summary can be found here.

The "crime": converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it.

By Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 4, 2012

Liberal talk show host Tawfiq Okasha recently appeared on "Egypt Today," airing a video of Muslims slicing off a young man's head off for the crime of apostasy -- in this instance, the crime of converting to Christianity and refusing to renounce it.

A young man appears held down by masked men. His head is pulled back, with a knife to his throat. He does not struggle and appears resigned to his fate. Speaking in Arabic, the background speaker, or "narrator," chants a number of Muslim prayers and supplications, mostly condemning Christianity, which, because of the Trinity, is referred to as a polytheistic faith: "Let Allah be avenged on the polytheist apostate"; "Allah empower your religion, make it victorious against the polytheists"; "Allah, defeat the infidels at the hands of the Muslims," and "There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger."

Then, to cries of "Allahu Akbar!"— Allah is greater!"—the masked man holding the knife to the apostate's throat begins to slice away, severing the head completely after approximately one minute of graphic knife-carving, as the victim drowns in blood. Finally, the severed head is held aloft to more Islamic slogans of victory.


Marc J. Fink

Source: http://www.islamist-watch.org/blog/2012/06/life-under-sharia

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

Little Movement in Latest Radicalization Hearing


by IPT News

The fifth House Homeland Security Committee hearing on radicalization within the Muslim community ended Wednesday much as last year's inaugural hearing began: With committee Democrats criticizing the premise and diminishing the views of witnesses.

The hearing, "The American Muslim Response to Hearings on Radicalization within their Community," featured three Muslim American activists describing their first-hand experiences identifying and challenging extremist viewpoints and visceral reaction that often generates.

Those accounts were largely dismissed, however, as representatives stuck to talking points about the horrible harm they saw being caused by the very discussion. Ranking Democrat Bennie Thompson of Mississippi worried the hearings helped "provide a Congressional stamp of approval for groups that espouse anti-Muslim beliefs" and fuel anti-Muslim hate crimes.

None of the critics offered an example of any crime which was in any way connected to the congressional hearings.

Yvette Clarke, D-N.Y., invoked the Japanese internment camps during World War II.

That left Chairman Peter King, R-N.Y., frustrated. He cited a statement by Attorney General Eric Holder that there was a crisis of radicalization to violence within the Muslim-American community. Past testimony showed "[t]he threat posed by radicalized Muslim-Americans is a clear and present danger to homeland security," he said in his prepared remarks. Widely accessible videos and books in prison libraries fuel the radicalization, he noted. And classified information shows a growing problem of Islamist extremism within U.S. military ranks has reached a "truly eye-popping amount of ongoing cases."

Yet, the discussion remained blocked by partisanship.

That's by design, witnesses said.

"If you label anybody that addresses this [as] an Islamophobe or a bigot, it stifles free speech," said Zuhdi Jasser, founder of the American-Islamic Forum for Democracy and a member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. "It prevents us from dealing with the very issue that we need to."

He said he hoped the hearings could serve as "a dialogue to bridge between those who see no problem in the Muslim community and those who see all Muslims as a problem."

For all the talk of fueling anti-Muslim sentiment, the hearings provide a chance to explain the distinction between the faith of Islam and the politics of Islamism, said Qanta Ahmed, a writer and physician who treats 9/11 first responders.

One is a faith, she said. The other is political ideology. For all the rhetoric, nothing debated in the radicalization hearings has crimped her ability to practice her religion. "I am more free to worship here than in any Muslim majority nation," she said. "Our rights are not at risk. That gets lost in the debate."

King echoed that, saying "none of the nightmare scenarios anticipated by the media ever occurred. No religious war broke out. Not one bigoted word was uttered during the four investigative hearings we held."

There is a cultural element in play, said former Wall Street Journal reporter Asra Nomani. Many Muslims have become what she called "wound collectors," citing a phrase created by an FBI agent. They cling to ancient grievances, dating back to the Crusades, and quickly turn defensive and in denial to any outside criticism.

The Quran calls on people to stand for justice, she said, even if it's within your own community. That's often easier said than done, and for Muslims like herself it creates "a culture clash where you can't talk to each other."

National Islamist organizations like the Council on American-Islamic Relations tracked the hearing with chapter leaders posting a stream of criticism on Twitter. "No such thing as Islamism," Michigan Director Dawud Walid claimed. "Is there Christianism or Jewishism?"

The term is not an invention by non-Muslims, though. The Muslim Brotherhood uses it, and this website is devoted to it.

In the inaugural hearing last year, California Democrat Jackie Speier denigrated the panelists' experiences, calling them anecdotes that offered little from which to learn. Rep. Laura Richardson, D-Calif., picked up that theme Wednesday, comparing the witness testimony to an episode of "Oprah."

Future hearings need more authoritative witnesses, she said, or else it's "similar to a community town hall that does not rise to the level of U.S. Congress."

King angrily rebutted that, noting the committee often presents classified briefings to its members.

Faiza Patel, co-director of New York University Law School's Liberty and National Security Program, stressed her view that signs of stricter religious practices among Muslims were not signs of a trend toward violent radicalization. She rejected the notion offered by some in law enforcement of a "conveyor belt" of radicalization, saying it does nothing to help identify those with potential to engage in terrorism.

"If there isn't a conveyor belt I guess terrorists self-combust immediately," Jasser responded. Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hassan "did not radicalize overnight."

King challenged Patel, too, noting prepared testimony from the Department of Homeland Security which acknowledged that "the greatest terrorist risk from those extremists who have either been recruited by Al-Qa'ida or its affiliates or inspired by their ideology. This threat is real" and played out in both a successful attack on Fort Hood and an attempted follow-up.

Those doing the recruiting and those being targeted are Muslims, King said. "Somehow to suggest that there is not a correlation between terrorist threats and people of the Muslim faith – no matter how small a minority that might be – I think that's totally erroneous.

Terrorism in the name of Islam is a threat, Patel acknowledged, and it's okay for Congress to study that. In her view, however, that is not being done based on empirical evidence.

It has been a factor for terrorists in previous cases, but "[a]ll of that research shows that the idea of religious conveyor belt that leads a person directly from embracing a religion to becoming a radical to becoming a terrorist simply does not serve as a way to predict violence."

Earlier, King noted the media criticism stirred up by the hearings and their focus on Muslim radicalization. But after a successful attack, he said, news outlets demand explanations about what went wrong. After the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, the New York Times criticized authorities for failing to investigate "mysterious Muslims" operating out of New Jersey led by Sheikh Omar Abdul Rahman.

Now the newspaper is among media outlets critical of the New York Police Department's use of public surveillance in an attempt to identify potential pockets of radicalization.

"Closer monitoring of the sheik may not necessarily have prevented the bombing," the Times wrote in 1993. "But it might have. …If incidents like the trade center bombing can't be completely prevented, they can and should be made extremely rare."

That, King said, exactly is what this committee has been trying to do.

IPT News

Source: http://www.investigativeproject.org/3634/little-movement-in-latest-radicalization-hearing

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

The Brotherhood’s Useful Idiots


by Caroline B. Glick

You have to hand it to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. They know how to play power politics.
You have to hand it to the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood. They know how to play power politics. They know how to acquire power. And they know how to use power.

Last Friday, the day before voters by most accounts elected the Brotherhood’s candidate Mohamed Morsy to serve as Egypt’s next president, The Wall Street Journal published a riveting account by Charles Levinson and Matt Bradley of how the Brotherhood outmaneuvered the secular revolutionaries to take control of the country’s political space.

The Brotherhood kept a very low profile in the mass demonstrations in Tahrir Square in January and February 2011 that led to the overthrow of then-president Hosni Mubarak. The Brotherhood’s absence from Tahrir Square at that time is what enabled Westerners to fall in love with the Egyptian revolution.

Those demonstrations led to the impression, widespread in the US, that Mubarak’s successors would be secular Facebook democrats. The role that Google’s young Egyptian executive Wael Gonim played in organizing the demonstrations was reported expansively.

His participation in the anti-regime protests – as well as his brief incarceration – was seen as proof that the next Egyptian regime would be indistinguishable from Generation X and Y Americans and Europeans.

In their report, Levinson and Bradley showed how the Brotherhood used the secularists to overthrow the regime, and to provide them with a fig leaf of moderation through March 2011, when the public voted on the sequencing of Egypt’s post-Mubarak transformation from a military dictatorship into a populist regime. The overwhelming majority of the public voted to first hold parliamentary elections and to empower the newly elected parliament to select members of the constitutional assembly that would write Egypt’s new constitution.

As Egypt’s largest social force, the Brotherhood knew it would win the majority of the seats in the new parliament. The March 2011 vote ensured its control over writing the new Egyptian constitution.

In July 2011, the Brotherhood decided to celebrate its domination of the new Egypt with a mass rally at Tahrir Square. Levinson and Bradley explained how in the lead-up to that event Egypt’s secular revolutionaries were completely outmaneuvered.

According to their account, the Brotherhood decided to call the demonstration “Shari’a Friday.” Failing to understand that the game was over, the secularists tried to regain what they thought was the unity of the anti-regime ranks from earlier in the year.

“Islamists and revolutionary leaders spent three days negotiating principles they could all support at the coming Friday demonstration in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. They reached an agreement and the revolution seemed back on track.”

One secularist leader, Rabab el-Mahdi, referred to the agreement as “The perfect moment. A huge achievement.” But then came the double cross.

“Hours before the demonstration, hard-line Salafi Islamists began adorning the square with black-andwhite flags of jihad and banners calling for the implementation of Islamic law. Ms. Mahdi made frantic calls to Brotherhood leaders, who told her there was little they could do.” Checkmate.

THE DIFFERENCE between the Brotherhood and the secularists is a fundamental one. The Brotherhood has always had a vision of the Egypt it wants to create. It has always used all the tools at its disposal to advance the goal of creating an Islamic state in Egypt.

For their part, the secularists have no ideological unity and so share no common vision of a future Egypt. They just oppose the repression of the military.

Opposing repression is not a political program. It is a political act. It can destroy. It cannot rule.

So when the question arose of how to transform the protests that caused the US to abandon Mubarak and sealed the fate of his regime into a new regime, the secularists had no answer. All they could do was keep protesting military repression.

The Brotherhood has been the most popular force in Egypt for decades. Its leaders recognized that to take over the country, all they needed was the power to participate in the elections and the authority to ensure that the election results mattered – that is, control over writing the constitution. And so, once the secularists fomented Mubarak’s overthrow, their goal was to ensure their ability to participate in the elections and to ensure that the parliament would control the constitution-writing process.

To achieve these goals, they were equally willing to collaborate with the secularists against the military and with the military against the secularists. To achieve their goals they were willing – as they did before Shari’a Friday last July – to negotiate in bad faith.

While instructive, the Journal’s article fell short because the reporters failed to recognize that the Brotherhood outmaneuvered the military junta in the same way that it outmaneuvered the secularists. The article starts with the premise that the military’s decision to stage an effective coup d’etat last week spelled an end to the Egyptian revolution and the country’s reversion to the military dictatorship that has ruled the state since the 1950s.

Levinson and Bradley claim, “Following the rulings by the high court this week [which canceled the results of the parliamentary elections and ensured continued military control over the country regardless of the results of the presidential elections], the Brotherhood’s strategy of cooperation with the military seems failed.”

But actually, that is not the case. By permitting the Brotherhood to participate in the elections for parliament and the presidency, the military signed the death warrant of its regime. The Brotherhood will rule Egypt. The only thing left to be determined is whether its takeover will happen quickly or slowly.

To understand why this is the case, it is important to notice what happened in Turkey. When the Islamist AKP party won the 2002 elections, the Turkish military was constitutionally authorized to control the country. As the guardians of Turkey’s secular state, Turkey’s military was constitutionally empowered to overthrow democratically elected governments.

Ten years later, Turkey is a populist, authoritarian, Islamic state. Half the general officer corps is in prison, held without charge or on trumped up charges. Turkey’s judiciary and civil service are controlled by Islamists. The AKP is filling the military’s officer corps with its loyalists.

When you know what you want, you use all the tools at your disposal to achieve your goals. When you don’t know what you want, no matter what tools you hold, you will fail to achieve your goals.

The Egyptian military today is far weaker than the Turkish military was in 2002. And it has already been outmaneuvered by the Brotherhood. The only way for it to secure its hold on power is through brute force. And the generals have already shown they are unwilling to use sufficient force to repress the Brotherhood.

The regime’s decision to outlaw the parliament and decree the military above the president was not a show of strength. It was a panicked act of desperation by a regime that knows its days are numbered.

So was its decision to delay announcing the winner of the presidential elections.

When Morsy declared victory in the presidential elections on Sunday, he did so surrounded by members of the just-dissolved parliament. His act was a warning to the military. The Brotherhood will not allow the ruling to stand.

It is possible the Brotherhood will stand down in this confrontation with the military over the parliamentary election. But the military will emerge vastly weakened. And when the next round of confrontation inevitably arrives, the military will have even less clout. And so on and so forth.

THE INEVITABILITY of the Islamic takeover of Egypt means that the peace between Israel and Egypt is meaningless. Confrontation is coming. The only questions that remain are how long it will take and what form it will come in. If it happens slowly, it will be characterized by a gradual escalation of cross-border attacks from Sinai by Hamas and other jihadist groups. Hamas’s sudden eagerness to take responsibility for the mortar attacks against southern Israel as well as Monday morning’s murderous cross-border attack are signs of things to come.

With the Brotherhood ascending to power, the security cooperation Israel has received from the Egyptian security forces in Sinai is over. And the regime won’t suffice with doing nothing to stop terror. It will encourage it. Just as the Egyptian military sponsored and organized the fedayeen raids from Gaza in the 1950s, so today the regime will sponsor and eventually organize irregular attacks from Sinai and Gaza.

In the rapid-path-to-confrontation scenario, the Egyptian military itself will participate in attacks against Israel. Egyptian troops may take potshots at Israelis from across the border. They may remilitarize Sinai. They may escalate attacks against the US-commanded MFO forces in Sinai that are supposed to keep the peace with the goal of convincing them to withdraw.

Whether the confrontation happens tomorrow or in a year or two, the question of whether the military remains the titular ruler of Egypt or not is irrelevant to Israel.

In their attempt to maintain their power and privilege, the first bargaining chip the generals will sacrifice is their support for the peace with Israel. With the US siding with the Brotherhood against the military, maintaining the peace treaty has ceased to be important for the generals.

This dismal situation requires Israel’s leaders to take several steps immediately. First, our leaders must abandon their diplomatic language regarding Egypt. No point is served by not acknowledging that the southern front – dormant since 1981 – has reawakened and that Israel’s peace with Egypt is now meaningless.

Recall that it was under Mubarak’s leadership that the Egyptian media reported that the Mossad was deploying sharks as secret agents and ordering them to attack tourists along Egypt’s seacoast in an effort to destroy Egypt’s tourism industry.

Since Israel doesn’t need to actually do or say anything to cause the Egyptians to attack, we might as well be honest in our own discussion of the situation.

At a minimum, frank talk will ensure that the steps we take on the ground to meet the challenge of Egypt will be based on reality and not on an attempt to ignore reality.

Straight talk is also important in the international arena. For the past 30 years, in the interest of protecting the peace treaty, Israel never defended itself against Egypt’s diplomatic assaults on its very right to exist. Now it can and must fight back with full force.

At a minimum, this will enable Israel to wage a coherent diplomatic defense of whatever military action it will eventually need to take to defend itself against Egyptian aggression.

As to that aggression, we don’t have any good options on the ground. We cannot operate openly in Sinai. If we retaliate against missile attacks with air strikes, the Brotherhood-led Egyptian government will use our defensive action to justify war. So we need to massively expand our ability to operate covertly.

Aside from that, we must equip and train our military to win a war against the US-trained and-armed Egyptian military.

However the Egyptian election results pan out, the die has been cast. We must prepare for what is coming.

Caroline B. Glick caroline@carolineglick.com

Source: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Columnists/Article.aspx?id=274761

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

Canada: Anti-Semitic Church Attack on Israel


by Christine Williams

This hatred has nothing to do with the so-called "occupation," as Palestinian schoolchildren are taught to believe, but is instead fuelled by Israel having a different ideology of true Democracy and Human Rights in a region where most leaders are hostile to both.

The United Church of Canada has released the 26 page report of its Working Group on Israel/Palestine Policy, which the church will consider introducing as policy when the denomination's 41st General Council convenes in Ottawa August 11-18. The Working Group indicates that its recommendations were put forth in search of truth, justice and reconciliation when in fact it does little or nothing of the sort. It refers to Israel as the "thief," the "occupier," and the "oppressor," and compares Israeli policies to those of South Africa under apartheid, and more shockingly to Sudan, despite the fact that people from Africa risk their lives to get to Israel to escape the Islamist apartheid rampant throughout African countries such as Sudan, South Sudan and Nigeria, to name but a few.

While acknowledging Israel's right to exist, this biased and scathing report against Israel calls for "Christian economic action" against it, and points out that Canada does not recognize permanent Israeli control over territories occupied in 1967. Nevertheless it omits that these territories -- under dispute -- were taken by Israel in a defensive war, the second that united Arab countries had initiated against it since Israel's founding in 1948. It is difficult to imagine a view advanced by the United Church working group, along with the automatic majority of autocracies in the United Nations, that countries which start wars and then lose them should be rewarded. The Group also omits that Canada is the greatest friend to Israel and that it opposes anti-Israel labels, as well as attempts to exterminate Israel economically by means of divestment, boycotts and sanctions [BDS].

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recognized immediately what this working group failed to recognize: he stated in May that "the world cannot take the words of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran as mere rhetoric and risk appeasing these malicious actors in the same way the world appeased the Nazis.… Under our prime minister, and under this foreign minister, Canada will stand with the Jewish state and people as they struggle to protect their very right to exist."

The three-member working group exerts a feeble attempt to justify the contents of its report by stating that anti-Semitism does not entail calling Israel into so-called accountability. In addressing the report's repeated referral to Israel as the "occupier," the so-called "occupation" must be understood through the lens of the historic 1967 six day war of which an inevitable preventative strike by Israel against the nations of Syria, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq occurred as these nations were preparing for a united attack upon the Jewish State.

The Syrian Defense Minister, Hafez Assad, and President Abdur Rahman Aref of Iraq had both declared that it was time to wipe out Israel's existence (reminiscent of Iran today), and Egypt -- preparing for war -- had illegally closed off the Gulf of Aqaba in preparation for attack. In response, Israel launched a preventative strike and won the strategic territories of the Gaza Strip, the Sinai Peninsula (Egypt), the West Bank and East Jerusalem (from Jordan), and the Golan Heights (from Syria) – all land which it is accused today of "occupying," even after giving back to Egypt 100% of its land in exchange for a peace treaty that as of this writing might be in danger of being abrogated by Egypt.

Israel's having taken this land in war was not from greed, but for Israel's strategic survival against mortal enemies that sought its destruction. With this in mind, it is worth remembering that nearly every state has achieved its current existence as a result of wars, most from greed. Our continent is no exception. According to the criteria of the stone-throwers against Israel, we too are "occupiers" on native lands, which includes the three-member United Church working group, who, being themselves "occupiers," have their own Christian "sins" to contend with.

Another historic event alluded to by the working group is the war that broke out when the British withdrew from the Palestinian region in 1948. The British Response to Jewish immigration in fact set a precedent of appeasing the Arabs – a practice followed for the duration of the Mandate for Palestine. The British placed restrictions on Jewish immigration while allowing Arabs freely to enter the country. As the British withdrew from the region in May 1948, Israel was attacked immediately (the next day) by five surrounding Arab nations. While acknowledging the attack on Israel, the working group report nevertheless emphasizes the Palestinian refugees created by this war, while leaving out the fact that Palestinian Arabs continued to refuse to recognize Israel, and instead began launching terrorist attacks from the Palestinian Arab community that became increasingly organized and dangerous through the course of time with the creation of the Palestinian Liberation Organization of which Yasser Arafat would eventually become Chairman. The Palestinian Authority in its revised charter still calls for the elimination of Israel, by stating that the revised charter incorporates everything in the previous version.

As the Working Group zeroes in on Palestinian victimhood, the exponentially growing number of Palestinian refugees each year is, in fact, a calculated scam -- one that is costing Western nations tens of billions of dollars per year in mandatory "donations." The number of refugees is projected to balloon to 20 million in the next 50 years, and would, at that time, include something like the great-great-great-great grandchildren of the original refugees, who by then would long since have died. By that token, is everyone in Greece now a refugee from the Peleponnesian War?

Although there are indeed poverty stricken areas in the Palestinian territories -- and often shocking discrimination against the Palestinians in (and by) their Arab host countries -- according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, GDP growth in the Palestinian Territory of the West Bank was astronomically high at 9.9% in 2011, and the Gaza strip a staggering 23%. Ironically, the Palestinian Territories are, at this moment, enjoying greater growth than the North American taxpayers who are funding them.

The most basic problem at the root of the Palestinian-Israeli issue is not the so-called "occupation," as stipulated by this working group, but the refusal by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel's right to exist, and the murderous hatred expressed by these leaders against the state of Israel and the Jewish people.

Even as Egypt was preparing itself for a runoff election, Hamas leader Ghazi Hamad said a win by Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohammed Morsi would be a boon to Palestinians, ending the frosty relationship between Hamas and Egypt. Hamad added that no one in Hamas supports recognizing Israel as a nation.

While the United Church Working Group acknowledges Israel's right to exist, it does so only in lip service, without taking into consideration Israel's need to protect itself. Israel has long faced threats of suicide bombers seeking to inflict as much injury as possible on victims, as well as trying unsuccessfully to cripple them with fear. The Working Group's objectives do not even take into account the Jihadist call to war against Israel , and children being taught in Palestinian schools to hate and kill Jews. This hatred has nothing to do with the so-called "occupation," as Palestinian children are indoctrinated to believe, but is instead fuelled by Israel having a different ideology of true Democracy and Human Rights in a region where most leaders are hostile to both. Israel is not an Islamic caliphate and herein lies the problem. The the Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin al-Husseini, worked hand in hand with Hitler during World War II and during the Holocaust to destroy the Jewish people simply because they were Jewish. Al-Husseini blocked attempts to rescue thousands of Jewish children from several countries under German control, effectively sentencing them to death. Few know that Yasser Arafat was a blood relative of the Grand Mufti; and that Arafat's his real name was Mohammed Yasser Abdel Rahman Abdel Raouf Arafat al-Qudwa Al-Husseini. Few also know that Arafat, whose mother was a cousin of the Grand Mufti, was a great admirer of this work.

As this working group attacks Israel, there are those Christians in abundance who support Israel, understand the struggles it faces, and also recognize the plight of the Palestinians as they are used as pawns by their own leadership to feed an agenda of hatred against the Jews and against the West in an effort to distract their people from the true source of their misery: the corrupt and wretched governance at home. Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu has lauded such Christian support, which even includes Mosab Yousef, the eldest son of Sheikh Hassan Yousef, a founding member of Hamas.

Mosab Yousef, who converted to Christianity, now exposes what is truly behind the "peace process." And speaking of conversions, an admirable moderate Muslim in Canada refers to what happened to a Christian convert in a Muslim regime as he discusses the brutality in Muslim societies where a " young man is pinned to the ground, his head is twisted and a knife held against his throat. In a few minutes the head is severed and held up for display to the public, who are loudly chanting, "Allahu Akbar!" ["Allah is Greatest!"]. In the video of this gruesome public execution of an apostate, the victim had converted to Christianity from Islam."

This brutality seen in Muslim societies brings us to a critical point outlined by the United Church working group: "holding Israel, like any other modern democratic state, accountable for its actions is one way civil society strengthens democracy and justice;" and, further, that Israel should be held to a higher standard than the surrounding non-democratic countries. This is nothing short of a highly racist statement, implying that the surrounding "barbarians" are capable of nothing more than savagery, so why expect anything of them or hold them accountable? In other words, they are the brown people from whom we should expect little more than violence and brutality. "Those Muslims" are quite capable of being civilized and should be called to the same -- admittedly flawed but higher -- standard as any other Western nation -- as many Muslim Reformists are trying to do today in efforts to protect the rights of women and human rights overall.

By contrast, in Israel, which is branded apartheid, Arabs are allowed full voting rights; positions in Knesset; employment rights, and for that matter, the freedom to be homosexual – the last, in their own countries, grounds to be murdered.

While all evidence attests to Christians having been driven out of Bethlehem by Muslims, the Working Group asserts, in yet another misinformed allegation, that it was the "occupation" that has driven out the Christians. The Hamas and the Palestinian Authority in fact violated – and continue to violate -- the human rights of Christians through beatings, intimidation, fire-bombings of their institutions, torture, kidnapping, and sexual harassment, thus leading to their exodus from Bethlehem: the very place honored as the birthplace of Christ.

In conclusion, the United Church working group needs to do its homework along with some other Church groups that condemn Israel. Israel is increasingly bullied by the OIC-dominated United Nations, as well as surrounding enemies that have historically sought its destruction. There are still many maps that exclude Israel, including one which was displayed at the U.N. and which was used to mark the commemoration of "International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People" on November 29, 2005. "The working group takes seriously questions about why Israel is currently the only country in the world being challenged by a global boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement (BDS)." In asserting this, the United Church would do well to observe its own faith by remembering that Christ, too, was ganged up against; so it is a moot argument to inquire why Israel is being challenged by a global BDS movement -- that is unjust and reprehensible -- as this small nation continues to fight for its existence.

Christine Williams

Source: http://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3126/canada-united-church-israel

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

Thoughts on the Syrian Downing of a Turkish Warplane


by Daniel Pipes

There appears to be agreement on the basic facts: a Turkish F-4 violated Syrian airspace and the Syrian military shot it down over its territorial waters. Further, there is no dispute that the AKP-led Turkish government has for months offered sanctuary and armed the Syrian opposition forces in what amounts to a civil war in Syria between a hideous, brutal tyranny and an increasingly Islamist opposition. The Turkish leadership, even while accepting that its plane violated Syrian airspace, is growling about retaliation. The Syrian government has done its best to tamp down Turkish anger.

A Turkish F-4.

How should Western states respond to this crisis between Ankara and Damascus, one which has the potential to grow into a war between two states? More specifically, what if the Republic of Turkey invokes Article 5 of the NATO treaty, which in the case of "an armed attack against one or more of them … shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them … will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking … such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force"?

Because both sides in the Syrian conflict represent hideous alternatives, I argue that Western governments should stay out. I repeat that, with all the greater urgency, during this crisis. The West has no interest in supporting an aggressive Turkish government; quite the contrary, it needs to send Erdoğan & Co. a clear signal rejecting their bellicose and quasi-rogue foreign policy. As for Article 5, it's clearly inoperative here, what with the recent history of Turkish aggression against Syria, culminating in the warplane's intrusion. Again, stay out. (June 23, 2012)

Daniel Pipes

Source: http://www.danielpipes.org/blog/2012/06/thoughts-on-the-syrian-downing-of-a-turkish

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

Jerusalem in "Mandate" Time


by Eli E. Hertz

Two distinct issues exist: the issue of Jerusalem and the issue of the Holy Places. Cambridge Professor Sir Elihu Lauterpacht, Judge ad hoc of the International Court of Justice has said:

"Not only are the two problems separate; they are also quite distinct in nature from one another. So far as the Holy Places are concerned, the question is for the most part one of assuring respect for the existing interests of the three religions and of providing the necessary guarantees of freedom of access, worship, and religious administration [E.H., as mandated in Article 13 and 14 of the "Mandate for Palestine"] ... As far as the City of Jerusalem itself is concerned, the question is one of establishing an effective administration of the City which can protect the rights of the various elements of its permanent population-Christian, Arab and Jewish-and ensure the governmental stability and physical security which are essential requirements for the city of the Holy Places."

The notion of internationalizing Jerusalem was never part of the "Mandate":

"Nothing was said in the Mandate about the internationalization of Jerusalem. Indeed Jerusalem as such is not mentioned-though the Holy Places are. And this in itself is a fact of relevance now. For it shows that in 1922 there was no inclination to identify the question of the Holy Places with that of the internationalization of Jerusalem."

Jerusalem the spiritual, political, and historical capital of the Jewish people has served, and still serves, as the political capital of only one nation-the one belonging to the Jewish people. Jerusalem, a city in Palestine, was and is an undisputed part of the Jewish National Home.

Eli E. Hertz

Source: http://www.mythsandfacts.org/article_view.asp?articleID=237

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

Rocket Fire from Gaza Continues, IAF Targets Terror Sites in Response


by IDF Website

Over 150 rockets hit Israel over the past week injuring an Israeli civilian, Iron Dome anti-missile defense system intercepts 8 rockets targeting residential areas

Date: 23/06/2012, 8:40 PM

A short while ago, IAF aircraft thwarted an attack, as they targeted a group of terrorists preparing to fire a high-trajectory missile from Gaza into Israel.

Terrorists in the Gaza Strip continue to fire rockets at civilian communities in southern Israel, with approximately 20 rockets that hit Israeli territory just today, Saturday (June 23), and over 150 rockets over the past week. As a result of the rocket fire, an Israeli civilian was moderately injured.




In response to the attacks, Chief of the General Staff, Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz held a situation assessment along with Head of Military Intelligence Directorate, IAF Commander and additional high ranking officers. Lt. Gen. Gantz toured the Gaza Strip region and met with commanders stationed there.

The Iron Dome anti-missile defense system battery stationed in southern Israel so far intercepted eight of the rockets targeting highly populated residential areas.

Israeli civilians living in the area are instructed to remain indoors.

In response to the continuous rocket fire, IAF aircraft target three terror bases in both the northern and southern Gaza Strip. Yesterday, the IAF targeted two terror cells as they prepared to fire missiles at Israel. In all of these cases, direct hits were confirmed. An additional terrorist cell was targeted after firing a rocket at Israeli civilian communities from the northern Gaza Strip.

The IDF will not tolerate any attempt by terrorist groups to target Israeli civilians and IDF soldiers, and will continue to operate against those who use terror against the State of Israel. The Hamas terror organization is solely responsible for any terrorist activity emanating from the Gaza Strip.

IDF Website

Source: http://www.idf.il/1283-16364-EN/Dover.aspx

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

A Dark and Vengeful God


by Daniel Greenfield



At the beginning of Sweeney Todd, the chorus of his murdered victims sings, “He served a dark and a vengeful god.” In Egypt, an Islamic Sweeney butchered his wife after an argument, cut her up and sold her mutilated body as lamb chops.

Around the same time as Mohammed Sweeney was selling pieces of his wife to customers stocking up on meat before Ramadan, Egyptian voters made their own offering to the dark and vengeful god by voting for Mohammed Morsi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, whose offshoots such as Hamas and Al-Qaeda have a murder toll that beggars anything the real or fictional Sweeney could have aspired to.

Morsi’s election platform was ending the last light of freedom in Egypt by implementing full Islamic law and in a country where 84 percent believe that heretics should be killed, 82 percent believe that adulterers should be stoned and 77 percent believe that thieves should have their hands cut off, the candidate of Allah, the dark and vengeful god of Islam, was bound to win any democratic election.

As a god, Allah does not appear to be much of a lifegiver. Egypt has six times the infant mortality rate of the “Zionist Entity,” five times that of the “Great Satan” and ten times that of the Japanese infidels. Indeed the country with the world’s highest infant mortality rate is the devout home of the Taliban, Afghanistan, which has an infant mortality rate that is 50 percent higher than Rwanda.

Is Sharia law going to bring Egypt’s infant mortality rate closer to that of Japan or Afghanistan? It isn’t any good at that, but it will be good for beheading all sorts of people that the followers of the dark and vengeful god disprove of. Beginning with heretics.

Indonesia just sentenced a man to 2 years in jail for writing, “Allah doesn’t exist” on Facebook. Thanks to Western innovation, Indonesia has Facebook. But it also has blasphemy laws, because if people started doubting the dark god, they might start asking why Indonesia has an infant mortality rate that is 13 times that of neighboring Singapore.

It’s not that the Muslim world doesn’t have doctors. They just tend to be doing other things, like Dr. Ayman Al-Zawahiri, a surgeon and the leader of Al-Qaeda, Dr. Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a surgeon and co-founder of Hamas, Dr. Fathi Shaqaqi, the co-founder of Islamic Jihad, and Dr. Abdel Rantissi, a pediatrician and co-founder of Hamas, who boasted, “We will kill Jews everywhere.”

Who has the time to waste on pediatrics when you worship a dark and vengeful god who gave you a mission to kill as many infidels as possible? The only infant mortality rates they care about are the ones that they inflict.

The Taliban in North Waziristan, Pakistan have offered to allow polio vaccinations for their children only if the drone campaign against terrorists ends. This isn’t the first time that Muslim terrorists have used children as human shields, though perhaps it’s the first time that they used 161,000 children as human shields. The human shield principle depends on the Muslim knowledge that we care more about their children than they do.

Pakistan has nuclear weapons and an infant mortality rate that is higher than Haiti, the Congo, Papua and some of the poorest and most desperate places in the world, as does Egypt.

The Egyptians could have gone into this election asking themselves why an Israeli child across the border is six times more likely to survive his birth, than one of their children. Instead they went into the election asking themselves how they could see more people beheaded for questioning their dark god. If they gave any thought to evening up the difference in infant mortality rates in the 264 mile distance between Cairo and Jerusalem, it was only by invading Israel or by supporting Hamas terrorists.

That is how followers of a dark and vengeful god think. They don’t wonder how they can save the lives of their children, but how they can even the cosmic score by taking the lives of someone else’s children. They don’t think in terms of making their lives better, but their minds are fixed on the dark goal of making other people’s lives worse.

Major Nidal Hasan, the Fort Hood killer, presented a slideshow explaining Jihad with the words, “We love death more than you love life.” “The Jews love life, so that is what we shall take away from them,” Hassan Nasrallah, the head of Hezbollah proclaimed. “We are going to win, because they love life and we love death.” “We love death,” Adis Medunjanin, convicted of plotting to bomb the New York City subway, screeched at a 911 operator. “You love your life! There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is his messenger!”

When you worship death, then loving life becomes a sin, a blasphemy against the god of death whose worship is death.

“The Jihad is our way and death for Allah is our most exalted wish” are the words of the Muslim Brotherhood, the movement at the top of the Egyptian power pyramid, which is as obsessed with death as the ancient Pharaohs were. But the pyramids that the Muslim Brotherhood and other Muslim groups construct are not tombs, but pyramids of corpses– giant funerary chambers of bodies, those of their own Muslim martyrs and those of their non-Muslim victims, to transport themselves to paradise.

Cults of death don’t look to the present or the future, they look to the past, to the realm of the dead. They worship it and plot to bring it back. They despise the vitality of the living and the future, choosing instead the dirt and ash of the grave, the poisonous hatreds that never die, living on long after Mohammed rasped his last breath after telling his followers to drive out Christians and Jews from the Arabian Peninsula.

Why bother lowering infant mortality rates when you can bring back the glorious past? Why care about the infants at all if their only purpose is to die in the way of Jihad? So what if they die when they’re a few days old, instead of twenty years old. It saves time and their martyrdom can be blamed on the West, which is the source of all ills.

“The Prophet said, ‘A single endeavor of fighting in Allah’s Cause is better than the world and whatever is in it.’” And that includes the children. It includes skyscrapers, paintings and books. It includes life itself. And then what’s left except death?

By voting for the Muslim Brotherhood, the Egyptian people proclaimed that they love death more than life, that they love death more than the lives of their children. The ancient worshipers of Moloch passed their children between the flames and the modern worshipers of Allah pass their children between the flames of Jihad.

The Egyptians have joined the Tunisians in the democracy of death, at the dark altar of the ballot box into which they drop their offerings that say, “We love death. More than life. More than our children. More than thoughts, books, freedom and civilization.” And the world still does not understand what it is witnessing behind the outpourings of propaganda, the jubilant mobs and the analysts spluttering on behind the plastic desks and the glowing logos of cable news shows.

It is easy to analyze politics, but difficult to analyze evil. Talk about a cult of death has no place in the modern world where it is a firm article of faith that everyone wants two turkeys in every pot and a car in every Cairo garage. Every intelligent person knows that all religions are the same. That democracy is good because all people are good. That all religions celebrate life, and no matter how often they say, “We love death while you love life,” they can’t possibly mean it.

But what if they do? What if the dark and vengeful god that the vast majority of Egyptians want to see executing blasphemers and mutilating thieves has been set loose by the ballot box? What if Allah is the dark half that civilized people and governments keep locked away?

“We love death” is the anthem of Jihad. It was the anthem of a butcher who chopped up his wife and served her corpse to his customers. It is the song of millions of Egyptians who chose death over life once they were given the freedom to do it. The death of life for the worship of the dark god who dwells in the darkest places of the human heart.

Daniel Greenfield

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/22/a-dark-and-vengeful-god/

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

Egypt: Islamists vs. Copts


by Raymond Ibrahim

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

As Egypt’s presidential elections come to a close, with the Brotherhood claiming presidential victory, the future of Egypt’s indigenous Christians, the Copts, looks bleak.

Earlier, after the first presidential elections of May 23-24, any number of Islamists denounced them, bemoaning that it was the Copts who were responsible for the secularist candidate Ahmed Shafiq’s good showing.

Even though Shafiq is a “remnant” of the Mubarak regime, which Copts suffered under, he is widely seen as the lesser of two evils. As one Copt put it: “What did they want us to do? Whoever says that supporting Shafiq is a crime against the 25 January Revolution, we ask him to advise us whom to vote for? The sea is in front of us and the Islamists are behind us.”

Regardless, Abu Ismail, the Salafi presidential candidate who was disqualified, expressed “great disappointment” in “our Coptic brethren,” saying that “I do not understand why the Copts so adamantly voted for Ahmed Shafiq,” portraying it as some sort of conspiracy between the Copts, the old regime, and even Israel: “Exactly what relationship and benefit do the Copts have with the old regime?”

Tarek al-Zomor, a prominent figure of the Gama’a al-Islamiyya—the terrorist organization that slaughtered some 60 European tourists during the Luxor Massacre—”demanded an apology from the Copts” for voting for Shafiq, threatening that “this was a fatal error.”

To an extent, of course, Islamist attacks on Copts were due less to Coptic votes for Shafiq, and more to do with the usual animosity for Christians—an animosity that seems to seek any excuse to attack them. By virtue of their greater numbers, many more Muslims did in fact vote for Shafiq than did Christians; even the Islamic Sufi Council of Egypt expressed its support for Shafiq instead of for the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate who advocates Islamic Sharia law.

Realizing that threats—with which Copts are well acquainted—would not prevent Christians from voting for the secular candidate, in a campaign that borders on the comical if not absurd, prior to this weekend’s presidential elections, Islamists began imploring the Copts to vote for the Brotherhood’s Morsi—who some say vows to return the Copts to bondage. Islamist kingpin Yusuf al-Qaradawi himself called on politically-active Muslims to go and meet with the Copts and “explain to them” how they have nothing to fear from an Islamist president, and convincing them that “Shafiq will be of no use to you.”

Most adamant was popular TV personality Muhammad Hassan, a cleric who appeared several times assuring Copts that they have “nothing to fear from the application of Sharia,” which he portrayed as the best guarantor for their safety and freedom. A day before the elections, Hassan implored the Copts “to elect Sharia and vote for Dr. Muhammad Morsi, promising them peace and security, and that they would live in prosperity under Sharia law.”

Sheikh Muhammad Hassan is, incidentally, the same cleric who says Islam forbids Muslims from smiling to infidels—except whenever Muslims need to win them over. One week before he began beseeching Copts to vote for Sharia, he was in Saudi Arabia making disparaging comments about “those who say Allah has a son,” the Koran’s condemnatory language for Christians.

What does all this mean? For long, the various Egyptian regimes and Islamist organizations have downplayed the numbers and significance of the nation’s Christians, the Copts, sometimes saying they amount to as few as 5% of the total population—a statistic which many Western resources quote without hesitation. Others, however—some pointing to the Coptic Orthodox Church’s birth and death registry—say Egypt’s Copts amount to up to 20% of the total population. Based on the Islamist response to the first presidential elections, such a figure may not be so farfetched.

Either way, Copts constitute the largest Christian bloc in the Middle East—a circumstance that has other implications. As seen during the presidential elections, large numbers of Christians may help stave off, or balance out, the Islamization of Egypt.

But if Egypt’s government does go Islamist—and early presidential elections indicate it is—fears of persecution on a grand scale become legitimate precisely because of the Copts’ large numbers, which under an Islamist regime will work against them: millions of powerless Christians will be seen as troublesome and unwelcome infidels, not just by “extremists,” but by the government as well—which, as history teaches, is often the first step to genocide.

Raymond Ibrahim

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/22/egypt-islamists-vs-copts/

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

A World Without America


by Ben Shapiro

Here we go again.

Even as Syria, Iran, Russia and China planned one of the biggest war games in Middle Eastern history, including 90,000 troops, 400 aircraft, and 1,000 tanks, the Obama administration was busily leaking more confidential information to the press endangering Israel’s national security. According to the Washington Post, “Western officials with knowledge” told the Post that the Flame virus, which helped cripple the Iranian nuclear effort, was a joint U.S.-Israeli project.

“The effort, involving the National Security Agency, the CIA and Israel’s military,” reported the Post, “has included the use of destructive software such as the so-called Stuxnet virus to cause malfunctions in Iran’s nuclear enrichment equipment.”

This is merely the latest in a long line of Obama administration leaks, many of which have violated trust with Israel, and all of which have undermined Israel’s ability to strike at Iranian nuclear development. Back in 2010, the Obama administration leaked information about Israel’s cooperation with Saudi Arabia to the press, quashing that program to grant Israel use of Saudi airspace for a strike against Iran. This year, the Defense Department leaked possible timing on an Israeli strike against Iran, as well as information on Azerbaijan granting Israel access to local airbases.

The Obama administration leaks, geared toward the singular goal of achieving Obama’s re-election, could, some observers think, become the match that sets the Middle East aflame.

Obama’s only goal with these leaks is to prevent Israel from striking Iran before the election. By the same token, Obama’s kowtowing to Iran, his inaction on Syria, his futzing on Egypt, and his silence on Russia all bespeak a candidate attempting to delay the course of events for as long as possible. If the United States takes no stand, Obama thinks, there will be no chain reaction of violence.

This perspective springs from both naivete and a post-colonialist worldview that suggests that international violence is brought about only by American action. If we just stayed home and let other countries handle things without our influence, the logic goes, the world will be a more peaceful place. This is the same philosophy that says that the War on Terror only bred terror, and that the American alliance with Israel only breeds Middle Eastern turmoil.

It’s a dangerous delusion.

We are seeing the effects of a world without America. The rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt can be attributed to the non-support of the United States for its erstwhile ally, Hosni Mubarak. Now Egypt has moved closer to war with Israel.

The rise of the Iranian nuclear program can be attributed largely to the Obama administration’s failure to support any real uprising in Iran, and its pathetic insistence that only the United Nations (packed with Iranian allies like Russia and China) can solve the problem.

The rise of renewed Russian militarism can be attributed in large measure to the Obama administration and its pusillanimous “Reset” policy. The rise of Chinese interference in the Middle East has been accelerated dramatically by China’s newfound confidence in American wallflower-ism. While we pay their military budget with our debt, they ally with American enemies around the globe.

It is only fear of residual American power that forestalls proxy wars in Syria, Egypt, North Korea, Ukraine, and a number of other countries around the globe. But Obama is busily assuaging such fears.

The natural effect is global chaos. Israel feels it has no choice but to strike Iran now before Obama is reelected. Iran feels it has no choice but to accelerate its nuclear program, because if Romney takes the presidency, the policy of American non-interventionism may end. Russia feels it must build alliances before a more muscular man takes the White House.

And the Obama administration leaks. And leaks, and leaks, and leaks.

Ben Shapiro

Source: http://frontpagemag.com/2012/06/22/a-world-without-america/

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

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Thoughts on Iran, Nuclear Weapons, and Tehran’s Regional Role


by Barry Rubin

“Hitler’s primary task was to put himself over as a misunderstood moderate….Trotsky summed it up neatly: ‘Anyone who expects to meet a lunatic brandishing a hatchet and instead finds a man hiding a revolver in his trouser-pocket is bound to feel relieved. But that doesn’t prevent a revolver from being more dangerous than a hatchet.’” –Joel Carmichael, Trotsky: An Appreciation of his Life, p. 396.

Months ago, when it was at its height, I wrote that the hysteria about Israel allegedly being about to attack Iran and the argument by some that Israel should do so were nonsense. Now it is clear that there was never any chance that such a thing would happen. And that idea was a bad one expressed by non-Israelis who didn’t know what they were talking about.

Now, former Mossad head Meir Dagan, identified, along with former Israel Security Agency director Yuval Diskin, as the main critic of any such preemptive attack, has made some interesting remarks.

Dagan explained that he agreed that the international community wasn’t doing enough to stop the Iranian nuclear project. Israeli threats were made to prompt more action, not as a signal of an imminent attack.

While sanctions are high against Iran, the Obama administration is also granting exemptions to key countries like China, Russia, and Turkey. While the burden on Iran’s economy remains onerous, a regime like that in Tehran is not going to buckle to such pressure, especially since it believes that once it has nuclear weapons that will secure the government’s safety from foreign threats. The ongoing negotiations, which seem eternally able to trigger naive hopes in Western circles, will go nowhere.

For his part, Dagan correctly noted, “The military option must always be on the table with regards to Iran,but it must also always be a last option.” Israel always retains such a choice even if Tehran does get some deliverable nuclear capability. And such an outcome is still years away. The idea of a crazy Iranian government eager to launch nuclear missiles against Israel at the first opportunity is not realistic, though the Tehran regime is bad enough and may do so at some later time. At any rate, if and when Iran actually has a small number of weapons and if Israeli leaders feel there is sufficient danger, they can preempt then. And a wide variety of Israeli defensive measures — ranging from sabotage to computer viruses, to electronic countermeasures and to planes and missiles — should not be underestimated either.

The Israeli position is clearly explained by President Shimon Peres in an interview:

The problem is the following: If we would say only economic sanctions [will be imposed], then the Iranians will say, “Okay, we will wait until it will be over.” Now what the Americans and Europeans and Israelis are saying is, “If you won’t answer the economic challenge, all other options are on the table.” It will not end there. Without that, there is no chance that the sanctions will [work]….The Iranians must be convinced [the threat of a military attack] is not just a tactic.

Dagan was also right in saying that Iran’s influence is waning in the Middle East. The last year has been a disaster for Tehran’s regional ambitions. With Sunni Islamists in the ascendancy throughout most of the Arab world, these countries and movements have no need for Iran.

The Palestinian Hamas group will take Tehran’s money, but it is now in the orbit of the Muslim Brotherhood that is going to be controlling Egypt. Iran’s influence is thus limited to competing in Lebanon (where its Hizballah ally is in a strong position), Iraq (where its influence is real but limited), Syria (where its ally is under sharp attack by rebels), and Bahrain (where it backed the losing side).

Thus, while Tehran getting nuclear weapons in, say, 2010 would have had a dramatic effect in boosting its regional power, that is no longer true today and will be less so in the future. There are certainly shortcomings in Western thinking: How can the United States contain Iran when its leadership’s willpower and courage is not taken seriously in Iran, Arab capitals, and Israel? And since containment is defined so narrowly, only in terms of blocking an Iranian launch of nuclear missiles, how can you counter Iran’s — albeit more circumscribed — ambitions?

Iran’s moment in the region as a whole is over, though it can still do a lot of damage in the Persian Gulf area. But we are now about to enter a new era in which Egypt, under Sunni Islamist leadership, has the option of playing the leading role. The last round of such Egyptian activity began almost precisely sixty years ago today with the Arab nationalist coup of July 23, 1952. Today it is revolutionary Islamism that is sparking likely efforts from Cairo to promote revolution abroad and to make some futile new effort to wipe out Israel. The new regime’s first priority, though, is going to be consolidating power at home and fundamentally transforming Egyptian society.

Barry Rubin

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/06/thoughts-on-iran-nuclear-weapons-and-tehran%E2%80%99s-regional-role/

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

Analysis: Syrian Rebels Gaining Ground


by Jonathan Spyer

As the UN Supervision Mission in Syria ceases its activities, there are indications that the Syrian rebels are beginning to gain the upper hand against President Bashar Assad’s regime. The rebels have scored notable achievements against government forces in recent days. There are corresponding signs of growing demoralization among regime troops, and among those sections of the population still supporting Assad.

The advantage in the civil war in Syria has ebbed and flowed. The rebels began to establish “liberated zones” in parts of the country around last October. In late February, the regime launched a determined, bloody counterattack to reconquer these areas, and largely achieved this in time for the “cease-fire” of April 10. With the cease-fire now in tatters, the indications are that the momentum of the insurgency has picked up again, and is now driving forward against the regime’s forces.

Once again, it is the central Syrian city of Homs that is the main focal point.

Government forces were massing outside of the city over the weekend, apparently in preparation for a fresh assault. But as the troops assembled to retake the urban center of Homs, it has become apparent that large swathes of the surrounding countryside are no longer under government control.

A reporter for McClatchy Newspapers, embedded with Free Syrian Army fighters in Homs governate, noted that the rebels have now expelled government troops from the towns of Rastan and Talbiseh, north of Homs city.

The rebels are also battling for Qusayr, to the south of Homs. The FSA unit engaged in this area is the Farouq Brigade, one of the best organized of the free army formations.

An individual identified as a former captain of Assad’s army captured by the FSA expressed his surprise at the rebels’ strength. “We didn’t imagine they had these numbers and so much equipment,’ he told McClatchy.

Rebels also noted the increased use of attack helicopters by regime forces, to avoid the necessity of engaging rebels on the ground.

The A-Sharq al-Awsat Arabic newspaper is indicating a similar direction to events.

The paper this week described a growing mood of “restlessness and fear” among mid-level officers of Assad’s army.

It noted a conviction spreading among many of Assad’s officers that the rebels must prevail in the end, through sheer force of numbers. Officers quoted similarly acknowledged that the rebel forces were larger and more organized than they had expected. They dismissed the notion that the insurgents consisted merely of “gangs,” as regime propaganda maintains.

One officer said: “There is a new reality that we are feeling daily on the ground.

But the regime refuses to recognize this.”

The spread of the violence into areas that regime supporters had considered firmly under Assad’s control is increasing the mood of despondency.

For a period, the capital managed to maintain an appearance of near-normalcy.

No longer. In an underreported but significant development, the rebels launched a series of coordinated attacks in and around Damascus last Friday.

The neighborhood of Kfar Sousa, a stronghold of anti-regime sentiment in the capital, was the scene of heavy fighting. Large explosions were also heard in the Mazzah, Qudsiyeh and al-Qadam neighborhoods.

The town of Douma, in the Damascus suburbs, also witnessed clashes. Sources suggest that the eruption of the rebellion into urban Damascus – for the first time – has removed the last vestiges of normalcy to which pro-regime elements were clinging.

The fighting in the heart of the capital, especially in Kafr Sousa, is seen by Damascenes as a major loss for the government. Many members of the city’s upper middle class have left for abroad.

Damascus’s Old City is almost under curfew, with checkpoints at all points of entry and exit.

All these indications are at root the product of a significant increase in recent months in the abilities of the rebel forces. This improvement is almost certainly the result of greater quantities of Saudi and Qatari aid reaching the rebels, mostly across the border from Turkey. There have been some intimations that US intelligence and special forces are helping to direct this aid, though this has yet to be confirmed.

The battle is not over yet, nor is it decided. But it is the rebels who now have the initiative, and who are gaining ground.

The regime, meanwhile, appears to be following a dual strategy. While maintaining a fortress-like hold on the capital, and still seeking to reconquer urban centers held by the rebels, the regime is also carving out an Alawite enclave in the northwest of the country.

Non-Alawites are being expelled from the designated area. This area will form a safe zone and “baseline” for the regime, Assad hopes, in the event of a long, protracted war.

It is not clear if this strategy will succeed. But the very fact that it is being adopted shows that the regime is seeking to reduce and consolidate its commitments, in the face of the widening rebel assault upon it. The Syrian civil war is entering a new phase.

This article was also published in the Jerusalem Post.

Jonathan Spyer

Source: http://www.gloria-center.org/2012/06/analysis-syrian-rebels-gaining-ground/

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

Clemency Deal for Assad in the Works?


by Rick Moran

There is no doubt that offering safe passage and clemency to Syrian President Bashar Assad in order to get him to attend a conference on political transition in Syria would be an odious deal. Assad has the blood of thousands on his hands and most would say he belongs in a war crimes court rather than basking in a luxurious exile.

But if Russia's Vladmir Putin says its ok, I guess that just about seals the deal.

The Guardian:

Britain and America are willing to offer the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, safe passage - and even clemency - as part of a diplomatic push to convene a UN-sponsored conference in Geneva on political transition in Syria.

The initiative comes after David Cameron and Barack Obama received encouragement from Russia's President Vladimir Putin in separate bilateral talks at the G20 in Mexico.

A senior British official said: "Those of us who had bilaterals thought there was just enough out of those meetings to make it worth pursuing the objective of negotiating a transitional process in Syria."

With daily reports of civilian deaths and the conflict apparently taking on an increasingly sectarian hue, Britain is willing to discuss giving clemency to Assad if it would allow a transitional conference to be launched. He could even be offered safe passage to attend the conference.

One senior UK official said: "It is hard to see a negotiated solution in which one of the participants would be willing voluntarily to go off to the international criminal court." It was stressed Cameron had not made a final decision on the matter.

During talks at the G20, British and American officials were convinced Putin was not wedded to Assad remaining in power indefinitely, although even this limited concession is disputed in Moscow.

On the basis of these discussions, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, will now seek to persuade the former UN secretary general, Kofi Annan, to change the format of his plans to construct a contact group on Syria, and instead host a conference using the transition on Yemen as the model.

Is it worth letting Assad off the hook if that means saving many thousands of lives? Saleh is an old man and will not live much longer. But Assad is in his 40's and the probability of him living a long, healthy life outside of Syria is a little too much to bear.

What the offer of clemency shows is a lack of will on the part of the rest of the world to do what is necessary to topple the dictator. I'm not necessarily referring to military force or assassination. So far, the world's response to Assad's brutality has been timid, piecemeal, and ineffective. There are plenty of steps short of war that can be taken that would isolate Assad even more than he is now and bring down his economy so that even his erstwhile allies might be forced to take up arms against him.

But if giving him immunity is the only realistic way to get him out of power, so be it.

Rick Moran

Source: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/clemency_deal_for_assad_in_the_works.html

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