EMET Articles
 

Who is Governor Chris Christie Really Pandering To?
Sarah Stern

April 10 2014

Pundits have written about Governor Chris Christie’s recent faux pas at the Republican Jewish Coalition conclave in Las Vegas. The Governor mistakenly called the territories that Israel was forced to conquer in its defensive wars of 1967 and 1973, “occupied.” The fact is that the Palestinians have consistently refused to negotiate in good faith,  refusing to even verbally acknowledge of the existence of a Jewish state.

The reason that the term “occupied territories” is offensive to some is that those facts seem to be glaringly omitted by that particular phraseology.

Certainly, Governor Christie should have been better briefed. It appears that Christie later apologized for the use of the term to Sheldon Adelson, the Jewish philanthropist, major humanitarian, and political benefactor, at whose Las Vegas hotel the event was held.

After the apology, the enlightened oracles of the media began alluding to the fact that the only reason that the governor apologized for the wording was to pander to Mr. Adelson because of his wealth and generosity to political campaigns.

The most odious comment came from New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, who compared Adelson to Iran’s dictator Ayatollah Khamenei saying they had, “…one thing in common—they are both trying to destroy Israel. Adelson is doing it by loving Israel to death. Khomeini is doing it by hating it to death.”

Not agreeing with a policy for making peace with those who daily demonstrate that they are clearly not ready for peace, by inciting children to blow themselves up in pizza restaurants by teaching them that one day all of Israel will someday be theirs, does not equate with “trying to destroy Israel.”

If Mr. Friedman had spent time speaking to the parents of some of the Israeli children who have been killed by the terrorists lionized by Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority, he would understand a bit more of just what the Jewish state is really up against, and how out of touch he is with the reality on the ground.

What the talking heads failed to report is a much more significant remark made in that same speech. This remark indicated whom the governor really panders to, and frankly is a more serious issue for America’s national security interests.

When asked about those who raised questions in their writings about Governor Christies support on issues related to Sharia law, he replied by focusing solely on Sohail Mohammed, an immigration attorney. He described Mohammed’s touching history as an immigrant and naturalized citizen before adding:

“Sohail Mohammed knows as much about jihad as I do, being an Irish-American kid from Newark, New Jersey,” Christie said of the Indian-American judge who immigrated to America as a child. “It is ridiculous and insulting, that because I nominated Sohail Mohammed—that people somehow think that means I’m for Sharia Law. It’s crap,” he said to applause. “And I will not ever apologize for making him a judge—in fact, I’m proud of it.”

Almost every American can relate to that beautiful “American dream” and “rags to riches” saga. We are a nation of immigrants, and all of our ancestors came here to make a better life for their children.  But Christie’s description conveniently omits certain facts.

Sohail Mohammad is on the board of the American Muslim Union (AMU), and serves as its attorney. The AMU was founded by a former executive of the Council for American Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is a front group of the Muslim Brotherhood. Sohail Mohammad’s practice has focused on defending suspected terrorists from deportation.

New Jersey is home to a very large mosque, the Islamic Center of Passaic County, (ICPC), which was founded by Mohammad El-Mezain, who in 2008, was convicted for fundraising for Hamas through the Holy Land Foundation.  It is now led by Imam Mohammad Qatanani. The ICPC and the AMU share multiple directors and leaders.

Mr. Qatanani was arrested in Israel in 1993. The Israeli government said Qatanani confessed to being a member of Hamas, but was released following a plea bargain.


According to an FBI report, Mr. Qatanani moved to New Jersey in 1994, the year following his arrest in Israel, and worked together with El-Mezain to raise funds for Hamas. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) began proceedings for the deportation of Mr. Qatanani because of his failure to disclose his conviction in Israel. The DHS also said he “engaged in terrorist activity” and is “guilty of material misrepresentation and “engaging in unauthorized employment… by allowing an out of status alien to reside with him.” It further discusses a “highly dubious” transfer of thousands of dollars to the West Bank.

A court filing in 2008 by the DHS states, “It is certainly suspicious when a person who has been convicted of being a member of, and providing services to, Hamas, who has personal ties to a Hamas militant leader, and also sends undisclosed cash to the West Bank.”

Imam Mohammad Qatanani used his pulpit to praise the Holy Land Foundation and to say that those conspirators who were found guilty should be immediately released from jail. Imam Qatanani also repeatedly uttered disturbing and defamatory statements about Jews, Israel, and Christians. He also asked expressed support for providing funding for the children of suicide bombers.

Governor Christie had repeatedly praised the Imam. In July of 2012, at an Iftar dinner at the governor’s mansion in New Jersey, Governor Christie praised referred to Qatanani as his “friend”, and “My view is he’s always had a very good relationship with us, and he’s a man of great goodwill.”

You might well ask who the attorney was who represented Mr.  Christie’s “friend” Mr. Qatanani, and saved him from deportation by the DHS?

It was none other than Sohail Mohammad.

Is it possible Mr. Christie feels that Sohail Mohammad is such an American success story because he counts the votes in the Islamic Center of Passaic County? Just who is Governor Chris Christie really pandering to?

It is Time to Remove the Persian Mask
Sarah Stern

March 14 2014

On Wednesday, March 5th, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) intercepted an Iranian Ship, the Clos-C, which had within it a cache of deadly weapons, including 40 M-302 rockets, 181 mortar shells, and about 400,000 bullets. The ship was bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza.

On Thursday, the people in the towns of southern Israel were bombarded with approximately 60 rockets lobbed at them from Gaza. The children in towns like Sderot once again have only 15 seconds to run into their shielded rooms, and are wetting their beds and suffering from nightmares. This round of fighting could have been even more deadly had the IDF not seized the Iranian ship.

This Saturday night, Jews around the world began celebrating the holiday of Purim, which commemorates the turning over of a death decree that had been levied against the Jews of ancient Persia. It is a time when Jews all over the world celebrate with the giving gifts to the poor, packages of treats to one another, and celebrate by wearing costumes and masks.

We look at modern Persia, which is today The Islamic Republic of Iran, and we see that it is the puppet-master behind most of the world’s terrorism. It is about time we unmask the true evil that lurks behind the relatively attractive face of its president, Hassan Rouhani.

The Iranian mullahs are nothing if not clever, and they realized that the straight-talking former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was isolating their country, and his forthright and candid talk of “Wiping Israel off the map” only served to strangle their economy with crippling sanctions.

So the mullahs allowed a relatively unknown, benign face, Hassan Rouhani, to run in their elections last summer. Immediately after he won the election, papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times proclaimed him as a “moderate” and a “reformer”. In the fall, he embarked on a charm offensive and gave an eloquent speech where he sounded more like Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King than the person who gave the order to attack the AMIA, the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 18, 1994, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds.

Behind the mask, Hassan Rouhani has always been a part of the inner Islamic ruling circle in Tehran, close to both the first ayatollah, Ruhollah Khomeini, as well to the current ayatollah Ali Khamenei. While running for office he openly boasted about how he had used his status as a nuclear negotiator to deceive the international community and boasted of taking Iran “from a mere 150 centrifuges to 1,750”, and to introducing “the yellowcake” and the “heavy water plutonium enrichment facility in Arak.”

Yet, most the international community willingly had their pants charmed off of them by Mr. Rouhani’s charm offensive, within the United Nations. Shortly thereafter,the P5 +1 nations, (The United States, France, Great Britain, China, Russia, plus Germany,) entered into a series of negotiations. At the end of the negotiations Secretary of State John Kerry, proclaimed, “For the first time in decades, we have succeeded in halting Iran’s nuclear program.”

But on January 14th, after a second round of negotiations, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted to the world, through a tweet, “Our relationship with the world is based on Iranian national interests.”

It is patently clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has absolutely no intention whatsoever of destroying any aspect of its nuclear program, despite what much of the international community has been led to believe. Just days after the interim agreement, or Plan of Action, was signed in January, President Rouhani spoke to CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in Geneva where he reported that the “Iranian President forcefully asserted that he would not destroy its nuclear centrifuges under any circumstances.” This interview came at a time when the American government had already released $8 billion in assets that had been frozen since the Islamic revolution in Iran. Since then, according to most experts, the Iranians have experienced a surge in their economy just for deigning to sit down at the table with the P5+1 nations.

So much so that many experts in the field estimate that at least $20 billion in new commerce and trade is expected to flow into Iran. The stock exchange in Tehran is soaring, and the Iranian economic has gotten a huge psychological boost.

The interim deal allows the Iranians to keep 50% of their stockpile of highly enriched uranium (at 20% enrichment), and to dilute the other 50%. Iran is also permitted to continue with enrichment, but is not permitted to take it beyond the 5% level during the next few months, although there is no method of enforcement. This gives one very little assurance. It requires only 5 days to go from 20 per cent to 90 per cent highly enriched uranium, (the purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb), and 45 days to get from 5 % to 90%. In other words, all of the compliance to this agreement can easily be reversed within a matter of weeks, or even days.

Many otherwise savvy, sophisticated, and sagacious people around the globe have been lulled into slumber, thinking that the menace of the threat of a nuclear bomb has been taken care of by these negotiations. The disastrous nature of the current agreement inspired The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) to put out this video warning of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and encouraging citizens to take action.

Iran is working on a missile program that can reach the Eastern Seaboard of the Continental United States by the middle of 2015. Yet, on Wednesday in Tehran, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi said, “Issues related to our missile program and defensive capabilities lie outside the negotiations and we may never accept to discuss this issue.”

Iran is a threat to the United States, not just her allies abroad. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, one of the first things the new Iranian government did was seize the American Embassy, taking 52 of our embassy officials hostage and holding them for 444 days. This is commemorated every year on November 4th, by the annual “Death to America Day,” replete with chanting and burning of the America flag. It is Iran that bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 sleeping American Marines.  It is Iran that maimed and killed thousands of American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan with their IEDs. It is Iran that has constantly armed Hizb’allah and Hamas, and it is Iran that this month sent a ship bound to Hamas-controlled Gaza that had within it containers of long-range missiles that could easily reached much of Europe and the Arab states, let alone all of Israel.

By framing the conversation as involving Israel alone, which the Iranian regime regards as only “the Minor Satan”,  focus has been taken off of the very real threat that Iran poses to the United States, which they regard as “the Great Satan.”

Many in the international community have been willfully taken in by the duplicitous strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a merciless, brutal regime has executed close to 95 people in the last few months, and over 500 in this past year for the “crimes” of being a member of a religious minority, for being against the regime, or of being accused of homosexuality. In June of 2009, millions of beautiful, freedom-loving dissidents took to the streets, and were bludgeoned to death or mysteriously disappeared into the notorious Evin Prison, never to be heard from again.

As the late Soviet dissident Andre Sakharov once said, “If you want to understand what a nation’s foreign policy will look like, look at the way, they treat their dissident population.”

The threat posed by a nuclear Iran is real and it is imminent, even to us, here in the United States. This holiday of Purim, it about time we remove their masks.

We Are Still in the Iranian Crosshairs
Sarah Stern

March 12 2014

It is patently clear that the Islamic Republic of Iran has absolutely no intention, what-so-ever, of destroying any aspect of the nuclear program, despite what much of the international community has been led to believe. Just days after the interim agreement, or Plan of Action, was signed in January, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to CNN journalist Fareed Zakaria in Geneva where he reported that the “Iranian President forcefully asserted that he would not destroy its nuclear centrifuges “under any circumstances”. This interview came at a time when the American government had already released $8 billion in assets that had been frozen since the Islamic revolution in Iran. Since then, according to most experts, the Iranians have experienced a surge in their economy just for deigning to sit down at the table with the P5+1 nations.

So much so, that many experts in the field estimate that at least $20 billion in new commerce and trade is expected to flow into Iran. The stock exchange in Tehran is soaring, and the Iranian economic has gotten a huge, psychological boost.

The interim deal allows the Iranians to keep 50 percent of their stockpile of highly enriched uranium, (at 20 percent enrichment-nuclear weapons grade), and to dilute the other 50 percent. Iran is also permitted to continue with enrichment, but is not permitted to take it beyond the 5 percent level during the next few months, although there is no method of enforcement. This gives one very little assurance. It requires only 5 days to go from 20 per cent to 90 percent highly enriched uranium, (the purity level necessary for a nuclear bomb), and 45 days to get from 5 percent to 90 percent. In other words, all of the compliance to this agreement can easily be reversed within a matter of weeks, or even days.

As a poll that the Endowment for Middle East Truth has recently taken underscores, many people have been lulled to slumber, thinking that the menace of the threat of a nuclear bomb has been taken care of by these negotiations. The disastrous nature of the current agreement inspired The Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) to put out the following video, warning of the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, and encouraging citizens to take action:


Iran is a threat to the United States, not just her allies abroad. After the Islamic Revolution of 1979, one of the first things the new Iranian government did was seize the American Embassy, taking 52 of our embassy officials hostage and holding them for 444 days. This is commemorated every year on November 4th, by the annual “Death to America Day,” replete with chanting and burning of the America flag. It is Iran that bombed our Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 241 sleeping American marines. It is Iran that bombed the Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires, Argentina, killing 85 people and injuring hundreds.  It is Iran that maimed and killed thousands of American servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan with their IED’s. It is Iran that has constantly armed Hezbollah and Hamas, and it is Iran that, just last week sent a ship bound to Hamas-controlled Gaza, that was just intercepted by the Israeli Defense Forces that had within it containers of long range missiles that could easily reached much of Europe, the Arab states, and the western world, let alone all of Israel. Estimates are that by sometime in 2015 the Iranians will have a missile with the capability of reaching the Eastern seaboard of the Continental United States.

By framing the conversation only about Israel, which the Iranian regime regards as only “the Minor Satan”,  focus has been taken off of the very real threat that Iran poses to the United States, which they regard as “the Great Satan.”

Many of otherwise savvy and sagacious people have been taken in by the duplicitous strategy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, who realized that when their maniacal intentions were openly made clear by their former President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, their economy was being strangled.  The mullahs therefore, approved of a new, relatively unknown face, who was immediately greeted by the press and much of the Western world as a “reformer” or a “moderate”. After his speech at the United Nations, last fall, Rouhani was treated by much of the Western media as Mahatma Gandhi or Martin Luther King. That totally belies the fact that this merciless brutal regime has executed close to 95 people in the last few months, and over 500 in this past year for the “crimes” of being a member of a religious minority, for being against the regime, or of being accused of homosexuality.

As the former Soviet dissident, Andre Sakharov, once said, “If you want to understand what a nation’s foreign policy will look like, look at the way, they treat their dissident population.”

The threat posed by a nuclear Iran is real and it is imminent. Take action today by going to Action.Emetonline.org for more information about how you can help prevent this dangerous regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.
   


 

 

When it Comes to Jihad Knowledge, Obama is on the Bench
Kyle Shideler

February 07 2014

President Barack Obama recently made headlines in a “New Yorker” magazine piece, in which he described the current crop of Al Qaeda fighters as being like when “a jayvee team puts on Lakers uniforms” adding, “that doesn’t make them Kobe Bryant.” He indicated the analogy was common in the White House.

He went on to say that unlike Osama bin Laden, the current group was, “engaged in various local power struggles and disputes, often sectarian.”

The comment was in response to the recent seizure of Fallujah and Ramadi by the Al Qaeda group the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, and was a defense of the president’s claims to have “demolished” Al Qaeda.

The president’s comment is deeply interesting, because its tone-deafness (even the “New Yorker” interviewer noted the analogy as “uncharacteristically flip”) reflects the general failure of the Obama administration to understand Al Qaeda, or Islamist movements more generally, and the disasters that have resulted from that failed understanding. President Obama even managed to point out that Al Qaeda fighters were “jihadists” while making absolutely clear he has no conception of what that actually means.

The president’s comparison of Al Qaeda action to “various power struggles and disputes” was naturally paired in the minds of many with a recent “CNN” report that “Al Qaeda Controls More Territory than Ever in The Middle East,” authored by national security journalist Peter Bergen. Ironically, as Cliff May of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies rightly pointed out, Bergen isamong those responsible for the utterly false meme (perpetuated by President Obama) that “Al Qaeda is defeated.”

Meanwhile Iraqi security forces, trained and equipped by the United States during our time in Iraq, failed to oust Al Qaeda from Ramadi, while one Iraqi minister lamented that Al Qaeda in Fallujah had weapons, “huge and advanced and frankly enough to occupy Baghdad.”

This is apparently not something that worries President Obama. In his “New Yorker” interview he noted:

 

“…how we think about terrorism has to be defined and specific enough that it doesn’t lead us to think that any horrible actions that take place around the world that are motivated in part by an extremist Islamic ideology are a direct threat to us or something that we have to wade into.”

In other words, if Al Qaeda forces put all of the Middle East under the thumb of Sharia Law, that’s no reason to be alarmed.

It’s a curious statement, particularly since under President Obama the United States has repeatedly waded into conflicts ON BEHALF of those motivated by “an extremist Islamic ideology.”

First in Egypt, where the closeness in relations between the Obama administration and the Muslim Brotherhood (M.B.) was such that M.B. members were given “visiting dignitary” treatment and permitted to bypass security screenings when entering the U.S., before they had even won Egyptian elections. The Egyptian interim government which took over after the military ousted the M.B. has designated the Brotherhood as a terrorist group after revealing evidence they say linksthe Muslim Brotherhood closely to Al Qaeda affiliated fighters in the Sinai Peninsula.

In Libya, U.S. aircraft provided close air support for rebels known to be associated with Al Qaeda. Those responsible for the attack on the Benghazi Consulate killing four Americans were also Al Qaeda linked rebels, as May noted in his column. A “horrible action” which was presumably not, as President Obama noted, “a direct threat to us.”

In Syria, the Obama Administration has attempted to negotiate with the Islamic Front, a group of rebels that includes Ahrar-al-Sham, a militia linked to Al Qaeda. The leader of the group, Abu Khaled al Suri, has openly admitted to being Al Qaeda, and was the man designated by Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri to mediate between the Al Qaeda branches of Al Nusra Front and ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham).

We now have the curious situation of Al Qaeda attacking Al Qaeda.

This has baffled commentators, who have described the Islamic Front and other rebel battles against ISIS as some kind of rejection of the jihadist element. But the reality is that ISIS is being ostracized not because it is fighting to impose Islamic law upon otherwise secular rebels as some have claimed, but because ISIS has violated Islamic law and refused to answer to sharia courts, and the other jihadi forces will not stand for it.

In particular, ISIS has been accused of killing a doctor with ties to Ahrar al-Sham and the Islamic Front called for the ISIS operatives responsible to face charges. As former Department of Defense analyst and specialist on Islamic law Stephen Coughlin explained to this author,

 

“For a person to kill a Muslim who has not engaged in apostasy, adultery or likewise killed an innocent Muslim represents a capital offense under the Sharia, providing an Islamic legal justification for the Islamic Front to fight ISIS. Failing to understand that Al Qaeda-affiliated organizations take the practice and implementation of Islamic law seriously leads to their actions being misinterpreted by Western observers.”

This understanding indeed seems to mirror that of Al Qaeda head honcho Ayman Al Zawahiri (certainly a varsity player if there ever was one) who has favored the Islamic front and Al-Nusrah over the ISIS in previous disputes and who was recently reported speaking out on the inter-jihadi fighting:

 

Zawahiri says that al Qaeda does not accept “any violation” or “any assault” against the “sanctity of any Muslim or jihadist.” Al Qaeda also does “not accept” the accusations of “infidelity or apostasy” that have been levied against some jihadist groups, because they are all “sacrificing their lives and properties” for the sake of jihad.

Having backed those with an “extremist Islamic ideology” in every location in the Middle East, President Obama now claims to be reluctant to fix the chaos his Administration has helped to unleash, and which he now attributes to “warlords and thugs and criminals [who] are trying to gain leverage or a foothold so that they can control resources, populations, territory.”

This view is precisely wrong. Whatever else they may be, the jihadists operating in Syria, Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere in the Middle East are not mere “warlords.”  The fighting ongoing now is not strictly about “controlling resources, populations or territory.” It is about the imposition of Sharia law. The fact that President Obama does not understand that reality means his judgment about who is a direct threat, or who is varsity player and who is “jayvee,” is not to be trusted.

 

A Hollow Victory
Sarah Stern

January 17 2014

“They should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road.”

– Sir Winston Churchill

Once again, Secretary of State John Kerry came home from Geneva this past Sunday, amidst a great deal of euphoria, boasting of an agreement between the P5 plus 1 nations and Iran that is scheduled to take effect on January 20th, saying, “As of that day, for the first time in almost a decade, Iran’s nuclear program will not be able to advance, and parts of it will be rolled back, while we start negotiating a comprehensive agreement to address the international community’s concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.”

These triumphant words were over a signed agreement, the details of which are so fabulous that the Obama administration absolutely refuses to reveal them to journalists or the public at large.

This sense of triumphalism over the agreement has not been shared by most Americans. According to a Pew Research and USA Today Poll, (taken December 2nd through 9th), 43 percent of Americans disapprove of the deal, while only 32 percent approve of it.

However, the triumphalism is shared in Iran, where on Wednesday morning, President Rouhani spoke before a demonstration of throngs of thousands of ecstatic supporters, where he boasted, ‘Do you know what the Geneva agreement means? It means the surrender of great international powers against the nation of Iran.”

The Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister, Abbas Araqchi, told the country’s state-run television on Sunday, “We will in no way, never, dismantle our nuclear centrifuges.”

Yet they are getting an estimated 20 to 25 billion dollars in sanctions relief, plus an additional 8 billion dollars from the unfreezing of the assets that have been frozen in America since the 1979 Islamic revolution. There is a tremendous economic, psychological boost. Businesses from many regions in the world are flying into Tehran seeking new markets. The stock market in Tehran is soaring.

The Iranian mullahs are nothing, if not masters in cunning. They understand this American president, and its war-weary population.  They understand that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the American taxpayer over 4 trillion dollars, and more importantly that over 4,400 American servicemen lost their lives in Iraq, and 2,108 in Afghanistan.

They know that President Obama repeatedly pledged that when it came to Iran’s nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”


The Iranians are very careful observers. They watched vigilantly when President Obama had vowed in a press conference on August 20, 2012:

“We have been very clear to the Assad regime, but also to other players on the ground, that a red line for us is we start seeing a whole bunch of chemical weapons moving around or being utilized. That would change my calculus. That would change my equation.”

Then on August 21, 2013 in Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, the unthinkable happened. At the hands of Syrian leader Bashir Assad, over 1,429 people, including 426 children were brutally gassed to death. Our television screens showed the ghastly images of rows and rows children lined up, some flinching and quaking in agony, screaming and writhing in pain, without bullet wounds or scars. It was obvious that these were victims of a chemical attack.

At which point, Secretary of State John Kerry took to the airwaves and made an impassioned plea. “A thug and a murderer like Assad is trying to get away with this,” Kerry said, adding, “We are the USA, the country that’s tried to honor a set of universal values around which we’ve organized our lives…This crime against conscience, this crime against humanity, this matters to us. It matters to us and who we are. It matters to leadership and our credibility in the world. It matters if nothing is done-if the world speaks out in condemnation, and nothing happens.”

And then, President Obama put his finger to the wind, and realized he did not have the support of the American people. He then decided to take it to Congress, and when he realized he did not have the votes in Congress for the authorization for the use of force, he did an interesting little international pirouette, and made Iran and Russia responsible for the disposal of their chemical weapons (which is about as responsible as letting two known pedophiles baby sit for your children).

Not only did that elevate the status of both of those countries’ international credibility, it sharply diminished ours. To make matters, worse, in a press conference in Stockholm, President Obama stated, “I did not set a red line. The world set a red line.”

The Iranian mullahs have been taking careful notes. They appreciate the fact that this administration is, despite the strong rhetoric, almost constitutionally adverse to any renewed military action. They also understand that the biting sanctions that had been put in place by the United States Congress and the international community were breaking their economy, although it had little or no impact on the nuclear program.

They realized that their former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s honest rhetoric about “wiping Israel off the map,” was serving to isolate them economically. So they allowed a pretty, fresh face to run, that of Hussein Rouhani. Of course, Mr. Rouhani had to be approved by the reigning mullahs. And it is hardly known that Mr. Rouhani was a close friend and confidant of both Ayatollah Khomeini and Ayatollah Khamenei, or that he had been part of the committee that had planned the attack on the Argentenian Jewish Center in 1994.

The overall Iranian objectives of regional and global hegemony and Shiite supremacy, let alone their genocidal intentions, have never diminished one iota. Their tactics, however, changed.

While running for office last May, Mr. Rouhani was interviewed on Iranian National television, in which he boasted about how, when he was chief negotiator for the Iranian nuclear program between 2003 and 2005, the Iranians went from 150 centrifuges to 1,750; that he introduced the yellowcake, and the heavy water plutonium enrichment facility in Arak.

When elected, papers such as The New York Times and the Washington Post wrote glowing editorials about him as a “reformer” and a “moderate.”  They failed to mention that the very day before Mr. Rouhani came to New York to embark upon his charm offensive, he spoke in front of a military parade where a fleet of trucks carried a convoy of Shahab II missiles that can easily reach Tel Aviv with the words in English, Farsi and Arabic, “Israel shall cease to exist.”

Mr. Rouhani came to the United Nations and delivered a speech on September 25th that seems reminiscent of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, or Martin Luther King’s “I have a Dream Speech.”  Among the lovely words of Mr. Rouhani were phrases such as, “Nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine, and contradict our fundamental religious and ethical convictions.” He expressed the hope of “universal acceptance by the people and the elite all across the globe of ‘yes’ to peace and ‘no’ to war, the hope of preference of dialogue to conflict, and moderation over extremism.”

Like offering candy to a baby, the trap had been eloquently set. Mr. Rouhani was speaking Mr. Obama’s language. Never one to distinguish reality from rhetoric, President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry have done everything in their power to ignore the ominous signs coming out of Iran and have decided to proceed with a package of inducements, including the lifting of sanctions.

Meanwhile, none of us mere mortals are actually able to see what this agreement is that has been signed. According to an article on January 13th in the Los Angeles Times, Abbas Araqhi said that there is a 30-page side document or non-paper, where many significant details about how the deal is implemented are outlined.

The State Department of course vociferously denies the existence of the non-paper. When asked about the details of the agreement, State Department Spokeswoman Marie Harf, said, “We will make the details available to Congress and the public as it becomes available.”

Of course the questions become: If we have already signed it, why is it not available? And, if it is such a good deal, why all the secrecy?

Secretary of State John Kerry was right when he said, “…This crime against humanity, this matters to us. It matters to leadership and our credibility in the world. It matters if nothing is done-if the world speaks out in condemnation, and nothing happens.”

A Disturbing Double Standard
Sarah Stern

January 17 2014

Afghan President Hamid Karzi has recently authorized the release of 72 prisoners, regarded as a threat to the security of the United States. The State Department has vociferously objected to that decision. On Thursday, Jen Psaki, a State Department spokeswoman said, “These 72 detainees are dangerous criminals against whom there is strong evidence linking them to terror-related crimes, including the use of improvised explosive devises, the largest killer of Afghan civilians.”

White House spokesman Jay Carney added, “We are very concerned about the release of any detainees who would pose a threat to U.S. forces.”
Yet, just in order to get the Palestinian Authority to deign to sit down at the negotiating table with Israel, the United States pressured the Israelis to release 104 terrorists, all of whom are responsible for the most heinous crimes imaginable. It is an absolute fallacy to believe that the terrorists that murder Israeli or American Jews on the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv are any less a threat to the survival of Western civilization as we know it, then those released on the streets of Afghanistan.

Any one of them, whether they be from a Sunni Islamic group such as Al Qaeda, Hamas, Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, or Ansar al Sharia, or a Shiite Islamic group such as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Al Quds Force of Hizb’allah, delights equally in the murder of either American or Israeli civilians. Not to believe this is to make a distinction without a difference.

On August 9th, 2001, Malki Roth, a 15-year-old American citizen, went to eat pizza in the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem. Malki was a beautiful, vivacious young girl, an accomplished violinist, who wanted to devote her life to special education. Malki was profoundly affected by having a younger sister with severe learning disabilities, and wanted to do something to help those who were less fortunate than she.

Unfortunately, Malki’s dream of teaching learning disabled children was not meant to be. Her life was cut short when she sat down to eat pizza that day. A suicide bomber, Izz al Dehn Shuhail al Massri, blew himself up, killing 15 others and wounding 130. The person who orchestrated and planned that attack, AhlamTamimi, was released in an earlier prisoner exchange, and was welcomed home as a conquering hero. She now lives in Jordan where she has her own, Hamas-sponsored television show.

In a YouTube clip translated by MEMRI, AhlamTamimi actually boasts about the act.

This is a product of the culture of incitement and hatred that has metastasized throughout the body politic of the Palestinians, and has spread throughout much of the Muslim and Arab world. The United States bears much of the responsibility for this by willfully blinding itself to this fact, and by reinforcing the growing sense of Palestinian triumphalism by insisting upon these prisoner releases.

Oslo, Hebron, Wye, the Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East, and all subsequent agreements had always been predicated around one concept: Israel was to exchange something very real and tangible, land, for the end of terrorism and the end of incitement to terrorism. Yet, scarcely a day goes by when there is not some egregious incident of incitement to terror, classic anti-Semitic demonization and vilification of Israelis and Jews, a substitution of the entire map of Israel with “Palestine” and glorification of martyrdom and exhortation to become a “Shahid”, (martyr).

Secretary of State John Kerry has just completed his tenth trip to the region. On his way home, he made a stop in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and met with King Abdullah to praise him and to reassure him that his 2002 “Arab Peace Initiative” remained “a part of the framework we have been piecing together.” Of course, any framework that has been accepted by the Arab league, which has never accepted Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state already shows the inherent biases of this administration.

In fact, the actual intentions of the Palestinian Authority as regards these negotiations was very clearly stated on December 23, 2013 by Abbas Zaki, a senior Palestinian official and close friend and confidant of P.A. leader Mahmoud Abbas. When a Syrian television interviewer remarked, “When they (the US), talk about imposing a solution, we know it will be deficient,” Mr. Zaki vehemently responded, “You can relax. Even the most extreme among us, Hamas, or the fighting forces, want a state within the 1967 borders. Afterwards, we will all have something to say, because the inspiring idea cannot be achieved all at once. (Rather) in stages.” (With thanks to Palestinian Media Watch).

Irrespective of how generous the borders, and what the shape and contours of a future map of “Palestine” will look like, any society that celebrates the killing of innocents like Malki Roth, and that nurtures a culture of incitement and hatred such as this, could not be trusted to make a “peace agreement” that will endure, after the ink on the paper is dry.

Shame on us for imposing on Israel conditions that we, ourselves, could never find acceptable to live with.

TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES: ISRAELI PRISONER RELEASES ARE DANGEROUS FOR ISRAEL AND AMERICA
Sarah Stern, as published in “The Blaze”

January 03 2014

Israel has just released its third group of Palestinian prisoners. These are not freedom fighters who were convicted for wanting to ride in the front of the bus in Selma, Ala. during the heart of the African-American Civil Rights Movement, but people who have been responsible for some of the most heinous crimes imaginable.

Among them are the murderers of Professor Menachem Stern, a historian who won the prestigious Israel prize for his work. On June 22, 1989, as Professor Stern was walking to Hebrew University, he was stabbed to death by Muammar Ata Mahmoud and Salah Kalif Ahmad Ibraham.

Then there were the murderers of Steven Frederick Rosenfeld, 48, a former U.S. Marine, who had gone for a hike in the Judean Hills, when Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal, along with several others, engaged him in a conversation, and ended up stabbing him to death with his own pocketknife.

And of Rachel Weiss who was nine months pregnant, and murdered while riding a bus from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, together with her three children, by Juma Ibrahim Juma Adam, and Mahmoud Salam Saliman Abu Karbish.

Each story in the list of crimes is as gruesome as the last.

It is extremely difficult for me to understand what is motivating this release. Particularly since we know that on the very day that the list was published Saeb Erekat said that the peace talks are over. If all of this is being done as a good will gesture to the Palestinians, where is the good will on their part? And why should the release continue now?

Israel is always ready to do whatever it takes to prove to the world how willing it is to make painful sacrifices for peace, but at what point does one say, “Enough?”  Those who have engaged in these horrible acts of terrorism have received a hero’s welcome. Earlier last month, the Palestinian Authority glorified those who had committed similar gruesome acts, who had been freed in an earlier prisoner release, as the PA Minister of Culture presented them with a plaque showing all of Israel as “Palestine” in a prestigious ceremony.

And we know what sort of future awaits some of these released terrorists. They will be treated as returning, conquering heroes. Take for example Ahlam Tamimi.  Tamimi was responsible for the planning and execution of the Sbarro Pizza bombing in Jerusalem on Aug. 9, 2001, in which 15 civilians were killed, including eight children, and leaving at least 130 injured.

Tamimi had been released in an earlier prisoner exchange. She has been interviewed several times, boasting about her role in the attack, overtly claiming her lack of remorse. She now lives in Jordan, where she has her own television show sponsored by Hamas, and is treated like a celebrity.

The real question that has been plaguing me for 20 years now is, what is preventing Israel from telling the truth? Oslo, Hebron, Wye, The Road Map to Peace in the Middle East and all subsequent agreements have been predicated upon one simple concept: Israel is to trade something valuable and tangible, land, and all the Palestinians have to do in return is stop terrorism and the incitement towards violence.

Yet not a day goes by, in which there is not some reminder of the Palestinian Authority’s true intentions, which emanates from the very top down, be it an official ceremony deifying the “martyrs,” or a poem inciting children to become future “shahids,” or a song broadcast on Palestinian National Television of “my beautiful Palestine,” showing a bird flying in “Palestine” (pre-1967 Israel), from the port of Haifa to Beer Sheba, or media programs vilifying Jews, often depicting them with classic anti-Semitic stereotypes.

This hatred has only been reinforced by the prisoner releases. They are feeling like they are on the winning side of history. Why does Israel insist on playing along with this charade? How does that serve to prevent more terrorism? We know the statistics of the high rates of recidivism of those who have committed acts of terrorism. We know that article 51 of the United Nations Charter says that every nation should protect the civilian lives of its own people.

And what about my country, the United States? Why is Secretary of State John Kerry pressuring Israel to release these monsters when we applaud the capture and murder of Osama Bin Laden.  This is like the release of 104 Osama Bin Laden’s.

We know that those who have been released probably would applaud the recent terror attacks in Volgograd, Nigeria, Kenya, Algeria, Mumbai, the Philippines, France, London, Boston and New York. We know that the Palestinians have always championed the enemies of the United States and that on September 11th, some were cheering as our Twin Towers were destroyed, murdering almost 3,000 American citizens.

All of those despise Israel, which they refer to as “the Little (or Minor) Satan,” despise the United States, “the Great Satan,” equally. This release will not win any love for the United States, at Israel’s expense, but will only empower our enemies.

It is about time Israel stops making itself into a doormat, and tells the simple truth about the Palestinian Authority’s constant diet of lies and incitement. Or else I am afraid all of us will have to face even more dire consequences.

The Geneva Betrayal
Sarah Stern

December 06 2013

In a speech before the British House of Commons after hearing news of the signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, Sir Winston Churchill stated, “We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude … we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road … we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies: ‘Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting.’ And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning,” Churchill concluded
The deal that was brokered in Geneva last week with Iran will go down as perhaps the worst betrayal of American and Western interests in history. Many pundits have compared it to the Munich agreement with Adolf Hitler. But this agreement is infinitely worse.

Neville Chamberlain returned from Munich ecstatic about the deal. He confidently boasted to the world that he had delivered the epigrammatic “Peace in our time.”

Upon return from the signing of the Munich Agreement, Adolf Hitler contemptuously proclaimed in regard to Neville Chamberlain, “If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella, I’ll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach in front of the photographers.” In one of his public speeches after Munich, Hitler declared: “Thank God we have no umbrella politicians in this country.”

As Bret Stephens of The Wall Street Journal pointed out in his excellent editorial on November 25, 2013, the United States and its allies came to Geneva in a position of relative strength, whereas in Munich, Britain and France came to the negotiation in a position of relative weakness

Before leaving for the second round of talks in Geneva, when some members of Congress brought up some facts that had been shared by the Israelis to Secretary of State John Kerry, the Secretary of State angrily admonished, “Don’t listen to anything the Israelis say.” Upon returning from Geneva, Kerry said, “From this day, for the next six months, Israel is in fact safer than it was.”

This is as dismissive of some very real, existential threats to Israel’s existence as it is patronizing. Israel, with its highly sophisticated intelligence services, finds this deal wholly unsatisfactory. Not only do the Secretary of State’s words diminish and undermine Israel’s highly valid and legitimate concerns about the threat of a nuclear Iran, but it turns the tables on Israel and its Prime Minster, who has been rightfully trying to alert the international community of this growing threat, to all of us in the West, as well as the Sunni Arab states, for years.

This administration has masterfully painted a portrait of our one democratic ally in the region, Israel, as the enemy. One would almost think that the American flag was routinely being burned amid chants of “Death to America” in Tel Aviv, and not in Tehran.

Upon returning from Geneva, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said, “Everyone is happy about this deal except warmongers and that regime, which is an illegitimate one.” Adding, “Many were trying to isolate Iran, but who is isolated today? Our enemies are, in fact, isolated.” Why, one might ask, would such a ”moderate” and “reformer” who wants nuclear power for peaceful purposes even speak in terms of “enemies”?

Speaking of “enemies,” it is a clear and convenient misperception for many in the West to believe that the Iranians only have Israel in their crosshairs. It is true that Israel is closer and the easier target for their Shahab-3 missiles. However, the Iranians are working on a missile that should be able to reach the eastern seaboard of the continental United States by 2015.

Ever since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, the Iranians have been referring to the United States, as “The Great Satan”, and Israel as merely “The Minor Satan.” Just last month, the Iranians celebrated “Death to America Day”, commemorating the day, shortly after the Khomeini revolution, they seized the American Embassy in Tehran and held our embassy officials hostage.

It is, in fact, a cynical manipulation of public opinion, on the part of both the Obama administration and the Iranians, to frame this issue as being just about Israel. To think that this issue only involves Iran and Israel would be tantamount to thinking that Hitler only was concerned about conquering the Sudetenland. Israel is just the proverbial “canary in the coalmine.” However, Israeli intelligence is astonishingly accurate and we all know that they will be first in the Iranian nuclear crosshairs. Not to have included the Israelis in the first set of Geneva talks by the P5 plus one nations was a horrific slap in the face to Israel.

The exclusion of Israel in the first two rounds of negotiations clearly demonstrates how the international community has grown to accept the genocidal hatred of the Iranian regime, and given it a patina of propriety.

When the state of Israel asked that they be involved in the next round of negotiations, the answer came loud and clear:

Speaking to the IRNA, Iran’s official news agency, the well-respected cleric in the Iranian regime, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, said: “What is visible is that Obama has agreed to include the fake Zionist regime, (i.e. Israel), in future negotiations.” “However,” Khatami added, “We firmly believe (Israel) must be wiped off the face of the earth and we don’t recognize its existence.”

What makes the Geneva agreement infinitely worse than Munich is that most people in the West were seemingly unaware of Hitler’s genocidal plan until much later. The Munich Accords were signed on September 30, 1938.  Hitler and his colleagues worked in total secrecy. The news did not creep out to the Western powers of Hitler’s genocidal plans and “Final Solution of the Jews” until a member of the World Jewish Congress, Gerhart Riegnar, met a Nazi informant on August 1, 1942.

However, ever since October 2005, when the former Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, made his now famous declaration that “Israel shall be wiped off the map.” Scarcely a week goes by that there isn’t another warning of Iran’s genocidal intentions, which can be easily found on the internet.

On November 20th of this year, Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called Israel “a rabid dog”. A few months ago, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei said, “We will cut out Israel like a cancer.”

The Israelis have learned the history of the Jewish people well. When enemies are preparing to do something horrific, one of the first things they attempt to do is to lay the societal groundwork by attempting to de-humanize. When references are made to the Jewish people as a disease that has to be removed, it should be clear to all that what comes next will be particularly dreadful.

Some in the West have managed to successfully delude themselves into believing that newly elected leader Hassan Rouhani is a “moderate.” However, there is nothing “moderate” about him.

Rouhani, while campaigning for president of Iran in May 2013, publicly chastised a television journalist for not appreciating how successful he had been at using his position as chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005 to deceive the West into believing the Iranians had taken a break from their nuclear project, when in actuality he introduced the yellowcake facility, the heavy water plutonium enrichment in Arak, and to go from a mere 150 centrifuges to 1,750. (Now, they have approximately 19,000 centrifuges).

The very day before Mr. Rouhani left Tehran for his charm offensive in New York, he gave a speech on the reviewing stand of a military parade. In front of his eyes was a fleet of trucks, carrying a convoy of Shahab-3 missiles that can easily reach Tel Aviv. The first truck carried with it a sign in Farsi that read, “Israel shall cease to exist.”

Despite his soft rhetoric, it is important that people remember that Mr. Rouhani had to be approved by all of the reigning clerics, none of whom are moderate. The reason the Iranian mullahs changed tactics was because the sanctions had begun to work. Their overall objective has not changed at all. For those who want to defend Western civilization as we know it, we have, in the words of the pre-eminent Sir Winston Churchill, “sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far along our road…”

We have, indeed passed an “awful milestone in our history.” I fear for us all.

Okay, So You’ve Let Iran Get the Bomb: A Guide to What’s Next
Kyle Shideler

November 05 2013

Close your eyes and imagine for a moment you are the leader of the free world.

After countless years of sanctions, negotiations, more sanctions, more negotiations, and issuing calls for restraint to your more fervent allies, you wake up one morning and discover that, the Islamic Republic of Iran, a theocratic terror-sponsor with direct responsibility for unleashing three decades of terroristic murder against American citizens, is now a nuclear-armed power.

Now is not the time for dwelling on how you ignored the warning that Iran could “breakout” to a nuclear weapon within a month to two weeks. There’s no sense dwelling on how your Secretary of State dismissed Israeli warnings as ‘fear tactics,” while you continued to pursue negotiations with Iranian President Rouhani, who personally orchestrated the rope-a-dope tactics that let Iran slide across the finish line to nuclear weaponry.

No, the question facing you as you review satellite photos of dozens of Iranian nuclear-tipped ballistic missiles paraded before crowds screaming “Death to America” is… now what?

It will make sense to take stock of what options you have available to you. You will call around to your regional allies. Primarily, you’ll be getting busy signals, since most of them will be on the phone with Russia, discussing leaving the U.S. umbrella for the warm glow of a Russian-made nuclear reactor.  You can’t hug your children with nuclear arms, but Russia will gladly hug your former allies with them.  If your allies do bother to answer your calls, it will be to remind you that while they were under a covert Iranian assault, you didn’t lift a finger to help them, preferring instead to hold yet another gabfest with Iran. Those that don’t run to Moscow may make nice with the Iranians themselves.

The same foreign policy “specialists” who urged you to “engage” Iran, and to strike a “grand bargain,” will be eager to advise you to try a strategy of containment. In fact, some were already banging that drum before you’d even given up hope of talking Iran out of its nuclear ambitions.

But you’ve already failed to contain a non-nuclear Iran, so there’s little value in taking calls from those people.

Cooperation on sanctions in Europe is likely to fall apart rapidly, eliminating the leverage they provide over a crippled Iranian economy. Many in Europe were never enamored of sanctions to begin with, and there were plenty of sanction violations,  even before Iran possessed the power to seriously threaten those conducting economic warfare against it.

Expect a series of tests from the Iranians. Already feeling their oats, they are likely to step up pressure in the Gulf, doubling down on subversion in Bahrain, and in other GCC states. Threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, once wrongly scoffed at as an idle fear, now carry with them the threat of nuclear escalation if the U.S. attempts to use its military might to reverse the situation. The game for the Iranians will be “what’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is mine,” as they seek regional hegemony.  Each series of Iranian provocations will roil the oil market, exactly as intended, as Iran seeks to raise prices to a level that can sustain it financially (which is about $150/barrel).

Outside the Middle East, it will be necessary to stop ignoring aggressive Iranian activities in Central and South America, and begin to take seriously the risk of IRGC and Hezbollah activities in the U.S. Homeland as well. Reports of Iranian missiles bases in Venezuela, which you once disregarded, now will keep you up at night.

You’ll have no choice but to pass the Shield Act, and harden the American electric grid as fast as possible. The one punch knockout capability of an EMP strike against America may be far too attractive to the ayatollahs otherwise.

Your instincts will be to back off Iran, and hope to limit the level of mischief they can cause, but this is the exact wrong approach.  Showing weakness will encourage more belligerence (as it has since 1979). Instead adopt a policy of selective confrontation as President Ronald Reagan did against another nuclear adversary.  Do not be afraid to call out the Islamic Republic as the “Evil Empire” it is, to support its dissidents, and challenge it for its support for terrorism. Stress its failed and corrupt policies when you speak directly to the Iranian people, many of whom long to be free. The Islamic Republic will bolster and threaten with its newly acquired nuclear trump card, but you must not buckle before such saber-rattling.

You must be vigilant against any attempt by Tehran to pass its nuclear arsenal off to Hezbollah, and Iran must be made to understand that no “plausible deniability” will spare it from destruction in the event that it does so.  After years of degrading America’s nuclear deterrent, this will require both a real overhaul of U.S. nuclear weapons, as well as reversing the (accurate) international perception of America’s unwillingness to use force since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

You’ll find yourself presiding over an America which has never been more at risk, and your only valid option will be a dramatic shift to reverse every foreign policy you undertook in your previous presiding years to prevent a catastrophe. And even this dim future presumes the Iranian leadership does not attempt to make good on its genocidal eschatology and launch nuclear terror the moment it becomes feasible.
Open your eyes now.

If you’re still the leader of the free world, then there isn’t any more time to waste. You’ll need every available tool if you hope to stop Iran before it acquires nuclear weapons.  No matter what hard choices have to be made to prevent the bomb, they will appear inconsequential when compared to the struggle which will begin if the Iranian regime succeeds.

Talk to the Hand: Global information operations for the Post-Coup Muslim Brotherhood
Kyle Shideler

November 21 2013

News reports claim that one of the last senior Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB) leaders was taken into custody in late October, which may lead some to believe that the radical Islamist organization had been effectively defeated by the new Egyptian military government.

But Eric Trager, a Washington Institute for Near East Policy analyst and a specialist on the Egyptian MB’s hierarchy, has noted on Twitter that Erian’s influence was primarily that he spoke English, and was well known to Western journalists. Other, far more senior MB leaders remain at large in Egypt. So while it may be true that the Brotherhood has been heavily rocked in the aftermath of the coup, which ousted MB president Mohammed Morsi, how badly off is the group really?

While many senior MB leaders have been arrested, the fact is that the organization is used to its senior leaders facing prison. Ex-President Morsi, although far from the most senior of the Muslim Brotherhood leader, was himself broken out of prison during the events of the Arab Spring.

More troubling for the Brotherhood is the breakup of the usras, the cell-like groups to which each Brother member belongs. Usras are tight-knit almost familial groups, which serve to rapidly transmit information from senior leaders to even the lowest ranking members. The Egyptian security forces know this, and have been seeking to disrupt Brotherhood operations by targeting these key structures.

Time will tell whether they will be successful.

Although weakened, the Muslim Brotherhood still has capabilities. Its success in being able to roll out the ‘R4bia” (pronounced Rabia, meaning 4 in Arabic) campaign demonstrates this. The R4bia symbol consists of a black hand raising four fingers on a yellow background. The image, which is now ubiquitous in pro-MB protests as well as in social media, is ostensibly an “anti-coup” symbol commemorating the death of Pro-Morsi protestors in the Rabia al-Adawiya Square. The yellow background is supposedly representative of the Al Aqsa Mosque, and the black color of the hand of the Kabaa in Saudi Arabia, illustrative of the pan-Islamic nature of the Brotherhood. The symbol additionally has deeply esoteric religious references, and contains within it, as the r4bia.com website notes, a connotation of violence:

“…R4BIA is the arena of martyrdom, R4BIA is the mother of martyrs, R4BIA is a smiling martyrdom.” The same website notes that the symbol stands for “…an end to Zionists.”

The MB’s ability to roll out a new global brand with speed and have it successfully adopted ought to be the envy of any corporate marketing executive. It indicates that in the “Information battle space,” the Brotherhood remains effective despite setbacks.

The R4BIA campaign originated out of Turkey, whose governing Islamist AKP party led by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, remains staunchly pro- MB. This strong support has elevated Turkey to a chief operations center for the global Brotherhood. As Mohammed Abdel Kadar writes in Al Arabiya:

“Since the June 30 revolution in Egypt, Turkey has become the regional hub for the Muslim Brotherhood’s international organization. Istanbul has played host to many meetings planning what steps are to be taken against the military-backed Egyptian government after the July 3 ouster of President Mohammad Mursi.”

While Turkey’s influence has been strongly felt, other Brotherhood operatives have fled to Qatar, under the care of the pro-MB Qatari regime and its television network Al Jazeera, while London has been transformed into the MB’s media headquar ter s, according to reports. That decision is deeply interesting, since it’s a reflection of the importance of influencing western media in the MB’s response.

Speaking of the West, The black “R4BIA” hand has also made an appearance in the United States, displayed on the personal Twitter account of Department of Homeland Security advisor Mohamed Elibiary. Elibiary, who openly displays his admiration for the Muslim Brotherhood, was also the subject of substantial scrutiny after he posted on Twitter that he considered the U.S. an “Islamic country” with an “Islamically-compliant Constitution.”

Another American resident and strong Muslim Brotherhood proponent is Imam Shaker Elsayed, the Imam of the Dar al-Hijrah Mosque. If the name Dar-al-Hijrah sounds familiar, it is because it was the mosque where Al Qaeda ideologue Anwar Al-Awaki was Imam, prior to his traveling to Yemen and subsequent death in a drone strike.

As the Investigative Project on Terrorism has reported, ElSayed also prominently displays the R4BIA hand in his social media presence via Facebook. Although Elsayed denies his Muslim Brotherhood connections, he is formerly the head of the Muslim American Society (MAS), which Federal prosecutors have called the “overt arm” of the Muslim Brotherhood in the United States.

So far the Brotherhood ’s ability to leverage western opinion through information operations, like the R4BIA campaign, have been moderately successful. The U.S. and EU have both cancelled or withheld some forms of military aid to Egypt, something Muslim Brotherhood groups in the West have called for.

Whether the Brotherhood will be able to successfully leverage its ability to influence opinion outside Egypt in order to preserve what remains of its operations in Egypt remains unclear, but for now that appears to be a key part of the strategy. As for the large numbers of Egyptians within Egypt who oppose the Muslim Brotherhood and have been supportive of the military’s efforts to uproot it, for now the Brotherhood’s message to them is “Talk to the Hand.”

Vive la France!
Sarah Stern

November 13 2013

In physics, there is the well-known aphorism that “nature abhors a vacuum.” A vacuum has emerged in American global leadership under the Obama administration. This has been demonstrated time and time again. One flagrant case was the pusillanimous actions towards stopping the wanton killing machine in Bashar Assad’s Syria. After making impassioned speeches about the moral clarity of intervention, taking polls, realizing it is unpopular, offering to bring it to a vote before Congress, realizing there would not be the votes, U.S. President Barack Obama finally relegated that responsibility of ensuring the chemical weapons are destroyed to Russia and Iran (which is tantamount to having your child babysat by two known pedophiles).

Also among the most glaring of cases of the Obama administration’s wholesale abandonment of the United States’ role as moral leader and credible world force include the hasty American retreat from Afghanistan and Iraq without ensuring that appropriate safeguards are in place (in Iraq, over 700 people were killed in October alone); the cancellation of the missile defense treaty that the George W. Bush administration had made with Poland and the Czech Republic; the waffling over support of the Egyptian military which have been putting down the Muslim Brotherhood; and the total abdication of the iron-clad assurances that were made under President George W. Bush in an exchange of letters with Prime Minister Ariel Sharon on April 1, 2004, that Israel had the right to retain certain settlements outside the 1949 armistice lines (or pre-1967 borders).

Beyond the void of moral, credible leadership, there appears to be an almost haphazard quality to the Obama administration’s foreign policy. Is its goal to defeat those who are at war with America and Western civilization, or is it to engender good will among them?

Based on the polls throughout the Middle East, we are failing miserably at both objectives. Everywhere one can point to in the region, whether Egypt or Saudi Arabia, our polling numbers are plummeting.

In my lifetime, I have never experienced such a high degree of disapproval, frustration or sheer mockery over American foreign policy. (A Western European diplomat quipped to me that “it is almost as though Toronto Mayor Rob Ford is running our foreign policy establishment.”)

But nowhere can the disappointment be more profound than in Israel.

In 1994, early in the Oslo years, I was speaking with a senior Israeli journalist. The Palestinian incitement to terror and violence had already begun. I wondered aloud why, since the only obligation on the Palestinians was to stop this, and Israel will be sacrificing tangible currency in return for promises that had already been proven empty, Israel was continuing on with the Oslo process. It had, after all, been sold to the Israelis and the Americans with a guarantee of reversibility (“if it doesn’t work, we can always reclaim it”).

“I just had a high-level briefing with military intelligence headquarters,” the journalist said, “and compared with a new threat emerging out of the east, from Iran, the Palestinians pose no threat.” “Uncle Sam,” he continued, “wants us to do this deal with the Palestinians, so their incitement, their lies and their terror don’t matter. ... We will need Uncle Sam’s help when it comes to a nuclear bomb, coming out of Iran.”

In the last two decades, because of this reason, Israel has refused to blow the whistle on the wholesale violations of the Palestinians of the Oslo Accords and every subsequent agreement. By holding their tongues and making itself into a doormat for the Palestinians to walk over (and terrorize), Israel has looked like the guilty party, elevating the Palestinian Authority to higher levels in the international court of opinion.

While doing this, Iran has advanced to the point of no return in its nuclear program. And now, when we are approaching the zero hour, where is the United States?

Last week, Olli Heinonen, director of the International Atomic Energy Administration for 27 years, said at a Washington press conference that Iran has already passed the point of no return and that according to a recent Institute for Science and International Security report, Iran can achieve breakout in one month, and given a few hookups, can be at nuclear breakout within two weeks.

Heinonen reported that if Iran continues to install IR-2 centrifuges, at the present rate, the breakout time could be reduced to two weeks. IR-2 centrifuges produce an average of four to five times faster output of highly enriched uranium. Iran had announced last January that it would install 3,000 1R-2 centrifuges into the facility of Natanz. Dr. Heinonen added that Iran has “passed the point of no return.”

Yet, because of Iranian President Hasan Rouhani’s charm offensive at the United Nations earlier this fall, and a propensity for the Obama administration to confuse rhetoric with reality, the United States was all but ready to accept what Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has called “a very bad deal” with Iran.

This deal would have allowed an easing up of international sanctions on Iran in return for the Islamic republic’s continuous enrichment of uranium to 3.5 percent, when they already have enough stockpiled enriched uranium at the 20% level for at least one nuclear bomb.

Why, one wonders, does Iran need so much highly enriched uranium for “peaceful purposes”?

Moreover, why are so many seemingly intelligent people willing to suspend their critical intellects and show the Iranians such trust?

The very day before Rouhani left Tehran for his charm offensive at the United Nations, he was giving a speech at a military parade in which a fleet of Shahab-3 missiles that can easily reach Tel Aviv was carried by a convoy of trucks. A sign in Farsi on the first truck read, “Israel shall cease to exist.”

Moreover, when running for president, Rouhani boasted in an interview on Iranian National Television of how he had used his skills as a nuclear negotiator as a smokescreen behind which to hide the introduction of yellowcake, of the heavy water plutonium reactor in Arak, of going from 150 centrifuges to 1,750 centrifuges.

The Soviets had a great word for what Rouhani is doing: “doublespeak”—using words as a form of warfare to mask one’s true meaning.

It was U.S. President Ronald Reagan who had said about the Soviets, “Trust but verify.”

The P5+1 talks brought us perilously close to accepting a very bad deal. There was one nation, however, that refused, France. French Ambassador Laurent Fabius told French journalists, “We will not be part of a fool’s deal.”

Nature abhors a vacuum and France has swept in to fill the vacuum in moral leadership. Viva la France!

Iran general: No doubt Israel and America will be attacked
Reza Kahlili

November 11 2013

Even before the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 world powers ended in Geneva early Sunday with no deal, an Iranian general lashed out at America Saturday and warned both the U.S. and Israel that they will be attacked.

According to Fars News Agency, the regime’s outlet run by the Revolutionary Guards, Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, said “America’s interests and all of Israel are within the range of the Islamic Republic and there is not the slightest doubt among Iran’s armed forces to confront the American government and the Zionists (Israel).”

Jazayeri said Israel is pulling the strings of Washington and “the American government is one of the most hated and evil governments in the world.”

The general mocked President Obama’s position that the military option remains on the table over Iran’s nuclear development. “If America had the ability and the will for war, it would allow no doubt in attacking Syria. America will soon find out that Iran’s power cannot be ignored.”

The Geneva negotiations ended early Sunday with no deal after three days of high-level talks when France questioned the initial draft and if it went far enough in curbing Iran’s illicit nuclear program. Iran and the 5+1 world powers are to meet again on November 20.

As reported by The Daily Caller on Friday, Iran remained insistent on major relief from sanctions, especially in the banking and oil sectors, as well as an acceptance by world powers of its right to enrich uranium. Iran continued to refuse to give in on a temporary freeze on the construction of its plutonium reactor in Arak, which is due to go live next year and could provide Iran a second path to nuclear weapons. Another sticking point for Iran is the demand to give up its stock of 20 percent enriched uranium, a key step to nuclear weaponization.

Meanwhile, Mohsen Rafiqdoost, a former minister of the Guards and a long-time regime official engaged in buying arms on the black market, also talked of Israel’s destruction in an interview with Basij News. He praised Hassan Tehrani Moghadam, the brain behind Iran’s ballistic program who was assassinated in 2011, for designing missiles through reverse engineering and predicted that achievement will enable Iran to obliterate Israel.

Last week, Iran state television aired part of an hour-long animated documentary showing how the country’s missile attack could destroy Israel.

These threats are underscored by a report in March 2013 of an Iranian site that houses over 380 missile depots and launching pads, providing evidence that Iran has long been planning for a major confrontation with Israel and the West. The report also said regime scientists are working on a nuclear warhead at this site.

“(The satellite images) suggest the possibility that Iran may, in fact, be further along in its nuclear weapons program than is generally assumed,” said David Trachtenberg, who for 30 years served in the national security policy field and who, as principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, played a leadership role in nuclear forces and arms-control policy. “It is clear they have gone to great lengths to bury and protect high-value assets at this site, which also complicates the possibility of direct military action and illustrates the risks of allowing years to pass while hoping diplomacy will work. An accelerating train is harder to slow and takes longer to stop. These images reinforce my concern that Iranian nuclear progress is accelerating.”

“(This) imagery strongly suggests that Iran is working on what we used to call an ‘objective force.’ That is the objective of a deployed force of nuclear weapons on mobile missiles, normally based in deep underground sites for survivability against even nuclear attack, capable of rapid deployment,” said Fritz Ermarth, who served in the CIA and as chairman of the National Intelligence Council.

“This open-source analysis by itself illustrates that Iran is very serious about building survivable facilities for its nuclear enterprise,” said Peter Vincent Pry, executive director of the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and an expert on nuclear strategy and weapons who served on several strategic congressional commissions and in the CIA.

One of the America’s foremost experts on nuclear weapons, who could not be named but who served at the U.S. Defense Nuclear Agency and who inspected more than 200 tunnel structures of Russian nuclear test sites as well as Russian operational facilities and silos, viewed the imagery of Iran’s facility.

“The site is similar to a common approach by several other nuclear-capable countries which have used advanced design in hardening these types of tunnels or garages for a quick deployable system,” he said. “I understand exactly what Iran has at the site … (including) a very important part of the structures … the apparent hardened underground stub tunnels for secure storage of mobile systems which can be quickly moved to launching sites … and it is very scary because its defeat may not be as easy as attacking it with a couple bombers, even if they have nuke weapons. This layout is very scary because it is … ready for the operational weapon systems to be installed, and then they are ready to take on the world.”

Original Article

President Costanza Strikes Again
Adam Turner

October 18 2013

President Obama has recently decided to cut back on the roughly $1.3 billion in foreign aid we give to Egypt.  The U.S. is not going to send to Cairo some F-16s; some AH-64 Apache helicopters; some M-1/A-1 tank kits; and some Harpoon missiles.  Also, the U.S. is not going to transfer $260 million in cash to the Egyptian government.  The U.S. is also not proceeding with a $300 million loan guarantee.

If this were five months ago, I would be supportive of this move.

In a column from February, I evaluated the logic of continuing to give foreign aid to Egypt and determined that the U.S. should not continue to fund the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) regime of Egypt.  I reached that position based on two broad elements: 1) the characteristics and actions of the MB regime; and 2) the economic viability of the Egyptian state.

The MB is a violent, fascist, anti-Western, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian group.  During their year in power, the MB showed little inclination towards adopting democratic norms, or human rights, and often instigated or surreptitiously supported violence against their opponents and minorities.  It backed Hamas, a terrorist organization.  And its leadership and members routinely threatened and insulted Israelis/Jews in the crudest and most bloodthirsty ways.

So, based on the MB’s bad character, I argued against continuing U.S. aid.

Additionally, I studied the fiscal situation.  As David Goldman has argued, the crisis in Egypt was as a result of the increasing economic problems that nation was facing.  Just to survive each year, Egypt requires an infusion of $20 billion in non-military aid.  Although the economic crisis was largely due to long-term factors that the MB regime could do little about, the MB government exacerbated that crisis.  The only nation that could keep Egypt afloat was Saudi Arabia, but because the Saudi royal family hated and feared the MB, they would not intervene.  And, that meant that any money the U.S. sent—unless we were prepared to ship in non-military aid of $20 billion a year—would be unable to keep Egypt afloat; this also argued against continued U.S. aid.

However since February, the facts on the ground in Egypt have dramatically changed.  On July 3, 2013, the MB regime was ousted by the Egyptian military, prodded into action by millions of protesting Egyptians who were greatly concerned by the worsening economic situation and the MB’s totalitarianism.  In response, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf nations immediately pledged $12 billion to the new Egyptian rulers.  And when the U.S. first threatened to cut off our largely military aid (which it never threatened during the MB’s rule), the Saudi’s assured the Egyptian military they would replace it.

With the situational facts having changed so markedly, it’s time to reexamine the question of aid.

The key variable here is the character of the new Egyptian regime, which is dominated by the Egyptian military.  It is hard to argue that this new regime is or will be worse than that of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Although the leading Egyptian general, al-Sissi, is known to be a pious Muslim, he and his subordinates have installed secularists as Egypt’s official leaders.  The military crackdown on protestors seems to be focused on the MB.  The military has also conducted a tough campaign against jihadists in the Sinai.  The military-backed government is promoting a campaign to “standardize religious discourse” and promote what authorities describe as true “Egyptian Islam,” which would remove the heavily pro-MB imams from their perches at the mosque pulpit.  The military-led government has also vowed to protect Christian Copts, and help them rebuild their churches, which the MB continues to target.  (Hopefully, we will soon see more than just vows.)  The military-led regime also should be more peaceful towards its neighbors; for example, it is unlikely to incite Egyptian jihadist involvement in Syria or threaten Ethiopia over water rights.  No doubt partly because of all these things, the majority of the Egyptian people seem to support the military-led regime.

It is important not to idealize the military-led government.  They “are not democrats, and never have been.”  They have been violent in their crackdown.  However, certainly some of the blame for the current violence, which has killed and wounded thousands, needs to be affixed to the MB as well, which is well-known to instigate violence.  MB protest camps were the site of many Egyptians being tortured, mutilated, raped, and mass murdered in the name of Islam and/or Brotherhood rule.

The military-led Egyptian government is also much more economically viable.  Saudi Arabia has already announced that it is willing to fund Egypt now, and even replace any U.S. aid that is cut by President Obama.  This economic aid will keep Egypt afloat, and if things calm down substantially, tourism may come back, providing additional money.

Based on these new facts, and the reevaluation of the two variables, the prudent decision, I believe, is to keep the aid flowing to the new Egyptian regime.

But President Obama does not agree.  Obama has decided that the Egyptian military-led regime must be punished for overthrowing the legitimate elected (actually illegitimate ) MB, and cracking down on MB protestors, who often play to the cameras for media sympathy.  And so, the U.S. has restricted some aid to Egypt, even though the Saudis will replace it, even though the decision will antagonize most Egyptians, and even though it will, in the words of Max Boot, “reinforce the tendency of our allies to be a lot less willing to rely on us and to listen to us.  They may well wind up taking actions that Washington argues against—in the case of Israel, bombing the Iranian nuclear program; in the case of Saudi Arabia and the UAE, which have already provided billions in aid to the Egyptian military despite a lack of American support, pursuing their own nuclear programs; in the case of Iraq, Turkey, and Qatar, cozying up to Iran…”

This was a foolish decision by the President.  I am guessing that he has not yet implemented the Costanza Doctrine.

 

Beware Persian snake charmers
Sarah Stern

October 02 2013

“We in the West make a great mistake when we transpose our values onto the rest of the world.” – Margaret Thatcher

On Sept. 22, the very day before Iranian President Hassan Rohani boarded a plane for his whirlwind charm offensive in New York, he spoke at a parade where he watched a fleet of Shahab missiles being carried on a fleet of trucks, adorned with the banners, “Israel shall cease to exist,” written in Farsi.

The charm blitz has been wildly successful by Iranian measures. The highly celebrated telephone call between Obama and Rohani was touted in headlines throughout the world as a major international breakthrough.

Yet, as Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), wrote in this Sunday’s Washington Post, “Iran expressed an interest in negotiations because the economic pain levied on it by Congress and the international community has become unbearable. This outreach was borne out of necessity, not a sudden gesture of goodwill.”

Prior to his U.N. address, Mr. Rohani gave an interview with NBC news reporter Ann Curry, when he went back to the familiar refrain of calling Israel “an occupier and usurper government” that “does injustice to the people of the region, and has brought instability with its warmongering policies.” In both that interview and a subsequent CNN interview, when asked about the Holocaust his response in Farsi was the same, “I am not a historian. We will leave it to the historians to decide.” As if the fact of the Holocaust is a reasonable, scholarly question.

During his U.N. address, dripping with pretend benevolence, Rohani assured the world that “nuclear weapons have no place in Iran’s security and defense doctrine.” He then sought to focus attention away from Iran’s rapidly advancing nuclear program by demanding that Israel join the list of the so-called peace-loving nations who have signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, like Libya, Syria, and Iran.

The Soviets had a wonderful term for what the Iranians are doing — “doublespeak.” Doublespeak is the art of using words as a form of warfare, to deceive one’s enemy. It is in perfect harmony with the Shiite concept of taquiya, lying about one’s intentions for the sake of Allah. The Iranians play chess, while we, trusting people in the West, play checkers.

It is difficult for me to understand why seemingly rational people are so willing to suspend their good, critical intellects and trust the assurances of brutal despots and theocratic tyrants, when they offer us little more than a few kind words and a smile (and, in this case, not even a handshake).

The question is not whether Rohani wants to engage in diplomacy with the United States and the international community. The question is whether he is willing to totally stop the nuclear project. A country sitting on so much oil does not need nuclear power for peaceful purposes.

While he preached at the U.N. that “the age of zero-sum games is over,” Iran had more than 4,000 Revolutionary Guard troops in Syria helping the government of Bashar al Assad slaughter his own people. It is also sending Assad military equipment and Iranian-trained Hezbollah forces.

During this charm blitz, the centrifuges never stopped spinning for a single nanosecond. According to the most recent International Atomic Energy Report (IAEA), Iran already has enough enriched uranium at 20 per cent for at least one nuclear bomb. The Iranians are currently at work trying to remove the conventional warhead from the Shahab 3 missiles to replace it with a nuclear warhead, according to the IAEA in May, 2012.

We have got to finally learn to listen carefully to what Middle Eastern leaders say at home in their own language. As Ambassador John Bolton said at an EMET seminar in August of this year, Hassan Rohani was Iranian chief nuclear negotiator from 2003 to 2005, when he claimed to offer the Europeans a diplomatic opening, before subsequently boasting how he played them.

Rohani said, “The day that we invited the three European ministers [to the talks], only 10 centrifuges were spinning at [the Iranian nuclear facility of] Natanz. … We could not produce one gram of U4 or U6 [uranium hexafluoride]. … We did not have the heavy-water production. We could not produce yellow cake. Our total production of centrifuges inside the country was 150.”

He continued: “We wanted to complete all of these — we needed time.” He actually called the Europeans “human shields” against American efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear program. He then boasted that after he took responsibility for negotiations, the nuclear project grew to 1,700 centrifuges, and that “(w)e did not stop [negotiations], until we completed the project.”

Leopards do not change their spots.

By opening up a new diplomatic front with Iran, we are giving Rohani what he craves more than anything else: the gift of time — time to finish his nuclear weapons program.

Many of my liberal friends have asked me what we have to lose by gambling on diplomacy. The answer is plenty.

I, for one, am not willing to gamble away the existence of Israel, the beautiful vibrant, tiny democracy with 6 million precious souls living in it, painstakingly rebuilt after 2,000 years of exile, on someone who openly boasts about his well-honed art of cunning and deception.

YES VLADIMIR, AMERICA IS AN EXCEPTIONAL NATION
Adam Turner

September 30 2013

And I would rather disagree with a case he made on American exceptionalism, stating that the United States’ policy is “what makes America different. It’s what makes us exceptional.” It is extremely dangerous to encourage people to see themselves as exceptional, whatever the motivation. There are big countries and small countries, rich and poor, those with long democratic traditions and those still finding their way to democracy. Their policies differ, too. We are all different, but when we ask for the Lord’s blessings, we must not forget that God created us equal.

“A Plea for Caution From Russia,” Vladimir Putin, New York Times, Sept. 12, 2013

Vladimir – if I can call you that – you are quite wrong. And the fact that I, an unknown, can tell you, a former KGB officer turned dictator of Russia, this, shows just how wrong you are. America, and we Americans, are quite exceptional. I know this for a fact.

This will be the second time I have repeated this family story.

My great-grandfather, Nathan Trigaboff, and his father, Hershel Trigaboff, lived in Kiev, part of the Russian Empire, at the turn of the century. When Nathan was a teenager, the Czarist government of Russia drafted him to join their army.  This was, of course, the same army that often led pogroms against Russian Jews.

Nathan, and his father Hershel, knew that for a Jew to join the Russian Imperial Army was basically to receive a death sentence.  Nathan would either be worked to death, killed by his comrades at arms, who were usually virulent anti-Semites, or killed in battle.

So, to save his son, Hershel sent Nathan to the United States of America, the one nation then in existence that actually welcomed the ethnic, religious, and racial minorities of the world.  That included Jews.


And Hershel did so knowing full well the legal consequences – Russian law demanded that the father of a draft evader must serve in his son’s place.  To avoid the fate he had saved his son from, Hershel then sliced off his own trigger finger, making it impossible for him to use a gun and, thus, useless to the army.  Years later, Hershel Trigaboff joined his son in America, and sure enough, his Ellis Island records make note of his missing finger.

In the United States, both father and son made a living. My great-grandfather started, and ran, his own trucking company. His son, my grandfather, became a scientist and a businessman, working on the atomic bomb project in Tennessee, and helping to establish the Este Lauder company in New York. His son, my father, became a very successful doctor. None of this would have been possible in the Old Country of Russia. None of this would have been possible outside the United States.

Because of the United States of America’s willingness to embrace a family of poor Russian Jews, I exist today. I have my own family. I have my advanced degrees. I have my own career, where I get to write columns that contradict Russian dictators.

Now, not every American has such a dramatic backstory as my family’s, but most have something very important to tell. Most Americans are descended from someone who, when they came over, had nothing. Maybe this new immigrant was someone who had been discriminated against in the Old Country. Maybe this new immigrant had made a mistake in the Old World, and just came over to our shores to make a new start. Many, if not most, of these immigrants, succeeded in their second life. Certainly, they all had the opportunity to succeed. And certainly, all of these people – and their descendants – have rights and privileges that are unheard of for other people across most of the globe.

The United States is the oldest and longest-continuously functioning republic in the world. American’s have rights to speak as they want, to own property, to worship, or not, and to vote in or out their government. Although many complain about our political system, it still allows American outsiders from poor and humble backgrounds, such as Lyndon Johnson, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, and Bill Clinton, to rise through the ranks to the ultimate public office of the Presidency. Major issues are debated, sometimes ad nauseam, every day. Even when this nation goes to war, it has never been for ill-gotten gain, but instead to protect life, promote democracy, or oppose aggression.

Not one other nation can say these things. Not one.

In the Netherlands, and the rest of Europe, people are imprisoned for speaking their mind, and Jews cannot appear safely in public wearing a Jewish kippah (head covering).

In Syria, men, women and children are slaughtered for belonging to the wrong faith, or even for belonging to a different sect of the same faith.

Oh… and in Russia, wars of aggression are waged, ethnic and religious minorities are suppressed, and human rights are not respected.

Yes, Vladimir, the United States of America is an exceptional nation. And I suspect that you know this too, which is why you chose to send us such a discourteous letter.

Beware Persians Bearing Gifts
Sarah Stern

September 24 2013

American Thinker

Americans are an honest and a trusting people. Our word is our word, and we place a high premium on integrity.

We are psychologically removed from the byzantine ways of the Persian bazaar. A friend of mine once purchased a rug there, and the merchant was upset when he bought it at face value. After the deal was made, the salesman actually tried to negotiate it for more.

That’s why I am so worried about the charm offensive that newly elected Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, is currently embarked on. His timing is brilliant, as he is about to address the opening of the General Assembly tomorrow.

This Thursday, Mr. Rouhani wrote seductive words in the Washington Post. Among them: “Gone are the age of blood feuds. World leaders are expected to lead into turning threats into opportunities.”

It would be so tempting to believe, if at this very moment Iran weren’t sending over 4,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops into Syria to support Bashir Assad’s brutal government, to help mercilessly butcher the opposition. Iran has also supplied Mr. Assad with military equipment and supports Hizb’allah which has been heavily involved in the Syrian fighting.

Mr. Rouhani also writes that “much of foreign policy is controlled by domestic policy.” This brings to mind Andrei Sakharov’s famous adage that “One can predict a nation’s foreign policy by examining the way it treats its own dissidents.”

As I write this, the Islamic Republic just sent out a press release that, as Mr. Rouhani flew to New York, he (coincidentally) released eighty prisoners. This sudden display of compassion eluded him for the several months he had been in office. Several hundred other political prisoners remain in the notorious Erin prison, and the Iranian candidates in the rigged presidential elections of 2009, Mir Hussein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, remain under house arrest.

When Mr. Rouhani writes that “we must address the broader, overarching injustices and rivalries that fuel violence and tensions”, we know that he is using the old, tired canard of the centrality of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict to the region, which has clearly been disproven by the recent implosion and internecine rivalries within the Muslim world. With the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, which constitutes the largest voting bloc and dominates the United Nations, we know that will win applause.

But the most frightening aspect of all this is that Mr. Rouhani intends to seduce us into believing that his nuclear program, which he calls “central to our identity” is indeed, “peaceful.” Mr. Rouhani will be arguing that it is insulting to one’s national identity to give up the nuclear program. If the Iranian assessment of the American people is correct, and it likely is, many of us will be suckered into believing this outrageous claim.
As Ambassador John Bolton had said at an EMET seminar on August 28th, in the years between 2003 and 2005, Mr. Rouhani was in charge of the Iran’s nuclear negotiations, he offered the Europeans a diplomatic opening, and has subsequently boasted on how he played them:

Hassan Rouhani says, in his own words, “The day that we invited the three European ministers [to the talks], only 10 centrifuges were spinning at [the Iranian nuclear facility of] Natanz… We could not produce one gram of U4 or U6 [uranium hexafluoride]... We did not have the heavy-water production. We could not produce yellow cake. Our total production of centrifuges inside the country was 150.”

Rouhani continues: “We wanted to complete all of these—we needed time.” He actually called the Europeans “human shields” against American efforts to halt the Iranian nuclear program. He then boasted that after he took responsibility for negotiations, the nuclear project grew to 1700 centrifuges, and that “We did not stop (negotiations), until we completed the project.”

Leopards do not change their spots. Mr. Rouhani had been a strong confidant and devotee of Ayatollah Khomeini, and true believer of the Iranian revolution. He is using the old ruse of playing the West over our desire to negotiate, which he has developed into an advanced art form.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

The greatest shame, however, will be for all of us who will have to live under a much scarier world, dominated by a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran.

Original Article

Israel Should Annul the Oslo Accords
Danny Danon

September 20 2013

JERUSALEM — THIS month marks 20 years since the signing of the first of the Oslo Accords between the State of Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization. Two decades after Yitzhak Rabin and Yasir Arafat stood on the White House lawn with President Bill Clinton, Israelis and Palestinians are again in the midst of the umpteenth round of negotiations.

Despite these efforts, true peace seems as distant as it did before the secret talks in Oslo were revealed to the world. The government of Israel must admit that we made a mistake and declare that the Oslo process has failed.

Only by officially annulling the Oslo Accords will we have the opportunity to rethink the existing paradigm and hopefully lay the foundations for a more realistic modus vivendi between the Jews and Arabs of this region.

Despite attempts to rewrite recent history by fringe elements, the failure of the Oslo framework cannot be attributed to a lack of will and persistence by Israel. What didn’t we try? We attempted direct negotiations, third-party mediators, public conferences and back-channel talks. We staged withdrawals and unilateral disengagements, established joint Israeli-Palestinian military patrols in Gaza and deployed American-trained security forces in the West Bank. None of this worked.

The P.L.O., and later the Palestinian Authority, never truly accepted that Israel, as the national state and homeland of the Jewish people, was here to stay. No amount of impressive ceremonies, cosmetic changes to the P.L.O. charter and Palestinian doublespeak to Western media outlets about their commitment to peace was able to change this grim fact.

To understand the mind-boggling scope of Oslo’s failure, it is best to look at the statistics. According to the organization B’Tselem, during the first Palestinian intifada in 1987, six years before Mr. Rabin’s attempt to recast the archterrorist Yasir Arafat as a peacemaker, 160 Israelis were murdered in Palestinian terror attacks. In the mid- to late-1990s, as successive Israeli governments negotiated with the Palestinians, and Mr. Arafat and his cronies repeatedly swore they were doing their utmost to end terrorism, 240 Israelis were brutally killed as suicide bombs and other heinous terrorist acts targeting unarmed civilians were unleashed in every corner of our nation.

Things did not get better after Prime Minister Ehud Barak made the Palestinians an offer in 2000 that, judging by his landslide defeat in the election a few months later, was way beyond what most Israelis supported. Between then and September 2010, 1,083 Israelis were murdered by Palestinian terrorists.

The Oslo process did not bring peace; it brought increased bloodshed. We must end this farce by announcing the immediate suspension of the accords.

Little impact would be felt by average Israelis and Palestinians. Those who would suffer most would be full-time negotiators like Martin S. Indyk and Saeb Erekat, who would find themselves out of a job after 20 years of gainful employment in the peace process industry.

What should replace Oslo’s false promise? We should implement what I have called a “three-state solution.” In the future, the final status of the Palestinians will be determined in a regional agreement involving Jordan and Egypt, when the latter has been restabilized. All the region’s states must participate in the process of creating a long-term solution for the Palestinian problem.

In the short term, the Palestinians will continue to have autonomy over their civilian lives while Israel remains in charge of security throughout Judea and Samaria, commonly referred to as the West Bank. Following an initial period, the Arab residents of Judea and Samaria could continue to develop their society as part of an agreement involving Israel and Jordan. Similarly, Gaza residents could work with Israel and Egypt to create a society that granted them full civil authority over their lives in a manner that was acceptable to all sides.

Most veterans of the peace process will mock this proposal, protesting that there is no way it would be accepted by the Palestinians. Their argument may seem convincing today, but as I often remind my critics, our region is unpredictable. Had you told any Middle East expert five years ago that two successive Egyptian presidents would be deposed and Bashar al-Assad’s regime would be in the midst of a bloody civil war, you, too, would have been mocked. Things change. We can make them change.

I am aware that even if the Palestinians accepted this plan, we would still have to deal with a fundamentalist Hamas regime in Gaza and continuing instability in Egypt. No plan for Israeli-Arab peace can be fully implemented until these issues are resolved.

In the short term, Israel’s only option is to manage this conflict by refusing to compromise when it comes to the security of Israeli citizens. At the same time, our government should take all steps possible to improve the economic well-being of the Palestinians.

The dissolution of the Oslo Accords would serve as the official act validating what we already know — that this failed framework is totally irrelevant in 2013. Once the Palestinians were ready to sit down and seriously discuss how our two peoples, through this new paradigm, could live side by side in peace and prosperity, they would find willing partners across the political spectrum in Israel.

It may not be the utopian peace promised to all of us on that sunny day in September 1993, but in the harsh realities of the Middle East, this may be the best we can hope for and the sole realistic chance for our children to grow up in a world less violent than previous generations have had to endure.

Danny Danon is a member of the Knesset and the deputy defense minister of Israel.

Two Decades of Oslo’s Failure
Sarah Stern

September 11 2013

Abandoning existing assumptions is no easy matter. Students of world politics, like politicians, are prisoners of their paradigms, unwilling or unable to escape the premise,….and are constantly tempted to cling to familiar assumptions.
                  James N. Rosneau, Politics and Turbulence
Today we commemorate the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Oslo Accords. Many of us look back fondly and remember that historic moment and the, albeit, evanescent surge of hope it gave us. Many of us, including myself, were moved to tears by the speeches on the White House Lawn. On that glorious, warm September day, everyone was buoyant with optimism;  pregnant with the promise of a new life for my people in Israel and their children, and for the Palestinians and theirs.

President Bill Clinton’s words were particularly moving, saying, “The United States is committed to insuring that the people who are affected by the agreement will be made more secure by it..Above all, let us dedicate ourselves today to your region’s next generation. In this entire assembly, no one is more important than the group of Israeli and Arab children who are seated here with us today.”

What has happened in the two decades that have ensued since then? Have these accords and all of the subsequent withdrawals that the Israelis have made since then resulted in a more secure, peaceful future? Have they brought us any closer to that ephemeral goal of peace?

And if not, when is it finally time to go back to the drawing board, and with the objectivity, intellectual honesty and moral clarity of a scientist, examine the premises of his hypothesis, declared it null and void?

Sadly, we all know the answer. Everyone, with very few exceptions, from the far left of the political spectrum to the far right, has by now acknowledged Oslo as the colossal failure it is.  Even Aaron David Miller, one of the principle proponents of the Oslo Accords, who had spent twenty five years at the State Department, said at a forum held at the National Press Club in Washington this week, “ The reason for the failure of Oslo is that I failed to see the world as it was. I saw the world as I wanted it to be.”

That is just one of many reasons. The fact is that the Oslophile crowd clung to their illusions at the expense of reality the way a religious fanatic clings to his belief in the face of crushing evidence.

A sort of cognitive dissonance sets in. Wishful thinking overtakes reality. The more the evidence mounts, the more fervently one pushes aside the nasty,  discordant facts to one’s belief system, and the more one is willing to label those who do not buy into your belief with malicious attacks.

In the two decades since that fateful day, we have watched as this hope has been eroded. It has been eroded primarily by the daily,  constant and incessant messages,  meticulously documented by Palestinian Media Watch, emanating directly from the Palestinian Authority . They have taken those beautiful Palestinian children, once sitting on the White house Lawn and filled their minds with vile hatred.  They have used every means available, including newspapers, textbooks, radio and television speeches, ceremonies, posters, lessons in summer camps and in schools, sermons from imams,  to vilify,  and to incite their people to kill the Jew, to extoll suicide bombers and martyrs.

And they constantly signal their honest intention to the entire world, using one simple symbol : the familiar map of Israel, in its entirety. This map is ubiquitous throughout the area controlled P.A: from text books, to the walls of the UNWRA schools, to the logo on P.A. stationary, to the walls that Western negotiators and diplomats sit under in official P.A. offices Ramallah,  which is adorned by this familiar map, labeled “Palestine.”

And where will be the place of Jews in the new state of Palestine? After yet another round of negotiations that began this summer, Palestinian Authority Mahmoud Abbas said to a group of mainly Egyptian journalists, as reported by Reuters, “In a final resolution, we would not see the presence of a single Israeli-civilian or soldier-in our lands.”

The truth is that if there were to be a withdrawal, there would not be a single remaining Israeli, because the army, sworn to protect Jewish civilian life, would forcibly remove them, just as they did in Gaza. Because they know what fate would soon befall any remaining Jew.

What was hoped for 20 years ago was peace.  What we have received is the very antithesis. We have watched as our people have been living with terror, murder and death. We have seen the empirical results of the Gaza withdrawal. We know the inordinate sacrifices Israel has made on the alter of peace. We saw the country divided, writhing in pain; people torn from their homes, their livelihoods, their very life’s work.

And in return, we have watched over 10,000 missiles that have been launched from Gaza to southern Israel. We learned of or children’s nightmares, bedwetting and post traumatic stress syndrome.

One of the main casualties of Oslo has been the Judeo-Christian value of the sanctity of life. In the immediate aftermath of the signing of the Accords, the news was replete with the name of “Nachshum Waxman”  Nachshum was the first fatality of Oslo, kidnapped and killed by Palestinian terrorists.

By now, there have been so many thousands, they have been reduced to nameless statistics.

I have witnessed,  in the name of this hallowed “peace” an erosion of American credibility and prestige. I have watched people that I wanted to believe in and respect , ignore evidence that does not fit neatly into their paradigm, and whitewash over the consequent deaths.

In 2004, I was at a Washington forum with Dennis Ross and Madeline Albright, and I asked them why it was that I had been so informed about the constant Palestinian incitement to hate and kill from my suburban Washington home, and why they, while in the State Department had not been. I quoted President John F. Kennedy when he had said, “Peace is not what exists in signed documents and treaties, but in the hearts and minds of people.”

To which Ambassador Ross responded, “My only regret is that we were not paying more attention to what was being said on the ground.” And Secretary of State Albright added, “Yes. We tended to coddle the entire Arab world much too much, in those days”.

This rare moment of honesty from two of the most major proponents Oslo was 9 years ago. Yet, we are still cling to this faulty illusion, and sweep under the rug the evidence of the failure, including the incitement to hate and to kill and the consequent Israeli and America civilians killed by Palestinian terrorists, whose bodies we have swept under the rug, and fail to get justice for

Since the signing of the Oslo Accords, more than 72 Americans have been killed by Palestinian terrorists. I have devoted several decades of my life pursue justice for these American families. Yet, the same forces that are so invested in propping up the Palestinian Authority as a peace partner, have allowed the Palestinians to get away, literally, with the murder of American citizens. All in the holy name of “peace”.

And now, one would think, with the Arab and Muslim world imploding all around the tiny state of Israel, with over 110,000 dead in the internecine civil war in Syria, now, one might think that now America would no longer invest our credibility and prestige in a fundamentally flawed process. Now, one would try to focus on real issues of war and peace, and not whittle down our one, tiny fellow democratic ally in the Middle East to indefensible borders.

We have worked to empower our enemy, and have willfully blinded ourselves to the increasing evidence of it. And it is not only America’s credibility that has eroded, but so has the state of Israel’s. Israel is now more demonized throughout Europe and the Muslim and Arab world and in the polite halls of academia than it was before the Oslo Accords were signed. 

But after 20 years, the resistance to openly and honestly examining the premises underlying Oslo, of “land for peace” and whether or not that assumption actually works in a region such as the Middle East has only gotten greater. Far too much ego , far too much prestige, emanating from some very powerful political forces, has been invested in this process.  It is this ossified, institutional ego that stands in the way of an open, honest careful examination.

So on this anniversary, I tear my cloth and mourn the thousands of anonymous innocent civilians that have been wounded and killed in the name of this phony peace, and for the American values of honesty, integrity and equal justice under the law , that I once so firmly believed in.

Embracing the Costanza Doctrine
Adam Turner

August 19 2013

The Middle East is aflame. In Egypt, the undemocratic, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic Muslim Brotherhood regime was ousted, and this has resulted in hundreds of deaths and mobs of Egyptians protesting and rioting in the streets. In Syria, a brutal civil war continues, with Sunni Islamists (including al-Qaeda groups) fighting Shiite Islamists (including terror giant Hezbollah) with over a 100,000 civilian casualties so far, and the documented use of chemical weapons. In Libya, the nation where a U.S. ambassador was killed just one year ago, there has been a wave of slayings of politicians and government officials, and a pro-America regime is barely able to control the country. In Tunisia, non-Islamist secular politicians are being assassinated, while the ruling Ennhada party continues to try to implement its Islamist agenda. In Turkey, protests by non-Islamists are brutally being crushed by the Erdogan’s Islamist regime, while members of the Turkish press continue to be imprisoned at record rates for criticizing the government.

Yet, the Obama Administration, led by Secretary of State John Kerry, has decided to focus its attention on the Palestinian Arab—Israeli “Crisis.” The U.S. apparently pressured the Israeli government to release 104 Palestinian terrorists—some of whom have American blood on their hands—for the mere privilege of speaking to the Palestinian Authority about a future “peace.” This despite the fact that the PA controls only part of “Palestine,” has broken its prior agreements time and time again, and has shown no real interest in curbing PA-sponsored incitement against Israel, Jews, Christians, and the West. The administration clearly still believes that the Palestinian Arab-Israeli “Crisis” is at the center of all problems in the Middle East, even though post-“Arab Spring” few other knowledgeable observers subscribe to this largely discredited theory.

Unfortunately, this is nothing new. We have now had five years of an administration whose defective instincts have resulted in consistently flawed U.S. foreign policy behavior.

I do not believe we can afford another three more years of this. President Obama and his team need to develop a new approach for dealing with foreign policy matters.

My humble suggestion is as follows—it is time for President Obama, and his administration, to adopt the Costanza Doctrine. It comes from the television comedy show Seinfeld. The salient principle of the Costanza Doctrine is the statement—“(i)f every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

And President Obama and his administration have been wrong quite a few times. They were wrong to oust Muammar Qaddafi in Libya, and ship advanced weaponry to the Libyan Islamist rebels. They were wrong to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood was “largely secular” and “moderate” and willing to govern democratically. They were wrong to leave the defense of our (not quite a) consulate in Libya in the hands of Islamist militias on September 11, 2012. They were wrong to draw a “red line” on Syria. They are wrong to reach out time and time again to the unyielding fanatical Iranian mullahs on nuclear weapons. And they were wrong to “preemptively shutter 21 different American embassies across the Middle East and North Africa in response to NSA-collected terrorist chatter.”

These Obama administration actions have harmed American national security interests. For example, let’s look at the situation in Egypt. In 2009, in Cairo, President Obama began his campaign to repair relations with the “Muslim World.” In 2011, in one of the larger Muslim nations, Egyptians began to protest their President Mubarak, supposedly for democratic reasons, but really for economic ones. Soon after, President Obama called for Mubarak to resign, which he eventually did. This was a mistake, and a strange one at that, considering that President Obama did not similarly call for the resignation of the anti-American Iranian regime when comparable protests occurred in Iran. In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood party then won power, assisted by the Obama Administration’s push for immediate elections. Once again, this was a mistake, as the Obama Administration should have known that only the MB was organized enough to win a quick election.

During their year in power, the MB increasingly showed its violent and undemocratic side, but the Obama Administration never threatened U.S. aid, even though the MB actions were violating legal conditions on U.S. aid to Egypt. The MB government ignored the deteriorating Egyptian economy, and began to threaten other nations. Finally, disgusted by MB rule, the Egyptian people rose in mass demonstrations of millions of people in the streets—demonstrations opposed by the U.S. ambassador—and the Egyptian military overthrew the MB government. Only then did the Obama administration begin to threaten aid to Egypt, although they wisely chose not to immediately cut it off. Now they are pushing for some sort of political compromise, even though the MB will never accept less than complete military capitulation. Because of all this, over the space of two years, the administration has managed to antagonize all segments of the Egyptian population.

I am certainly not suggesting that by following the Costanza Doctrine, the Obama administration will produce perfect policies. But more often than not, the instincts of the president, and his administration, are demonstrably faulty. A quick fix for these bad instincts, and the bad policies that have resulted from them, would be for the administration to do the opposite. Just like George Costanza.

I realize that it is unlikely that the Obama Administration would ever stoop to following the example of a TV sitcom. But expecting President Obama and his administration to implement better policies without recognition that their failures stem from their faulty instincts and assumptions seems to me even more unlikely.


Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/2013/08/embracing_the_costanza_doctrine.html#ixzz2dO9XLM00
Follow us: @AmericanThinker on Twitter | AmericanThinker on Facebook

The Brotherhood’s claws come out
Kyle Shideler

August 16 2013

The aftermath of the July 3 ouster of Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi has been tragically bloody, yet deeply illuminating for students of the Muslim Brotherhood. The secretive organization, once mislabeled as secular and moderate by U.S. Director of National Security James Clapper, has revealed itself to possess ready access to, and a willingness to use, implements of severe brutality to achieve its ends.

Twenty-one have been killed, and 112 injured, as rampant violence continues in the Sinai despite efforts by Egyptian police and military forces to rein in militias loyal to Morsi and the Brotherhood’s rule. Deaths have also occurred in street clashes between pro-Morsi and anti-Morsi protestors, with Muslim Brotherhood forces reportedly wielding shotguns and automatic rifles. The Egyptian military has bolstered its strength in the Sinai, with the approval of Israel as required by the Camp David Accords, and shuttered Gaza tunnels controlled by Hamas, expressing the fear that Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, was coordinating violence on behalf of their parent organization in Egypt. Egyptian troops have seized weapons from the Brotherhood’s Cairo headquarters, arrested heavily armed protestors, and even seized Grad rockets allegedly headed for Cairo. The Grad rockets are the same type used by Hamas and its allies to rain down destruction on Israeli towns such as Sderot. Egyptian prosecutors are also seeking to convict Muslim Brotherhood leaders for their alleged role in an assassination attempt against a top Egyptian general.

These events have thrown into stark relief what previously has been little understood. Indeed on July 2, just days prior to the Egyptian government’s decision to move against the Muslim Brotherhood and oust Morsi, I agreed to provide a briefing on the subject of the worldwide threat of the Muslim Brotherhood on Dec. 9, at Beth Chaverim in Virginia Beach.

The goal was to answer the question of whether the Muslim Brotherhood does indeed represent a legitimate expression of Middle East politics, as administration officials such as James Clapper have insisted, or whether it represents a dangerous threat to American interests and world peace.

How is it that the Muslim Brotherhood, misunderstood as a mere political organization, within days, is capable of mounting a growing armed insurgency, even while many of its key leaders remain imprisoned, or in hiding?

For the answer, it is best to turn to the original thinkers and founders of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood was founded in 1928 by Hassan Al-Banna, who from the earliest days stressed that the Brotherhood had both a political, religious, and military component. Warfare for the sake of Islam “Jihad,” is granted pride of place in the Brotherhood motto, which concludes: “Jihad is our way, Death in the way of Allah is our greatest desire.”

Indeed the Muslim Brotherhood takes great pride in having rekindled Jihad as of principal importance. As Muslim Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Al Qaradawi notes in his work Islamic Education and Hassan Al-Banna, “The real implication of ‘Jihad’ had been dismissed from Islamic training and way of Life, before its conception among the lkhwans (Brothers)…”

The importance of the Muslim Brotherhood as both a “Dawah” (meaning preaching or proselytizing) and a “Jihad” organization is noted by seminal Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayyid Qutb, who wrote in his work Milestones:

“The movement uses the methods of preaching and persuasion for reforming ideas and beliefs and it uses physical power and Jihad for abolishing the organizations and authorities of the Jahili system.”

Jahili refers to a system of government prior to the institution of Islamic law. Given that these thinkers shaped the Muslim Brotherhood from its earliest days, and have never been repudiated, we have every reason to believe that the Muslim Brotherhood takes its role as a jihad organization seriously. The recent events in Egypt make equally clear that when conditions are understood to require it, the Brotherhood is capable and willing to engage in violence. This is not the first time the Brotherhood has done so, nor the first time that it suffered arrests and repression as a result. Such was the case after the failed assassination attempt against Nasser in 1954, and again after the assassination of Sadat in 1981. The Brotherhood was in many ways forged in prison, as Qaradawi writes, “We used to jest by saying ‘The prison house of Tur is the 1949 training camp of the lkhwanis. Its expenses, food and lodging and other responsibilities rest with Egyptian government.’”

The Muslim Brotherhood is, by its own admission, the fount of Jihad from which all other jihadi terrorist organizations have emerged. Their brief experience leading Egypt has not divorced them of their terrorist methods or goals. It has made clear, however, the deep ignorance that exists among Americans, both policy makers and general public, about Muslim Brotherhood, and how truly dangerous it is.

Equal Justice Under the Law
Sarah Stern

August 21 2013

In late June of 1989, Stephen Frederick Rosenfeld, a former United States Marine, went for a hike in the beautiful Judean Hills near where he lived. Two Arabs approached him, and they began to engage him in a pleasant discussion. Within a short amount of time, they ended up stealing a pocket knife from his backpack and stabbing him to death.

Today, the Shin Bet, one of the Israeli intelligence agencies, published a list of 26 Palestinian terrorists who are to be released within the next 24 hours. Among them is Aj Haj Othman Amar Mustafa, one of the two terrorists who murdered Stephen Rosenfeld.

All of the other terrorists to be released have blood on their hands, but not all of it is American blood. Their crimes, however, were no less heinous. Take, for example, Abu Masa Salam Ali Ata of Fatah, who, in 1994, murdered Isaac Rotenberg, an elderly Holocaust survivor, wielding an ax to his head. Or, Rai’I Ibraham Salam Ali, of Fatah, who murdered 79-year-old Morris Eisenstadt, who was sitting on the beach and reading a book, also by ax.

We know that they will receive a hero’s welcome. How do we know this? We know this because of the jubilant celebrations that occurred in Gaza and Judea and Samaria, as well as throughout the Muslim world, when the IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit was traded for 1,027 Palestinian terrorists.

Among those released then was Ahlam Tamimi, who on several YouTube videos has taken credit for the Sbarro Pizza bombing in Jerusalem in 2001, in which 15 civilians were killed, two of them American, a 15-year-old Malki Ruth, and a pregnant woman, Judith Greenbaum, 28.

Ms. Tamimi has bragged on several YouTube videos that she had been responsible for planning the Sbarro suicide bombing. She has been feted and welcomed home as a hero. She now lives in Jordan, where she has a television show that is sponsored by Hamas. She collects a salary from both Fatah and Hamas. On a recent Hamas show, after the Boston Marathon bombing, she was giving helpful hints to terrorist bombers.

Undoubtedly, this planned release will be perceived in the eyes of the radical Islamic terrorists, as another victory, not only, against Israel, “the Minor Satan,” but against “the Great Satan” — and as part of the ascendancy of Islamic hegemony and the establishment of a global Islamic caliphate.

Why did Israel agree to release these murderers? It is clearly a result of tremendous pressure from Secretary of State John Kerry, who, despite the fact that the entire Muslim world is imploding throughout the Middle East, despite the fact that more than 100,000 Muslims have been killed in the Syrian civil war, despite the fact that Egypt is going through a series of convulsions and counter-convulsions, despite the fact that Iran may well have crossed the nuclear threshold, is intent on trying to bring peace to the Middle East by resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Even if this were the case, the release of terrorists with blood on their hands is no way to bring peace. As Pope John Paul II said, “We can have no peace, without justice.”

For a very long time, I have been working on the issue of Americans who have been killed by Palestinian terrorists, and the pursuit of equal justice under the law. To make a very long story short, my work resulted in the passage, with the help of Congress, of the Koby Mandell Act, named for a friend’s 13-year-old son, who was killed in 2001 by Palestinian terrorists.

The purpose of the legislation was to open up an office in the Department of Justice to ensure that all Americans who have been murdered abroad will have an advocate within the DOJ to make the extradition, indictment and prosecution of terrorists who have maimed or killed Americans overseas a top priority.

Previously everything to do with the issue of Americans killed or wounded abroad was handled by the State Department, whose mission is diplomacy. I had thought that if the name on the door, was “Justice,” there would be more of a chance of getting a clean crack at justice, which had not been contaminated by diplomatic or political factors.

The Koby Mandell Act was signed into law by President Bush in December 2004. In May 2005, the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism was opened.

In the past eight years, although more than 72 Americans have been killed in Israel or the disputed territories since the signing of the Oslo Accords, and although the legislative intent is clear regarding these Americans, not a single terrorist who has been involved in these dastardly acts has been brought to justice on these shores.

Instead, in all these years, the office did use its power to indict and prosecute the murderer of a Christian missionary, John Spier, who was killed in Indonesia.

“Equal Justice Under Law” are the words that are etched on the Supreme Court. Equal: For all American citizens. That is, unless, you happen to be an American who was killed or maimed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel or the territories. As Vickie Eisenfeld, whose son, Mathew, a Yale graduate, was killed because he happened to be on the wrong bus at the wrong time once said, “It makes me feel like my son’s blood is less American.”

And for those in the State Department who believe that there is a great distinction between the terrorists who harm Americans at home and those who kill Americans in Israel or the disputed territories, I recommend that they look up the helpful-advice tape that Ahlam Tamimi produced for future terrorist bombers.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s Definition of ‘Legitimacy’
Kyle Shideler

August 08 2013

Following the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood leader and now former Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi the Muslim Brotherhood has conducted a propaganda campaign aiming at establishing themselves as the “legitimate” rulers of Egypt, wrongfully overthrown.

Indeed the very word itself, “legitimacy,” has been central in the Brotherhood’s protests and in their media outreach. Pro-Morsi activists have organized around “The National Alliance to Support Legitimacy.”

In the West, this battle of words has been interpreted primarily within the context of U.S. law and the question of whether U.S. aid to Egypt must be severed following the Muslim Brotherhood’s overthrow. Indeed, the American discussion of whether Morsi was “legitimate” has revolved almost entirely around the question of democracy and his election (which may very well not have been as fair or free as advertised).  U.S. officials halted a shipment of F-16s to the Egyptian government in July, something they had aggressively refused to do during Morsi’s rule despite reports of attacks on Coptic Christians and secular activists, and the existence of MuslimBrotherhood torture squads. The British government has also halted arms exports.

In an Islamic context, however, the Brotherhood’s insistence that they represent “legitimacy” carries with it a different meaning. As the New York Times notes, the Ikhwan are encouraging their supporters to use “legitimacy” as code language:

 

A third man said the crisis had been useful in some ways. “It has been a tough test, but it has had benefits — now we know who our true friends are,” he said. “The liberals, the Christian leaders, they stood with the old regime. It was painful to see some fellow Muslims going against us at first, but they have now seen their mistake and returned to us. The Islamic path is clear.”

 

The Brotherhood has made some effort to restrain that kind of talk. On a recent evening, an older man in traditional dress was angrily shouting to a reporter about a “war against Islam” led by liberals and the military, and the need for all Muslims to fight against it. Several Brotherhood members urged the man to change his tone, telling him to stick to the words “democracy” and “legitimacy,” and then tried to escort the reporter away.

The “Islamic path,” which is to say the Shariah, Islamic jurisprudence, is for the Brotherhood the ultimate evidence of their “legitimacy.” And to oppose their efforts to institute Shariah is interpreted, as the “older man in traditional dress” says, as a “war on Islam.” Brotherhood spiritual leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi agreed when he issued a fatwa saying it was a religious “obligation” to support Morsi and a crime to oppose him. As reported by the Investigative Project on Terrorism,

 

“if he, who has disobeyed the ruler, does not repent, then he must be killed,” Qaradawi said, citing Quranic passages. “There is a legitimate ruler (in reference to Morsi) and people must obey and listen to him.”

In another Qaradawi video, the Egyptian-born scholar called for jihad on behalf of Egypt from across the Muslim world. Nor is this an idle threat.  Syrians and Palestinians in Egypt have already proven a security concern for the military as it struggles to maintain control in the midst of street clashes. Just days after Qaradawi’s statement calling for the death of those who opposed “legitimate” rulers, secular politicians in Tunisia, and Libya who were opposed to the Brotherhood were assassinated.

Last week Ayman Al-Zawahiri, leader of Al Qaeda, weighed in on the “legitimacy” question saying to Morsi supporters, ”We have to admit first that legitimacy does not mean elections and democracy, but legitimacy is the Shariah … which is above all the constitutions and laws.”

Zawahiri does not believe in code words.  And he does take some digs at the MB for its decision to participate in elections in the first place. But even so, Zawahiri condemns Morsi’s ouster, implicitly recognizing Morsi as a legitimate ruler, just as Qaradawi does, and with the same implications (that those who ousted Morsi should be killed).

Understanding the Brotherhood’s “legitimacy” cry in the context of the Islamic movement’s own language is far more useful for predicting the future of Egypt and the rest of the region than is buying into their misleading language.  Having squared themselves as being “legitimate” under shariah gives the Islamists no room to negotiate or maneuver even if they were inclined to (and they aren’t.) Thus, efforts by high-ranking U.S. diplomats to propose some kind of middle ground compromise are wasted entirely.

As Qaradawi and Zawahiri have made clear, the battle for “legitimacy” requires blood.

John Kerry’s Folly
Sarah Stern

August 01 2013

The entire Middle East is imploding. This past week, alone, scores of people were reportedly killed in protests in Egypt. The Sinai Peninsula which has been the base for a robust smuggling operation into Gaza by the Bedouin population, has become the latest staging ground for a violent confrontation between the Muslim Brotherhood and the Egyptian military with more than forty people killed in terror attacks. Over 100,000 people have been brutally slaughtered in internecine Muslim fighting in Syria, which has become a huge humanitarian crisis as refugees spillover into Jordan and Turkey. King Abdullah of Jordan is shivering in a corner, because of the restiveness of his population. Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey is supporting the Sunni terrorists of Hamas and Al Qaeda in Syria.  At the same time he is blackmailing Israel over the Mava Marmara Flotilla incident.  Iran supports the brutal regime of Bashar al Assad and the Shiite terrorists of Hezbollah. Meanwhile, Iran’s centrifuges are rapidly spinning, and as far as we know, Iran might already have crossed over the nuclear threshold.

All of this has nothing whatsoever to do with Israel. Despite the many trip wires that have been established to try to drag Israel into these simmering conflicts,  Israel has, so far, very wisely, refrained from taking the bait. Nothing in these wildly raging conflicts has anything to do with the size, shape, or contours of the map of Israel or the Palestinian problem. Yet what is Secretary of State Kerry’s solution to all of this Middle East chaos? Convene another peace conference between Israel and the Palestinians. Go back to the tired old, failed, refrain of “land for peace”, and ask Israel to make “painful concessions” for the sake of stability in the region.

What is the Palestinian currency in this relationship? It is ephemeral, as are the value of their words and their promises.  By now, we all know how reliable their promises are. Recall the twenty-year old promise that the P.A. made when signing the Oslo Accord that there would be no further incitement to terror; and that from now on all disputes will be resolved around the negotiating table and not through the use of force (and again at Wye, Hebron, Oslo II and the Roadmap to Peace in the Middle East etc.)

We also all know, thanks to the good work of Palestinian Media Watch, (PMW), that these pledges have been violated on a constant and daily basis. They are violated in the media, in the textbooks, on the maps that we all recognize as pre-1967 Israel that are labeled “Palestine” that adorn Abu Mazan’s walls in Ramallah, and that hang in every school. Not a day goes by, where PMW does not send out an alert regarding the Palestinians teaching children some of the most vile things imaginable about Jews and about Israel.

Instead, the same old rug of recycled empty promises is being sold once again in the Middle East souk, (this time in Washington) in exchange for… … for what exactly?

The Israeli currency in this relationship is highly valuable: It is as tangible and as real as the very land they live on.

It is difficult to fathom that after the painful uprooting of over 8,000 residents of Gaza, some of whom have not yet found employment or permanent homes, which has been met with over 10,000 kassam missiles that have rained down on Sderot, Beer Sheva, Ashkelon, and Ashdod, we are pressuring our ally for further withdrawals of the approximately 450,000 residents of Judea, Samaria and parts of Jerusalem.

If the withdrawals would be made, it would leave Israel just 9 miles wide at its narrowest waist. Ben Gurion airport would just be a few kilometers away from Qalqilya, and within easy striking range; as would be the major Israeli population centers on the coastal plane. It would make the Jewish state simply indefensible.

Within this area sits the most sacred sites for not only Jews, but for Christians, as well. If one looks at the treatment of religious minorities throughout the Muslim and Arab world, one wonders why anyone who has respect for one’s heritage could possibly fathom why anyone could ever put these sites on the negotiating table.

Moreover, even before the negotiations began, simply to induce the Palestinians to sit at the table. Israel was asked to release 104 terrorists who have engaged in some of the most heinous acts imaginable to mankind. Perhaps for diplomats it is easy to discuss such “sacrifices for peace” in vague and academic terms. But to the average Israeli, this would be tantamount to releasing 104 Dzhokhar Tsarnaevs’, the Boston bomber.

But let us put faces to numbers.  Take just two men on the list of prisoners considered for release, Juma Ada and Mohamad Kharbish.  In 1988, these two men threw a Molotov cocktail onto a bus. Rachel Weiss, a young mother, and her three children, Ephrayim Wiess, Raphael Wiess, and Netanel Wiess were burned alive.  A brave Israeli soldier David DeLarosa was killed as well, when he attempted to rescue them. The other victims were severely injured, in part because Kharbish and Ada had mixed glue in with the gasoline of the firebomb. Among those victims were Dov and Sandy Bloom, two Americans. Both faced five weeks in the hospital, followed by years of therapy and skin grafts.

Consider another two of the 104 terrorists up for release, Al-Haaj Othman Amar Mustafa and Damara Ibrahim Mustafa Bilal. These men found 48-year old Washington-born Fredric Rosenfeld, who served his country in the Marine Corps, while he was hiking in the hills near his home in Ariel. They chatted with him, took pictures with him, and then stole his own knife and stabbed him to death.

These are innocent victims, American victims, of terror.  Nor are they alone. Almost all of the terrorists scheduled for release have committed acts just as brutal. To seek the release of their tormentors, not for peace, but for the mere hope of discussing the prospect of negotiating about peace, is abhorrent.

This is Kerry’s folly. Tearing open the mental wounds of terror victims in order to engage in a process which cannot lead to peace.  Through the many negotiations that have gone before the Palestinians have already been promised more than Israel can securely afford to surrender, an Israeli retreat to the 1949 armistice line, which would make Israel’s borders totally indefensible.

When negotiations finally begin, we can predict that yet more Palestinian demands will appear. s Including the right of return (as promised in footnote #5 of the “Saudi” Peace plan.). By now the rosters of descendants of Palestinian refugees has been swollen to millions, which would be a demographic nightmare for the Jewish state.

There will always be another “concession” for the Israelis to make. Because the Palestinians cannot agree to give up their most cherished demands.

Which brings us to another factor: these lands which many erroneously feel that Israel occupies have within the some of the most cherished sites of Jewish history. How did we ever allow Jerusalem to be on the negotiating table? M y grandfather would have given his right arm to have had the opportunity to visit the Western Wall.

We, as a people, have got to learn to have enough pride in our own heritage to say out loud that we cherish these Holy sites… If Al Qaeda were to attack the United States, would we say, “Here…take Mt. Rushmore…take the Statue of Liberty.”

The Jewish people have longed for 2,000 years to go back to these sites. Jerusalem should never have been put on the negotiating table. If we make ourselves doormats, people, particularly in that violent region of the world, will walk all over us.

Some may argue that “talking is always better than not talking”. That is patently false. Because with each successive negotiation, the bar is set higher and higher in Palestinian demands. It would make it extremely difficult for any Israeli interlocutor, particularly with the predictable pattern of violence after the negotiations have broken up to come back to the Israeli people and save face, with an agreement. And it would make it extremely difficult for any Palestinian interlocutor to go back to his people, and save face, with less than had been rejected by Arafat and Abu Mazen, in the past.

Beyond that, expectations are raised with each successive negotiation, which sets the ground for the possibility of more violence. And more innocent people die on the ground.

This might be Secretary of State John Kerry’s folly, but that is no laughing matter.

Islam and Democracy
Sarah Stern

July 26 2013

The revolutions towards Western liberalism and true democracy took the continent of Europe hundreds of years. What we are currently witnessing in Egypt and throughout the Middle East might not be the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning. We should be prepared to fasten our seat belts. We are in for a long ride.

This is something very difficult for Americans to wrap our heads around. We are a people that pride ourselves on our ingenuity and our know-how. We like to solve our problems. And we like to solve them instantly. We are a nation of very limited patience and of a very short attention span.

We, in America, would like to believe that an election is equivalent to democracy. An election is just one, and perhaps the most superficial, factor of a democracy. It is simply the process. The content of democracy means a separation of powers, a free and independent judiciary, a free and independent press, free speech, the rights for minorities and the rule of law. It means respect—a real respect for pluralism, for the voice of dissent. When we assume office we understand that it is for a limited time, and that there will eventually be new elections.

In the Middle East, the ballot box had been substituted, for a while, for the bullet. An electoral victory means, in the eyes of the victors, “We have the power and we will crush you.”

What is equally difficult for Americans to be able to wrap their heads around is what a totally comprehensive religion Islam is. I can understand and appreciate this, because I am an Observant Jew. Judaism and Islam share certain similarities that diverge from Christianity. In Judaism, we are governed by a system of laws, referred to as halacha, which essentially means the way to walk, not so dis-similar from Islam, which is governed by sharia, which means the path.

Both religions feel that one can create an ideal society by having the word of God mediate their conduct, and intervene into every aspect of their daily life. In Orthodox Judaism, every act, from thanking God when one starts the day, to saying a prayer thanking God when one emerges from the bathroom, to how one dresses, is mediated by a theological prescription. Not one area of conduct in one’s life is devoid of an awareness of God and how one should conduct oneself in the eyes of God.

The origins of early Christianity stemming from the Gospels had deviated from this emphasis on “sweating the small stuff”. That departure gave the intellectual distance from a theocratic-centered life which enabled the Greco-Roman foundations of democracy. (The word itself is from the Greek, from the word “demos” or “ people, and “kratos” meaning “rule”.)

This distance provided the fertile ground for the great liberal philosophers of Immanuel Kant,  David Hume, Jean Jacques Rousseau, and John Locke, to dig our intellectual foundations,  deeper in the West, of an ethical and moral life that is distinct and separate from theology.  They discovered that man, himself can be a source of ethics and morality, devoid of Divine intervention.

It must be stated that Judaism diverges from Islam in a few very basic ways. Most essentially, no where in Judaism is there an attempt to establish a world wide caliphate. In practically every synagogue throughout the world there is a prayer for the welfare of the government, as well as prayer for the state of Israel. Judaism is not a religion of conquest. There is not even a sense of missionizing within Judaism. Jews, throughout the world, just want to establish their little communities where they can live in peace, when their host countries allow them to,( a rare occurrence in our people’s history).

Our nation has been founded upon religious freedom. My people have found very welcoming fertile ground on this soil. That is why it is so difficult for many of us, both as Jews and as Americans, to be able to wrap our minds around the fact that within Islam, a religion, there is a hegemonic desire. It is a religion of conquest that views itself at war with the West.

The Islamists despise our freedoms and feel that we are a licentious and immoral civilization, whose conduct needs to be mediated by God, and not just any God, but by Allah.

Many, but not all, Muslims in the world believe that they would like to establish a global world-wide caliphate.  There are many other ways that Judaism diverges radically from Islam. Muslims are taught that if their daughters or wives have been raped or have had sexual encounters outside of a Muslim marriage they have brought dishonor to the family and should be murdered. They are taught that thieves should have their hands amputated. And they are taught that apostates, or those who have converted to Christianity, should be executed.

Although there may be some individual Muslims who have distanced themselves from these teachings, this is, in fact, what Islam teaches. Those courageous, few who have publicly distanced themselves, have been sentenced to fatwas, death penalties by the ruling clerics in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The question is: Can this be compatible with democracy?

The fact is that Egypt is a highly divided nation of 90 million people. We are witnessing the beginning of a series of convulsions and counter-convulsions. Globalization has given the sweet taste of Western style democracy and freedoms to a percentage of Egyptians.

The question remains: What percentage? An April 30, 2013 Pew Poll of Muslims around the globe indicates that “most adherents of the world’s second-largest religion are deeply committed to their faith and want its teachings to shape not only their personal lives but their politics. In all but a handful of the 39 countries surveyed, a majority of Muslims say that Islam is the one true faith leading to eternal life in heaven and that belief in God is necessary to be a moral person. Many believe that religious leaders should also have at least some influence over political matters. And many express a desire for sharia-traditional Islamic law-to be recognized as the official law of the country.”

In Egypt, 74 per cent favor making Sharia the official law of the land.

Within the past year, we have witnessed a revolution and a counter-revolution Earlier this month, we witnessed millions of Egyptians taking to the streets against the suffocating grip of Mohammad Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood. Since Morsi was deposed, the streets of Cairo have been dripping with blood, at least   51 pro-Morsi supporters were killed in one week, alone. Tens of thousands of pro-Morsi supporters have packed the square around Cairo’s Raaba al-Adaweya Mosque and vowed not to leave until Morsi is reinstated. Those in the center were dancing around the song, “Egypt is Islamic”.

The Muslim Brotherhood might be temporarily down, but they are not out.

Fasten your seat belts. It is going to be a long and rocky ride.

Special Message on Events in Egypt
Sarah Stern

July 25 2013

In the wake of the recent events in Egypt that resulted in the July 3rd ousting of President Mohammad Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-led government, EMET would like to clarify our position on Egypt’s new government, and on U.S. aid provided to Egypt:

Much discussion has been centered on whether the events in Egypt represent a military coup. Certainly elements of the events resemble a coup.  It is accurate that the army ousted President Mohamed Morsi and the Brotherhood, armored vehicles were deployed in public places, television and radio stations were seized and the military formally pronounced that Morsi was no longer the President of Egypt. In the subsequent fighting, both pro- and anti-Morsi protesters have reportedly been killed.  However it is quite clear that the Egyptian military responded to the voice of millions of Egyptians on the street, who strongly objected to President Morsi and the MB.  Based on respective crowd sizes, it seems evident that the army responded to the will of the people in the streets. It is our belief that General Abdul Fattah al-Sissi acted in a responsible fashion in an attempt to restore stability to the highly polarized Egyptian populace.

For the purpose of American law regarding foreign military aid, EMET believes that the dispute over whether events on July 3rd were indeed a “military coup” is a distraction from the essential question of whether we should continue aiding an Islamist government when it has declared war on the West, as well as over the question over whether the Morsi/MB regime was “duly elected.”

EMET agrees with several of its Advisory Board members notably scholars Dr. Daniel Pipes, President of the Middle East Forum, and Caroline Glick, Senior Fellow for Middle Eastern Affairs at the Center for Security Policy, who have questioned the legitimacy of the elections that brought Morsi and the Brotherhood to power. 

In addition, since his initial election, President Morsi has himself conducted what some call “another coup,” as “placing himself, by decree, above the law to make sure that his Islamist constitution would be approved.”  During this time, the Muslim Brotherhood permitted, and, in some cases,  orchestrated, violence towards women, Copts, and their political opponents; pressured the U.S. to release a convicted terrorist, the Blind Sheik , Omar Abdel Rahman, who had been responsible for the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993, and who attempted to blow up several New York landmarks; instituted blasphemy prosecutions against minorities, has imprisoned dissident members of the press, has kicked out and prosecuted American and European, democracy building ngo’s ,and has threatened wars against Israel, Ethiopia and Syria.

It is important to remember that elections, in and of themselves, – even if they were conducted in a fair manner– do not establish democracy.  Hitler gained control of Germany, Hamas gained control of Gaza, and Chavez came to power in Venezuela through reasonably “free” elections.  Democracy also requires that the population enjoy: 1) the freedom of religion, 2) the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and the right to petition the government; 3) a free and independent judiciary; and 4) guaranteed civil rights.  None of these freedoms were present under the Morsi/MB regime, nor was any attempt made to begin instituting them.

Moving forward, EMET believes that the Obama Administration should continue to provide foreign aid to the new Egyptian government, as long as that government shows that it is working constructively to create a real democratic ally in Egypt.  Strong conditions must be put on our aid, and the Administration must act to enforce these conditions in the future.  Further, EMET supports slowly shifting American s foreign aid to Egypt from military to economic aid, and from military aid that could support aggressive actions against other nations to military aid that provides counterterrorism assistance.  For example, by providing the Egyptian military with assistance focused on intelligence equipment and training, rather than on   Abrams tanks and F-16 fighter jets. 

In conclusion, the debate over whether events in Egypt on July 3rd constitute a “coup” is a distraction from the real struggle to oppose radical Islam, which has declared war on the West, and provides undeserved legitimacy to the Muslim Brotherhood.  Future debate should be centered on how best to establish a stable, democratic Egypt free from totalitarian parties like the Muslim Brotherhood.

Positions of Power
Adam Turner

July 18 2013

In selecting Samantha Power as his nominee for United Nations Ambassador, President Obama has chosen an appointee whose stated positions are detrimental to promoting a strong American foreign policy and would weaken the position of one of our strongest allies, Israel.  She also seems to have a temperament that is not especially suited to diplomacy.  (Just ask Hillary Clinton.)  Yet, despite her many flaws, politically attuned observers still confidently predict that Ms. Power will win Senate confirmation.

How so?  Well, she intends to follow the Chuck Hagel method of winning Senate confirmation – she will reverse, apologize for, explain away, and/or deny her record.  Power has already started this process.

The premiere example is her response to the “thought experiment” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.  In 2002, Samantha Power was asked: “Let me give you a thought experiment here …without addressing the Palestine – Israel problem, let’s say you were an advisor to the President of the United States, how would you respond to current events there? Would you advise him to put a structure in place to monitor that situation, at least if one party or another [starts] looking like they might be moving toward genocide?”  She answered:

…what we need is a willingness to put something on the line in helping the situation. Putting something on the line might mean alienating a domestic constituency of tremendous political and financial import; it may more crucially mean sacrificing — or investing, I think, more than sacrificing — billions of dollars, not in servicing Israel’s military, but actually investing in the new state of Palestine, in investing the billions of dollars it would probably take, also, to support what will have to be a mammoth protection force, not of the old Rwanda kind, but a meaningful military presence. Because it seems to me at this stage (and this is true of actual genocides as well, and not just major human rights abuses, which were seen there), you have to go in as if you’re serious, you have to put something on the line.  Unfortunately, imposition of a solution on unwilling parties is dreadful. It’s a terrible thing to do, it’s fundamentally undemocratic. But, sadly, we don’t just have a democracy here either, we have a liberal democracy. There are certain sets of principles that guide our policy, or that are meant to, anyway. It’s essential that some set of principles becomes the benchmark, rather than a deference to [leaders] who are fundamentally politically destined to destroy the lives of their own people…I do think in that sense, both political leaders have been dreadfully irresponsible. And, unfortunately, it does require external intervention.

During the 2008 presidential campaign, when Power was advising then Senator Obama, this hypothetical answer began to attract critical comment, so Power completely disavowed it: “Even I don’t understand it.  This makes no sense to me. The quote seems so weird.”

Similarly, besides the above answer, she has addressed other concerns vis-à-vis her views of Israel.  Power has claimed that the Israeli soldiers committed “war crimes” in fighting Palestinian terrorists in Jenin, despite that no such crimes occurred.  She has implied that the Israelis are paranoid and are bastards.  She has written that by backing Israel, the U.S. has lost its right to discuss human rights to the rest of the world.  Power has even blamed Israel for instigating the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  But, in 2011, in a private meeting with American Jewish groups, Ms. Power explained away any anti-Israeli bias on her part, claiming that she had been “misunderstood” and “falsely accused.” Further, she became so “deeply emotional” that she “struggled to complete her presentation as she expressed how deeply such accusations had affected her,” and finally burst into tears, prompting all of those in the room to be “deeply moved by this incredible display of pain and emotion.”

Apparently, these simple disavowals of her previous record are enough for some people to wipe the slate clean for Power.  And apparently, since her nomination for U.N. Ambassador, Ms. Power has been, and will be, continuing this process of “personal evolution” through her meetings with U.S. Senators and her eventual nomination appearance.

So, we can probably expect more reversals of, apologies for, explanations for, and/or denials of, her record. In the interest of assisting this “evolution” I’ve proposed some options for Ms. Power to select from while explaining away her record. For example:

• In 2003, in a New Republic article, Power made a number of statements expressing her belief that the U.S. has, in the past, sinned in its conduct of foreign affairs and needed to apologize.  She may address any complaints about these comments in the following manner – “So sorry about that.  My bad.” (Some tears or sighs might also be appropriate.)

• In a 2008 TIME Magazine column, Power derided concerns about Iran’s nuclear weapons program as a figment of the imagination conjured up and promoted by former President George W. Bush.  If questioned about this, she can say, honestly: “Iran has made real strides in five years.” She doesn’t have to mention that these strides have been towards nuclear weapons.

• In a 2008 article in the New Statesman, Power expressed her politically correct concern about linking the religion of Islam and terrorism.  “All we talk about is ‘Islamic terrorism’.  If the two words are associated for long enough it’s obviously going to have an effect on how people think about Muslims.” Actually, there is no need for Power to disavow this statement, considering the Administration she would be serving in.  At her hearing, if pressed, she might further explain, “The real problem, as we all know, is excessive workplace violence.”

• In a 2008 radio interview, when Power answered concerns regarding Barack Obama and his views towards Israel, she stated, “So much of it is about: ‘Is he going to be good for the Jews?”  A further clarification of this statement might be warranted.  Perhaps she might say, “My appointment is good for the Jews.  Did you know that I am married to one?”

This kind of strategy will likely get Samantha Power through the U.S. Senate.  Whether it will serve our nation at the United Nations, a place where the United States faces determined foes and where political debates have real consequences, is another question entirely.

COUP OR NO COUP, WHAT SHOULD THE U.S. DO NOW?
Kyle Shideler

July 11 2013

The Twitter-verse has been abuzz with pundits and journalists coming down on various sides of whether the military’s ouster of President Mohamad Morsi qualifies as a coup. On the one-side are members of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood (MB), and supporters of the MB abroad, which insist the actions of July 3rd constitute a military coup. On the other side are members of the Tamarod protest movement, which insists the ouster of Morsi represents the legitimate expression of the millions, and even tens of millions, of Egyptians who took to the street demanding the MB president be removed.

In the middle are a wide swath of pundits and thinkers weighing in between the factual reality and the political reality.  After all, the factual reality is this – what does one call it when the military moves armored vehicles into the public square, rounds up members of the current government, and seizes the television and radio stations, if NOT a coup? Meanwhile, the political reality is that massive numbers of Egyptians support the military’s decision, and that if the United States government chooses to term the events a coup, there are some serious legal implications, including the cessation of U.S. military aid to the Egyptian army.

U.S.  law, in part, “restricts assistance to the government of any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by military coup or decree.”

Of course the simple reality is that the U.S. government has never felt obligated to strictly adhere itself to the language of the law in comparable cases, including those where there was even less evidence of popular support for the coup than there is now in Egypt.

The perfect example includes the previous Egyptian revolution, in which the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) maintained control after Mubarak was nudged from the seat of power. Other than a few NGOS and think tanks, there were few who suggested that military aid to Egypt ought to be terminated as a result. (In the interest of full disclosure, The Endowment for Middle East Truth, the organization for whom the author works, has argued for the cessation of military aid to Egypt since the events of Tahrir Square in 2011.)

Against those who argued for ending military aid after the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the Obama administration and its supporters insisted that only by arming the Egyptian military did the U.S. maintain a modicum of leverage over events. Yet efforts to utilize that leverage by establishing conditions on aid to Egypt were ignored by the Administration.

Thus, it is rather telling that the Obama Administration feels a sudden tinge of responsibility to honor the letter of the law on aid to Egypt only at the moment when it would most benefit the Muslim Brotherhood.

For their part the MB has made crystal clear that it does not intend to go quietly. This is not the first time the conspiratorial Islamist party has been close to power, but they have never been quite so close to the brass ring before. As of this writing, sporadic reports of violence, including gunfire and Molotov cocktails, have been reported in a number of areas around Egypt. Pro-Morsi Islamists have allegedly thrown opponents off of rooftops in a manner reminiscent of Hamas’s takeover of Gaza. This includes an unconfirmed report of Egyptian Intelligence disrupting a Hamas plot to prepare multiple car bombs. In many ways operating underground, with many of its key leadership in prison, is more natural to the MB than is being in the spotlight of political power. They remain dangerous as a result.

For the Egyptian army, the two things they most likely desire are the continued flow of U.S. dollars to the system of clientelism upon which the army relies, and relative calm.  The MB can, with some assistance by the Obama Administration, deny them both.

The best path forward for the U.S. may be to insist that the July 3rd ouster does not count against the letter of the law due to the Morsi government’s own anti-democratic sins (of which there are many). At the same time, the U.S. ought to remind the military that it will uphold conditions on aid if human rights are not respected, and prepare the military leadership for a coming shift away from military to economic aid. At the same time the U.S. might intercede with Saudi Arabia on Egypt’s behalf and strongly encourage the kind of economic aid which might stave off disaster, which onlythe petroleum-rich Kingdom has the currency reserves to provide.

Of course such action would be a huge departure from the Obama Administration’s previous Muslim Brotherhood-friendly policy. But if even MB-supporting Qatar can, reportedly, make the pivot away from the Muslim Brotherhood, than perhaps the administration can repent as well.

 

While Egypt Burns
Sarah Stern

July 03 2013

Addendum on July 4, 2013
“What happened in Egypt yesterday was not a military coup. It was the army listening to the voice of millions and millions of Egyptians on the street. Many people seem to confuse one election with a democracy. One election does not a democracy make. We have to remember that Hitler and Hamas control of Gaza, let alone Ahmadinejad and Chavez also came into power though a process of elections.  On this cherished date, in particular, we have got to stop and reflect upon what a democracy truly means. It means freedom of religion, freedom of the press, freedom of speech, freedom of assemblage, a free and independent judiciary, the right to petition the government, a separation of powers, and the rights of minorities.
The radical Islamist Muslim Brotherhood regime, dominated by Shariah law, had none of those checks and balances or religious freedoms. At this time, while the real enemy that threatens to destroy Western civilization, as we know it, in our day, is radical Islam. This constitutes no less a threat than Nazism or Communism constituted in our parents’ generation.  We must never confuse a radical Islamist government with a democracy, no matter how it came into power.”

”Nero Fiddled While Rome Burned”

Egypt is in flames. This vast nation of nearly 90 million people is convulsing.  The people are highly polarized, angry and malnourished. This is a nation in which America has invested over $50 billion of our national treasure, since 1979.  Egypt is a nation that is being strangled by economic mismanagement. The price of basic food items like fava beans and any other form of protein has risen astronomically, while most of the population lives on less than two dollars a day. Yet, most of the American foreign aid money is spent on the military.

This is a nation whose Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohamed Morsi sentenced 43 NGO’s, including 16 Americans, to jail terms for crimes against the state this past April. This is a nation in which one American, Robert Becker, of the National Democratic Institute, was sentenced to 2 years in prison, and forced to flee Egypt, because of the crime of trying to help build the institutions of a democracy. This is a nation which raided the offices of Freedom House and the International Republican Institute, forcing their workers to flee for their very lives.

This is a nation whose Coptic Christian minority of 8 million, along with the other religious minority groups have faced unprecedented abuse, killings, torture, discrimination and fear, since Mohamed Morsi’s assumed office in June of 2012.

What many people might not be aware of is that there have been many efforts by members of Congress to end, alter or condition the aid to Egypt in an effort to promote democracy building, human rights and respect for the rule of law. These include efforts by Senator Rand Paul,(R-KY), where as recently as today, he took to the floor of the Senate demanding to cease the $1.3 billion we give to Egypt a year, due to the despotic nature of the Muslim Brotherhood government.  In addition to Senator Paul, Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain, and James Inhofe, have also introduced legislation to cease or condition Egypt Aid. In the House, similar legislation has been introduced by Representatives Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, Vern Buchanan, Austin Scott, and Paul Gosar.

Yet, Secretary of State Kerry, very quietly and behind closed doors in May of 2013 waived all Congressional conditions on aid to Egypt.

This violates Public Law 112-74, which clearly spells out that in order to obtain American funding the Secretary of State must certify that, not only is Egypt honoring its peace treaty with Israel, but that it is “supporting the transition to civilian government, including holding, free and fair elections, implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, religion and due process of law.”“

This is not the first time that the Obama administration has waived provisions of the law in regard to military aid to Egypt.  The United States Department of State published an interview on September 29, 2011 with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Sarif Amir of the Egyptian television station, Al Hayt, in which the former Secretary of State said:

“I very much support continuing aid…We believe in aid to your military, without any conditions, no conditionality, I’ve made it very clear.”

Since the election of Mohamad Morsi we, at EMET, have been warning that one election does not a democracy make. We Jews know through our long and painful history that Hitler also came in through a process of democratic elections, as did Hamas, in Gaza. We have been saying that there have to be the institutions of a democracy in place: a free and independent press, a free and independent judiciary, freedom of religion, freedom for ethnic minorities, freedom of assembly, and freedom to petition the government.

Is this iron-clad commitment to pouring money down the sink-hole of Egypt, particularly military aid, to the repressive, Islamist government of Mohamad Morsi helpful? And for those who might say that military aid has resulted in the current pressure by the Egyptian Army against the Muslim Brotherhood, ask yourself why the Obama Administration warned, “the Egyptian military that it risked losing U.S. aid if it carried out a coup”.

Just ask the millions of people on the streets of Cairo, today, who are holding up large signs in English and in Arabic, that read, “Obama supports terrorism.”

Meanwhile, while this important regional player is imploding, Secretary of State Kerry is closing his eyes to the Egyptian convulsion and focusing his efforts on attempts to bring the Palestinians and Israelis together to the negotiating table in yet another re-run of the same old discredited “peace process.” A process that is doomed to failure since the Palestinians have no real interest in peace. Kerry’s actions underscore the profound mis-reading of the Middle East and our nation’s single-factor analysis that peace between Israel and the Palestinians is the most crucial factor to peace in the region. This analysis is not credible, while 100,000 Muslims have been brutally slaughtered by their own in Syria, Iran is assiduously working on becoming a nuclear power and Egypt is going down in flames and starvation.

The inability of this Administration to develop a policy which reflects the Middle East as it truly is, only serves to further weaken America’s international standing and credibility.

THERE ARE ALREADY 2 STATES: ISRAEL AND GAZA
Adam Turner

June 17 2013

By Adam Turner

Secretary of State Kerry is, once again, attempting to gin up yet another Middle East peace process to replace the one the Palestinian Authority (PA) violated by declaring their “statehood” at the U.N. A few months ago, before a U.S. House committee, he sadly intoned, “I believe the window for a two-state solution is shutting. I think we have some period of time – a year to year-and-a-half to two years, or it’s over.” More recently, Kerry was invited by fellow travelers in Israel to a meeting in Jerusalem with a Knesset caucus favoring a “two-state solution.”

There is one major problem with this diplomatic speak, though – how can there be a “two-state solution” when there already is a second state in the Israel/Palestine area? It is called Gaza, and it is ruled by the Islamist terror group Hamas. It has all the attributes of a state, according to international law: 1) a defined territory; 2) a government; 3) capacity to enter into relations with the other states; and 4) a permanent population. (Of course, it’s precluded from being recognized as a state because it is ruled by a terrorist group.) No one of any credibility seriously believes that Gaza will be retaken by Israel. Also, no one of any credibility thinks that the PA/PLO in the West Bank will win control of Gaza from Hamas. (There is a possibility of Hamas taking over the West Bank, however.) So, creating another state, in all or parts of the West Bank, would actually result in a “three-state solution” to the Arab-Israel problem, assuming it actually “solved” anything.

So my question here is: Why doesn’t anyone in diplomatic circles want to acknowledge that their language about a “two-state solution” is outdated?

I suspect this is all part of the grand self-delusion that seems to have infected Western foreign policy elite opinion regarding the Arab-Israeli situation. Many policymakers in the West seem trapped in the belief that we are still living in the time period of the 1980s to the 1990s. Back then, the idea of a “two-state solution” to make peace between Palestinians and Israelis seemed very credible to the elites in the West and to many, more neutral observers. Back then, the West also believed that the conflict in Israel was the overriding concern of the Arab peoples, and that it drove their hatred/anger toward the West, especially the U.S. And back then, there was no state of Hamastan in Gaza.

But, today, outside of the Western foreign policy elites, no one really believes any of this anymore.

Creating another state for the Palestinians will not lead to peace. The PA, which would probably rule this state, has already shown its unwillingness to make peace, in 2000, 2001 and 2008 and by its continued support of incitement against Jews (not just Israelis) in books, television and radio. And President Abbas is not a credible peace champion; he is, in addition, corrupt, undemocratic and an anti-Semite to boot.

Meanwhile, the “Arab Spring,” perhaps more than anything else, has clearly shown that Israel’s existence and its actions are not really the focus of all Arab/Muslim regimes and peoples in the Middle East. After all, is the Syrian religious civil war between Sunnis and Alawites/Shiites focused on, or caused by, Israel? Were the protests in 2011 in Egypt focused on, or caused by, Israel? Are the recent demonstrations in Turkey focused on, or caused by, Israel? The answer is an easy “no” to all of these questions.

So, again, why is there this delusion?

In the mid-to late-90s, I, too, originally thought that peace was just around the corner. I, too, rooted for Prime Minister Rabin to finally end the conflict with the Palestinians, and then, the Arabs, so the Middle East would bloom. I, too, was in favor of the “two-state solution.”

But then, primarily because of what happened in 2000 and 2001, I realized that peace was not possible unless Palestinian society changed its tune and actually stopped inciting its people to hate Jews and Israel. This lesson was confirmed for me in 2005, when the Israelis gave up Gaza, and in 2008, when Abbas (like Arafat before him) also walked away from another generous Israeli peace plan. So, as a logical person, I adjusted my views accordingly. And after the Gaza disengagement I stopped using incorrect language like the “two-state solution.”

The Palestinians now have their “second state.” So, Secretary Kerry et al., let’s stop talking about a “two-state solution” to the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict. What we really should be discussing is whether the Palestinians really deserve yet another (third) state. In other words, is there a “three-state solution” to the Arab-Israeli hostilities?

The answer to that question is, by the way, a clear no.

Kissing My Daughter Goodbye
Sarah Stern

June 03 2013

I just kissed my daughter goodbye, leaving her in Israel. This has always been one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do, as a mother. I know that living in Israel is an independent choice that she has made as an intelligent, thinking adult. Yet, I remain acutely aware of the ever-increasing dangers of living in the heart of that highly contested land, which is like an oasis of sanity in an increasingly more primordial, primitive, and more radicalized Middle East.

This ominous feeling became a bit more intensified by the fact that, as I was leaving, there were two national air raid drills. On Sunday, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Israel as “the most threatened state in the world.” The Israeli Defense establishment recently reported that there are 200,000 missiles and rockets in the collective hands of Hezbollah, Iran, Syria and Hamas that are aimed at every Israeli city.

The situation in Syria is nothing short of a humanitarian catastrophe—and a catastrophe that threatens to spill over across neighboring borders. Just yesterday, two rockets hit a Shiite neighborhood in Lebanon, heightening the possibility of an expansion of this brutal, internal civil war.

Well over two years ago, I had been on Capitol Hill with some wonderful, secular Christian Syrian dissident friends of mine, arguing for the very things that some would like to provide the Syrian resistance with today: a no-fly zone, humanitarian assistance and a place of sanctuary, and instruments for non-lethal defense.

At that point, these people felt they might have a true ally in the United States, and could not, in their worst nightmares, possibly fathom that the Americans would allow this brutal conflict to linger on for so long.
Unfortunately, after watching 80,000 fatalities, (at last count), the secular dissident population has long become soured by the United States, (if there was ever a viable, truly secular opposition), and the window for creating any meaningful semblance of a Western ally of support against the Shiite Iranian-Hezb’allah axis in that region has long been shut.

If I were a truly secular Syrian dissident, my patience for American intervention would have long ago worn thin. While America has turned its back and the small, secular dissident population has either been ruthlessly slaughtered or hardened, the Al Qaeda-linked Sunni faction has gained ground in Syria.

For America to now enter into this conflict would be much too little, much too late. And the suggestions that I and my Syrian dissident friends had proposed over two years ago on the Hill now seem analogous to attempting to put out a raging forest fire with a water pistol.

In matters of all relationships, and that includes both personal and international relationships, timing is everything. And we have squandered an opportunity to cultivate a meaningful American ally in defiance of the brutal menace of Tehran, which has hegemonic ambitions, by our failure to act on time.

America has no dog in this fight. I had just reread the United Nations Charter, and had been convinced that there is simply no reason for America to get involved in this fourteen-century-old internecine Muslim-on-Muslim struggle.
And contrary to some ridiculous rumors in a recent article in the London Times, neither did Israel. Of course they do not want to strengthen an Iranian axis on their northern order, but neither do they want an Al Qaeda stronghold there. To state the obvious, neither harbor great love for the Jewish state.

The only thing Israel has been concerned with is keeping Iranian-made Fahrir missiles that can easily reach Tel Aviv out of the hands of Hezb’allah, as well as chemical weapons.
That, according the United Nations Charter, is a very real, legitimate concern.

However, over the last several days, a few game changers have entered into the equation. while America has turned its back, the Russians have been eager to resurrect their stature as a global power by entering into this brutal killing field. And, as is their pattern, acting by proxy through their support of Assad and Hezb’allah.

One would hope that they will be wise enough to avoid escalating this never-ending internecine Muslim conflict by flexing its muscles and trying to bring back the days of the Cold War.

And one certainly hopes that they would be wise enough to avoid giving Bashar Assad the highly sophisticated, long range S-300 surface-to-air missiles, totally tipping the balance of power in the region and eradicating Israel’s qualitative military edge, vis-à-vis Bashir Assad’s Syria. Giving the Iranian puppet, Bashir Assad, and its Hezb’allah fighters which it has been long allied with, such a highly sophisticated, long-range missile system would be the ultimate game changer.

Which brings us to the most menacing danger to the stability of the region, if not the world: the Iranian nuclear bomb.

The Obama administration in now sending out feelers that, despite their strong rhetoric during the election season about the fact that he is “not bluffing” about a policy of prevention, a strategy of containment might well become a reality. Earlier this month, a think tank which is very closely aligned with the Obama administration, the Center for New American Security, published an 84-page report titled, “If all else fails, the strategy of containing a nuclear Iran”.

This might be the administration’s way of sending out a trial balloon, to test the waters. To be fair, the report clearly states that a policy of containment is not a desired outcome. However, if it does appear that our sanction strategy has not convinced the Iranians to abandon their nuclear program (as it does), and that the P5 plus one talks produce nothing, (as they have), how willing is the Obama administration to actually engage the military option? At what point will they say, “enough is enough?” Are there any red lines? Or is “all options are on the table” simply a nice rhetorical point during the election season?

Last Wednesday, the IAEA issued a report that very explicitly states the rapid progress that Tehran has made towards nuclear breakout, with substantial upgrades in both its uranium and its plutonium-producing facilities.
A report issued this week by the Institute for National Security studies of Tel Aviv University states that Iran is steadily moving to a situation that might soon become “unstoppable.”

No one wants another war, but the credibility of America is clearly being tested by the mullahs in Iran. These mullahs have religious fervor and a hegemonic appetite, which includes a seminal antipathy towards America, Israel, towards Christians and, most especially, towards Jews. Iran wants to emerge as the key player in the region, to finally be victorious in their internecine dispute with the Sunnis, and to be seen as ascending to the throne and wearing the one true mantle of the heirs of Islam.


President Obama has drawn a red line in Syria, saying that we would enter into the conflict when the Assad regime used chemical weapons. Now that it has been confirmed that they have crossed that red line with impunity, will Iran similarly test the resolve of the Americans by crossing all imagined red lines?

The Americans can display resolve against the Iranian nuclear threat by increasing a naval presence in the Persian Gulf, and simulating war games, in another region, together with America’s allies. However, after last Thursday night’s speech, I fear that the administration is taking us into period of neo-isolationism, and to choose to believe that state-sponsorship of the war the radical Islamists have waged against the West is over. I remain unconvinced that Israel possesses the capability of taking out the Iranian nuclear bomb without the support of America.

This is not just about Israel; it is about the United States. We all know that soon after the Islamist revolution of 1979, Iran declared war on the United States. They did this by seizing our embassy and taking our embassy officials hostage. It is Iranian-made IED’s with Farsi imprinted upon them that were used to maim and kill our U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is Iran that bombed our U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 242 U.S. servicemen.

America is, in their words, the “Great Satan,” Israel is simply “The Minor Satan.” It is simply the Eastern outpost of all that the Iranian regime and other radical Islamists despise about Western liberalism and Western democracy.
It is, however, low hanging fruit and a much easier target for the Iranian Fajir missile systems.

All over the Middle East, the region is imploding. We all know by now that the Arab Spring has quickly deteriorated into the Islamist winter. People all over the region have used the ballot box to trade secular tyranny for Islamist tyranny. The region is heaving with peril, instability, and volatility.
Those are just a few of the many reasons why I held my daughter a bit closer while kissing her goodbye.

Yet, she and her husband would never live anywhere else. Despite all this, Israel has one of the highest happiness quotients in the world. In repeated international surveys, more Israelis have been reported to state that they are “very or quite satisfied with their lives”, than anywhere else in the world.

Between wars and terror attacks, the resilient people of Israel dust themselves off, rebuild their lives, open up their cafes, and enjoy living life with gusto. Whenever their neighbors offer them a minute of respite, they seem to savor all of the juice out of that moment of sanity and stability that they possibly can.

And there is a feeling, there, of living not just for oneself alone, but for the good of the nation as a whole, a feeling of giving back. Most of my children’s friends are involved with doing something for the greater good. It is in the air that they breathe. My daughter and son work together with some friends, with a group new Ethiopian immigrants to Israel, who have come from a rural environment, and help them get acculturated to twenty-first century urban life.
My daughter has often told me, “No one knows when some crazy terrorist will attack you on a metro while riding to work in Washington. You just have to appreciate each day.”
There is a great deal of wisdom in her words. After arriving home, and reading articles about the Boston marathon bombings, and the heinous stabbings that occurred this week in England and in France I am beginning to understand the wisdom in my daughter’s words. That is a wisdom that most Israelis have had to learn to possess, in the most difficult way, possible, and that we, here in the West are, unfortunately, just beginning to appreciate.

THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’S TWO-FACED NATURE COULD BE EXPLOITED
Kyle Shideler

May 31 2013
Having risen to power in the wake of the Arab Spring, the global Muslim Brotherhood finds itself for the first time in control of real territory. They rule in Egypt, in the form of the Freedom and Justice Party, and through the MB-aligned or connected Ennahada party in Tunisia. The Brotherhood’s armed Palestinian wing, Hamas, continues to control Gaza.  The Brotherhood is now working to secure control of Libya through political maneuvering and street violence, after they suffered a disappointing showing in the first post-Qaddafi election. In Syria, Ghassan Hitto, a Texas IT consultant with Muslim Brotherhood connections has secured the position of Interim Prime Minister and is recognized as such by the West. The Muslim Brotherhood has also moved from covert to overt activities in Syria.

However, the territories the MB find themselves possessing (or on the verge of possessing) are internally disordered and economically destitute.Egypt itself is bankrupt and faces severe famine.

This fact creates a dichotomous situation for the Ikhwan.  In the short-term, the Brotherhood requires economic assistance to stave off disaster in Egypt; aid which is most likely to come from the West, and through Western-dominated institutions like the IMF. In the long-term, however, only control of the oil-rich Gulf States, most especially Saudi Arabia, will provide the Brotherhood with the financial wherewithal to survive. For that reason they must continue with their revolutionary aims and succeed in overthrowing the gulf monarchies, or risk losing what they have gained thus far.

This requires the Brotherhood to carry out a delicate balancing act, whereby they must maintain the mask of “moderation” with which they continue to deceive most western governments, while at the same time they must redouble their efforts to overturn the existing order of the Middle East. This balancing act creates for them difficulties on two fronts.

First, they face a challenge from the remaining monarchies, most notably the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The monarchs are well aware of the MB’s ultimate intentions, and have pushed back aggressively, targeting MB-linked Islamist political parties and organizers for arrest, as in the U.A.E.  The Gulf Cooperation Council is also reportedly moving against MB front companies in Saudi Arabia and Sudan, which are part of the Brotherhood’s fundraising network for Hamas. Of course, such fundraising activities were previously known to the Gulf States, but were tolerated for decades, as long as the fundraising was for terror directed against Israel. They are being opposed now only because of the threat posed by the MB to the monarchs. Ironically, it is from these decades of supporting the work of the Brotherhood abroad that the Gulf States are able to act effectively in hampering subversive Brotherhood activities.

Saudi Arabia is also actively working to undo MB influence in Syria, working to oust Hitto from the position of Prime Minister, using influence gained through their contribution of funds and arms to Syrian rebels.

Second, the MB faces a challenge from Al Qaeda and other Salafi jihadi groups, most particularly in the Sinai, but also in Syria. This is a delicate situation for the Ikhwan. On the one hand, they are ideologically-aligned with such groups, supporting the institution of Sharia law, and jihad against infidels (most especially Israel). And in Syria especially, the fervor and tactical expertise of Al Qaeda forces operating under the Al Nusra banner are vital to defeating Assad, without which no MB rule can follow.

However, lawlessness in the Sinai, and the jihadi rocket attacks launched against Israel from the Sinai and from Gaza, risk immersing the MB in a conflict for which they are not prepared, and harm the “moderate” reputation they’ve built up with Western capitals. But, efforts to control jihadi activity risk harming the MB’s appearance within Islamist circles.

This difficulty should not be understood, however, as meaning that the Muslim Brotherhood is moderated by power or that it can be relied upon to constrain jihadi elements. Instead it is better to understand that, from the point of view of the MB, as rulers of a legitimate Islamic state, they retain the right to declare when and where jihad will be fought.

In this sense, we should understand that any actions the MB takes against Salafi or jihadi groups are more in line with the sort of punishments meted out against over-enthusiastic troops who charge into battle without an order, rather than actual opposition to the Salafi goals and methods.

Indeed, in large part where Al Qaeda has challenged the Brotherhood for failing to be appropriately aggressive in advancing from political (dawah) to military (jihad) operations, it is the Brotherhood which has shifted its position accordingly.

In response, to protect U.S. national security interests in the Middle East, the best American policy would be one which exploits these MB challenges as aggressively as possible. As the MB’s most pressing concern is maintaining their grip on what they control while seeking to expand rapidly, anything that delays their expansion, or hastens the collapse of their regimes, is useful.

With that in mind, it would be ideal to either terminate aid to Egypt entirely, or to strictly condition aid on the basis of such concepts as promoting civil and human rights and requiring public declarations of support for peace with Israel, as both would be anathema to the Brotherhood. That would force the MB to choose between their ideological imperatives and their financial needs. The MB will almost certainly choose ideology, but any equivocating will continue to hamper their relations with the Salafi elements, and thereby cause them embarrassment. This may weaken their efforts abroad, particularly if it results in infighting in places like Syria between pro-MB and Al Qaeda forces. In Syria, under no circumstances, should the U.S. provide military assistance to the rebels.

Further, in every MB-controlled territory, the U.S. should also support whatever elements of civil society oppose the MB within that territory, particularly when the MB’s regional ambitions are being (correctly) painted as being a hindrance to economic reform or prosperity.

Unfortunately we are unlikely to see the U.S. pursue such a plan, as the Obama Administration remains invested in the false notion that the Brotherhood may serve as a bulwark against Al Qaeda.  Unless that view changes, and soon, any opportunity to exploit these challenges may prove fleeting.

 

WHEN TERRORISTS AND THEIR SUPPORTERS LAUGH AT AMERICA
Adam Turner

May 17 2013
Ahlam Tamimi, “one of the world’s most renown(ed) female terrorists,” is now touring Arab media, taking advantage of her “expertise” in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing in April. Tamimi regularly speaks to provide “insight on how Muslims—both male and female—can become killing machines.” 

This is disgraceful. And it is yet another sign of the mounting weakness of the United States in the international arena.

Tamimi should have been prosecuted long ago by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) for her murder of two Americans. I have written not just one, but three separate columns about her case (see here and here and here). Here are the basic facts of her crime, again: on August 9, 2001 a bomb blast pulverized a Sbarro Pizzeria located in Jerusalem, killing 15 people and injuring at least 130 more. 

Among those killed in the blast were two American citizens, one of whom was pregnant. Tamimi was sent to an Israeli jail for organizing this attack. On October 18, 2011, Israel released 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including Tamimi, in exchange for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier who was being held by Hamas.

After being given blood money from both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for her terrorism, Tamimi moved to Jordan where she has since become a celebrity in the Arab world, hosting her own weekly show on the Hamas satellite TV station Al Quds. Now she has become a regular commentator on Arab media, talking about terrorism and celebrating her crimes.

This Palestinian terrorist has implicated herself for the bombing, on video, multiple times now. Yet the DOJ is ignoring its obligations under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 USC Sec. 2332, which calls for the prosecution and punishment of individuals who murder or maim American citizens in acts of international terrorism.

The DOJ is ignoring this case, even though Congress actually went to the trouble in 2005 of creating a separate unit within the DOJ, the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT), to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S. They are ignoring this case even though in the last Congress over 50 members asked the DOJ to go after these kinds of terrorists, including Tamimi herself.

The DOJ should pursue Tamimi not only to bring an admitted terrorist to justice but also based on our clear national interest. It is in America’s national interest to make terrorists, and the nations that harbor them, actually think twice about supporting terrorism–before or after the fact–against U.S. persons and interests. Letting an unrepentant murderer of Americans run around flaunting her crimes to the world, and, in fact, being honored for them, makes us look like a paper tiger. 

Nor is this an isolated occurrence. Under the Obama Administration, the U.S. is simply not a credible superpower, prepared to use force, prosecution, or other punishments to achieve its ends in this dangerous world. As I have stated before, the Administration seems to believe largely in “carrots,” and not “sticks.” So, foreign nations or persons don’t worry about working against us.

For example, in a 2012 presidential debate with Mitt Romney, President Obama underlined his intention to punish those terrorists who had participated in the September 11, 2012 murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya. However, to date, the only man in prison for the Libyan terror attack is the Christian filmmaker who produced a film that the Obama Administration erroneously blamed for triggering attack. The New York Times, a strong supporter of this Administration, has even reported that a terrorist involved in the attack walks around unmolested in Libya and “scoffs” at the threat of U.S. capture.

There is also our supine behavior towards the radical Islamist regimes of Pakistan andEgypt. Both of these countries have clearly shown, through both word and deed, that they are no longer allies of the United States. The former hid and protected Osama Bin Laden from American justice for years but prosecuted for “treason,” imprisoned, and tortured the Pakistani doctor who assisted the U.S. forces in the search for that arch-terrorist. More recently, Pakistan elected a man who received a million dollar payoff from Bin Laden.

Meanwhile, Egypt is led by a Muslim Brotherhood member, Mohammed Morsi, who is cracking down on democracy and human rights and has repeatedly called for the release of the terror mastermind behind the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, the Blind Sheikh, Omar Abdel Rahman, from a U.S. prison. However, neither nation has felt any repercussions for this kind of anti-American behavior, while we continue to annually supply billions of dollars in American aid to both.

President Obama has almost four more years to go in his second term as our Chief Executive. He will not be leaving early. In my past columns, I have made it quite clear that I disagree with him, and his Administration, on many of the major foreign policy issues facing the U.S. 

However, he is the President, and as an American, I want him to succeed in keeping our country safe. Otherwise, the world becomes more dangerous for the United States and our allies. To succeed in the game of nations, it is imperative that Barack Obama use both the carrot and the stick of international diplomacy. Certainly, one of our more successful foreign policy Presidents, Theodore Roosevelt, would counsel so, “I have always been fond of the West African proverb: ‘Speak softly and carry a big stick; you will go far.’" 

Let’s use that stick, Mr. President, to put “the fear of the U.S.” back into those who would do us harm.

Did Tamerlan Tsarnaev Murder Jews on 10th Anniversary of 9/11?
Kyle Shideler

May 10 2013

 

Did Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev murder Jews on the 10th anniversary of 9/11? That’s the question police are now asking, as they continue to dig into the past of Tamerlan Tsarnaev.

 

The three young men, Brendan Mess, Erik Weissman and Raphael Teken, were found murdered in an apartment in Waltham, Massachusetts on September 12, 2011. They had been killed the night before.  All three victims had their throats slashed, and their bodies were covered in marijuana. The crime scene was described as particularly brutal, with an investigator saying, “their throats were slashed right out of an al Qaeda training video. “ But Weissman had been arrested previously on charges of possession with intent to distribute, and neighbors also suspected Teken of being involved in the drug trade. For these reasons, police initially suspected a drug connection. At the time of the killing, investigators were looking for two suspects, who were believed to be known to the victims.

 

Tamerlan Tsarnaev was known to at least one victim. He has been described as having been a “friend” of Brendan Mess, although, notably, Tamerlan later claimed “I don’t have any American friends.” While Tsarnaev’s turn away from alcohol and cigarettes for religious reasons has been highlighted in the press, this declaration also contains intense religious undertones. Explicit prohibitions against friendship with nonbelievers appear repeatedly in the Qu’ran (see 5:51,5:80,3:28,3:118,9:23). It is important to note that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the second bombing suspect and Tamerlan’s brother, has been described as a “pot head,” which suggests another possible connection.

 

Far from being merely randomly cruel, throat slitting could be justified religiously, for instance, by Sura 47:4, which reads, “So, when you meet those who disbelieve (in battle), smite (their) necks until you have fully defeated them, then tighten their bonds[.]”

 

And also Sura 8:12: “Remember thy Lord inspired the angels [with the message]: “I am with you: give firmness to the Believers: I will instill terror into the hearts of the Unbelievers: smite ye above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them.”

 

The killing of victims by slitting the throat is indeed an Islamic terrorist trademark for this very reason. This is perhaps best demonstrated by the murders of reporter Daniel Pearl and businessman Nick Berg. Not coincidentally, both men were also Jews.

 

The targeted murder of Jews by an increasingly radical Muslim population is already well underway in the Western world, especially in France. Just on Tuesday, April 23rd, a knife-wielding maniac screaming “Allahu akbar” attacked a Rabbi and his son in Paris, attempting to murder them.  In 2012, Mohammed Merah, a French-Algerian terrorist with Al-Qaeda ties, murdered a Rabbi, and three young Jewish children, along with two French soldiers, before being killed by French counter-terror forces. In 2006, Ilan Halimi, a Jewish salesman, was tortured to death by Islamist gangsters in Paris. According to witnesses, passages of the Quran were chanted while Halimi was stabbed and burned.

 

Islamic anti-Semitism played a role in all of these killings and attacks. Indeed the legacy of Islamic anti-Semitism is extensive, and developed independently from classical Western anti-Semitism, although there are areas of cross-influence.

 

If evidence is discovered that shows that the Tsarnaev brothers (either one or both) played a role in the murder of these three young men (at least two of whom were Jewish) back in 2011, it will be easy to claim that, in hindsight, they should have been obvious suspects. This is somewhat unfair. The world is a violent place, and the drug underground even more so. Police see far too much murder and mayhem to be expected to immediately jump to such a conclusion.

 

But an understanding of how men like Tamerlan ascribe great import to classical, and violent, interpretations of Islamic texts does provide motive, and modus operandi that would have been valuable for investigators to understand. And unfortunately, these classical understandings are of the kind taught in far too many American mosques, including, likely, the one Tsarnaev attended.

 

More important is what it suggests moving forward. If Tamerlan was involved in the deaths of these three men on the anniversary of September 11th, in 2011, then he was already a hardened killer well before his return trip to Chechnya in 2012. All talk of his having been “radicalized” in Chechnya, already an unlikely claim, would be undermined. If Tamerlan was involved in the deaths of these three men, it also means that European-style, violent, Islamic anti-Semitism has reached American shores, and, as in France, carries with it direct ties to what is sanitized as terrorism, even though for men like Tamerlan Tsarnaev and Mohammad Merah, casual murder and high-profile bombings are simply different manifestations of the same jihad.

 

Given the tendency by the media to give short shrift to the religious motivations and violent ideology of Islamist terrorists, preferring instead to seek any otherkind of explanation, and the federal government’s move to purge counter-terrorism trainers who can provide instruction on the religiously-based motives and methods of Islamist violence, we can expect that more Islamist violence is likely to go undetected. And more murders may go unsolved.

CAN STEWART SAVE EGYPT?
Adam Turner

May 03 2013
Here are two simple facts about Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi and his Islamist, Muslim Brotherhood (MB)-led Egyptian regime: 1) they have no sense of humor; and 2) they really dislike Jews. And in the Middle East, when you put these two facts together, things can get just a little crazy, as they did at the end of last month.

On March 31, 2013, Bassem Youssef, an Egyptian television comedian, was arrested in Cairo, for the alleged crime of “insulting the president (i.e., Morsi)” and “insulting Islam.”  This arrest by the MB regime prompted the U.S. government to finally discover the need to promote free speech in Egypt.  U.S. State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland criticized the Egyptian government for enabling a “disturbing trend of growing restrictions on freedom of expression.”  Her boss, Secretary of State John Kerry, also weighed in, stating that there are “very real” concerns about the direction in which the MB’s government is headed and that the U.S. “hope(s) that there is still time to be able to turn the corner,” although “the recent arrests, the violence in the streets, the lack of inclusivity with respect to the opposition in public ways that make a difference to the people of Egypt, are all of concern today.”  

None of this seemed to prompt much of a response from Morsi or the MB.

But then the “big guns” came out.  On his Comedy Central cable television show, American comedian Jon Stewart – who is Jewish – belittled Morsi and the MB regime for their prosecution of Youssef.  Youssef and Stewart are close; in fact, you could say that Youssef is a protégé of Stewart’s. To make matters even worse, from the Islamist point of view, a link to Stewart’s skit was tweeted by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for all Egyptians to see.  No doubt visions of a Zionist Jew-controlled America, acting through its Egyptian Zionist agents, danced in MB heads.

Immediately, President Morsi and his cronies swung into action. Officially, the Egyptian Presidential office merely complained that Stewart show was “negative political propaganda” and the Embassy’s tweet of it was “inappropriate for a diplomatic mission to engage in.” Meanwhile, unofficially, the MB posted an anti-Semitic link online, in Arabic, from Al Jazeera, in which former CNN host Rick Sanchez claimed that Jews control the American media. Also, a “usually moderate” senior MB member argued that Western notions of free speech were being used to defame Islam.

In response, Washington, and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, completely caved. The Embassy’s Twitter account was temporarily deleted , and when the account was reinstated, the tweet of the Stewart segment had been removed.  Spokeswoman Nuland was now trotted out to say that the Stewart-linked “tweet was a mistake and new regulations were being put into place” to prevent any further insult to the MB.

None of this should surprise anyone by now. The U.S. has had several earlier opportunities to support free speech, in Egypt and in the West, and at each time they have failed to stand up for speech. Most importantly, the U.S. could have, and should have, vociferously complained about the decision by the Egypt Islamist regime to convict in absentia seven Egyptian Coptic Christians – most of them U.S. residents – and a Florida-based American pastor/U.S. citizen, and sentence all of these individuals to death on charges linked to the film “Innocence of Muslims.”

Regardless of your view of the particular speech put forward by Terry Jones and the others, for another nation, especially a so-called “ally” of the U.S. that receives billions of U.S. foreign aid, to threaten death to U.S. based persons for their speech is beyond the pale.  (It should be noted, by the way, that Jones and several of those other individuals actually had nothing to do with the film in question.)

The U.S. has a national interest in not letting its people be threatened with death for conduct that is speech-related, and not a crime within the U.S. Also, the U.S. could and should have been a lot more upset about the Islamist Egyptian storming of our Embassy in Cairo, which was allowed by the MB regime, supposedly because of the film mentioned above.  But in neither case did the Obama Administration act.

Perhaps Jon Stewart is made of stronger stuff. I hope Stewart will continue to “provoke” the MB in Egypt with his comedy show. MB-controlled Egypt is defiantly heading on the wrong path, with itsattempts to undermine Gulf Arab states, its police participation in attacks on its Christian minority, its promotion of anti-Semitism, its alliance with genocidal governments, and its recently revealedplan to stack the bureaucracy in Egypt with its own minions.  The Obama Administration is doing nothing to stop it, or even to convince it to reverse course.

Maybe the time is right for a Jon Stewart-led revolution in Egypt?  At the very least, having a “descendent of apes and pigs” leading the charge will drive Mohammed Morsi and the Egyptian MB absolutely crazy.

Whether Boston, Mumbai or Jerusalem, Terrorism is Terrorism
Sarah Stern

April 26 2013

(A version of this article appeared in the print edition of the Washington Jewish Week)

Every person who has any sort of a conscience, what-so-ever, had to be deeply disturbed by the horrific events in Boston, last week.  Here were family members and friends, gathered to cheer one another on in the annual marathon, a yearly spring “happening” in that city.

This year’s marathon will forever be remembered for the senseless, dastardly act of terrorism , that resulted in the loss of three lives, scarred the nation and might have an indelible effect on how public gatherings and sports events will be conducted in this country from now on.

All of this seems very familiar to those of us who have been tightly linked to Israeli victims of Palestinian terrorism. There seems to be a predictable psychological cycle to how family members, loved ones and the victims, themselves, (if they have been fortunate enough to have survived), respond to acts of terror. First there is the earth-shattering shock; then when people have had a chance to come to grips with the event, there is a profound, palpable sadness. It often is sadness so deep that one never totally recovers from it. Then, there is this anger at the total senselessness of it. And for some, who have not been so shattered that they have had their spirits totally broken, there is the quest for justice.

How do I know so much about this? Because as an advocate for the state of Israel, I have been working for over twenty years with family members who have lost loved ones to Palestinian terrorism, and have tried to help, at least the American victims who are entitled to American justice.

Whether one is out eating pizza in a restaurant in Jerusalem with one’s family, a child riding on a school bus on his way to school in Haifa, an adult in his car on his way to work on highway one that extends through Jerusalem to Moadin, a teenager out dancing in a discothèque in Tel Aviv on Friday night, a student eating lunch at the cafeteria of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the pattern seems all too familiar, and the acts are just as random and just as senseless.

Each of the stories have gripped me anew with profound sadness. There is the story of Doctor David Applebaum, who on September 3, 2003, took his daughter out to the Hillel Café in Emek Rafaim, Jerusalem the night before what was to have been her wedding day. There was an explosion in the restaurant. The hospital where David worked sprung into full rear. David, who headed up the emergency room in Sharei Tzedek Hospital was usually the first one to show up at such occasions, and the doctors were surprised when he didn’t appear. That night, Dr. Applebaum, who had operated on dozens of victims of terror, and his daughter, Nava on the eve of her wedding, were themselves, fatalities of Palestinian terror.

And there was 13 year old, Koby Mandell of Silver Spring, Maryland, who on May 8, 2001, did the Huck Finn thing together with his friend, Yisef Ishran, and skipped school to go on a hike in the caves near their community of Takoa, Israel. Unfortunately, the punishment did not fit the crime.

When Koby and Yosef did not return home that evening, their parents began to worry. Their bodies had been found so brutally mangled that they had to use dental records to identify the records.

I had known Sherri, Koby’s mother, from Silver Spring.  I knew I had to call her while she was sitting shiva.  What does one say when to comfort a grieving mother, who had just lost her bachor, her first born son, under the worst conditions imagineable.

I decided to tell her the truth. I told her that I was working on a bill to take the issue of justice for Americans who have been killed or injured abroad, away from the State Department, whose primary mission is diplomacy, and to put it in the Department of justice, whose primary mission is justice.

I will never forget what Sherri said. Her words are still ringing in my ears. “I can just see Koby jumping up and down in heaven to have a law named after him”.

I thought to myself, “Sweetheart, it is a long way before a bill becomes a law.” But I vowed to myself, then, that I would not rest until that law was passed. It took many years, but the bill was signed into law in December of 2004. In May of 2005, the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism was opened up in the Justice Department.

It says on their website that the mission of this office is to “ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks that result in deaths and/or injuries of American citizens overseas remains a high priority within the Department of Justice.”

Unfortunately, there have been scores of Koby Mandells and David and Nava Appelbaums. Not one American victim of Palestinian terrorism has ever received the pursuit of justice under the law that every American citizen deserves.

It is important to understand that terrorism is terrorism. It is simply never justifiable.  Whether committed by Al Qaeda, Hamas, Fatah, Hezbollah or Ansar al Islam, once someone starts talking about “understanding the root cause”, it provides them with a rationale and opens the door for more of these heinous acts against free people, anywhere around the globe.

There are some within our corridors of power in Washington that have been making the distinction between terrorism against innocent American citizens in Israel taking a class at Hebrew University, or riding a bus, and those in the United States. This is a distinction without a difference. In the minds of the Islamic terrorists, who hate both “the Great Satan”, (America), and “The Minor Satan” (Israel), equally, each act of terrorism against citizens of either nation only serves to empower the terrorist, and to reinforce them to commit more such heinous acts.

Whether in Boston, Mumbai or Jerusalem, every citizen deserves what is etched on the façade of our Supreme Court, “Equal Justice Under the Law.”

The New Normal
Kyle Shideler

April 19 2013

A “Failure of Imagination” is often how 9/11 was described, most notably by the commission formed to study it and the lessons to be learned from it.

If there was a failure preceding the Boston Marathon attack (and it is unclear yet that there was), it was not a failure of imagination. It was not, in any real sense, a failure of foresight.

Tamerlan Tsarnaev (The deceased older suspect) and Dzhokar (the younger suspect, as of this writing still being sought by police), were/are Chechen Muslims who had resided in this country for over a decade. They attended school, had friends, girlfriends and social activities (Tamerlan was a golden gloves boxer who expressed a desire to box for the American national team.) Western intelligence officials have long expressed concern over the possible threat from Chechen terrorists, because of their perceived ability to blend in to a “typical” American crowd.

They were also apparently devout Muslims (Tamerlan did not smoke or drink from religious prohibitions and complained about a lack of “values”), who were active in online Islamist activities. A Youtube account believed connected to Tsarnaev features Islamist videos, including homage to the notorious “Black Flag of Khorasan” referencing a hadith popular among jihadists. The hadith relates to an army arising from Khorasan, usually understood as Central Asia, leading to a confrontation and the end times.

For tactics they used multiple improvised explosive devices using what were apparently remote-controlled cars and pressure-cookers, a signature device common to Afghanistan and Pakistan, and recommended as an explosive of choice by Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine. Inspire was produced by American Muslim Jihadist Samir Khan under the guidance of Yemeni –American cleric Anwar Al-Awlaki, until they were both terminated via drone strike last year. The magazine noted that the death toll from such a device could be in the “tens”. Mercifully it was not, but the Inspire manual puts the lie to those who rushed to proclaim that the event could not be Jihadi-inspired because the weapons were not devastating enough in their casualties.

Their method of dress, their bags, and their movement prior to the bombing was disturbingly similar to that of the 7/7 London bombers, even down to each attack featuring a suspect in a white hat, as noted by terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares .

Following the revelation of their names and faces by law enforcement, the two engaged in a series of crimes, including a convenience store hold up and a carjacking, which seem guaranteed to draw law enforcement attention, followed by a series of mobile gun battles with police reminiscent of the Mumbai shooting.  Thankfully, American law enforcement have clearly drawn many important lessons about dealing with active shooters since 2008, and are operating with skill and precision in hunting down the remaining suspect or suspects.

In other words, there appears to be very little in this terror attack which was unforeseen or unimagined. Quite the opposite. We may yet learn details to show that these Jihadists’ terrorist tradecraft was more or perhaps less than the Al Qaeda standard, but there can be absolutely no doubt that their tactics, techniques and procedures are completely in line with Al Qaeda’s current operational strategy of self-indoctrinating, self-activating autonomous cells seeking to deal whatever death they can.

The terror in Boston is not a failure of imagination. It is the new “normal.” And it has been for some time.

AIDING AL QAEDA: CRIME AND POLICY
Kyle Shideler

April 12 2013

There is a bumper sticker popular with Libertarians and other folks critical of government tax policy which reads something like, “Don’t steal, the government hates competition.””>There is a bumper sticker popular with Libertarians and other folks critical of government tax policy which reads something like, “Don’t steal, the government hates competition.”

Another area where the current U.S. government has recently made clear it doesn’t like competition from the individual is in the supporting of jihadists in Syria, as recently learned by Eric Harroun, an American army veteran and convert to Islam, who travelled to Syria to fight the Assad regime.

Harroun joined the Free Syrian Army before being separated from his group and being picked up by Jabhat al-Nusra, a brigade of rebels representing Al Qaeda. Harroun fought alongside these Al Qaeda fighters, before finally leaving Syria for Turkey, where he was detained by U.S. officials and charged with conspiring to use a weapon of mass destruction (in this case a rocket propelled grenade or RPG) outside the United States.

So far, so good.

If Harroun is guilty –which seems likely, since all the evidence against him appears to be based on his own public statements – then he should indeed be jailed. Converts to Islam feature prominently in Al Qaeda terror plots against the United States (nearly a quarter of Al Qaeda plots in the U.S. were committed by converts), and U.S. officials are right to be wary of those training and fighting jihad abroad returning to the United States. European security officials have also expressed worries about the high number of European Muslims fighting in Syria.

But it raises a question.

If there is a serious security threat posed by men like Eric Harroun firing RPGs at Assad’s troops, why is the United States involved in shipping arms, including RPGs, to the very men with whom Harroun is fighting?

As reported by the New York Times and others, the Central Intelligence Agency is apparently involved in coordinating the shipment of arms purchased by Saudi Arabia and Qatar, including Croatian-made heavy weapons, to Syrian rebels. This effort is camouflaged by an official policy of only providing limited “non-lethal aid” to the Syrian rebels, while covertly the U.S. is assisting in the transport of lethal aid, with the Qataris and Saudis picking up the cost.

Reportedly these shipments are intended for Free Syria Army units, and not Al Qaeda-linked Jihadis, and the CIA’s role is to insure the weapons don’t fall into the wrong hands. But if these reports are correct, they have not proven very successful thus far.

The reason for this failure is because the Obama administration continues to claim that there is a real distinction between groups like Jabhat Al-Nusra and more “moderate” or “secular” Islamists like those tied to the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Syrian opposition; despite all evidence to the contrary. They have not changed their position even after being repeatedly told by Free Syrian Army (FSA) commanders like Riad Al-Asaad that Al-Nusra fighters are “brothers in Islam”, or that “(W)e are all Jabhat Al-Nusra,” as 29 opposition groups insisted in December when the U.S. designated Al-Nusra a terror group.

Which brings us back to the bumper sticker. The reason why the “Competition” sticker is striking is because it points to a fundamental principle of American justice, namely the rule of law, and the understanding that illegitimate actions do not become legitimate simply because they are carried out by the government.

And yet that is, effectively where the U.S. is today. To paraphrase, to provide Al Qaeda with one RPG is a crime, while to provide it with thousands is policy.

Eric Harroun will most likely be imprisoned for his efforts fighting alongside Al Qaeda, as well he should be. But there will be no accountability for the personnel of this Administration, whose policy is effectively to do the same as Harroun, just on a grander scale.

The Divine Hand of the Europeans
Adam Turner

April 05 2013

The Biblical Book of Joshua begins:

And it was after the death of Moses, the servant of the Lord, that the Lord said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, “Moses my servant has died and now arise and cross the River Jordan. You and all this nation go to the land which I give the Children of Israel. Every place on which the soles of your feet will tread I have given to you, as I have spoken to Moses. No man shall stand up …

“Not so,” say diplomats in the United States and the rest of the Western world.

These leaders have their own, alternate supreme authority, which delineates not just the borders of Israel, but also that of every other nation within the Middle East.  They consider their authority to be an entity far more powerful than the Lord – the European colonial powers, especially the United Kingdom and France.

Just look at today’s map in the Middle East, and you can see what I mean.

Israel, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, etc. all still exist within the borders that the European colonial powers drew for them.  These borders had nothing to do with their history.  They had nothing to do with their ethnic homogeneity.  They had nothing to do with their religious homogeneity.  They had nothing to do with their linguistics.  And today, the mix of peoples within each state is sometimes even more divided than when the borders were first drawn, as the different peoples within them often have different natural growth rates, or emigration rates, which have altered the balance of power in a major way. Simply put, these borders no longer make sense, if they ever did.

But don’t you ever think about touching those borders.  That is not to be allowed.

When the United States ousted the Iraqi dictator, Saddam Hussein, and occupied that country, our officials were careful to maintain a unified state out of the hodgepodge of nationalities and religions created by the British-French pen.  The Iraqi population is roughly 30 plus million divide as follows as follows – about 18 million Shia Arabs, 5 million Sunni Arabs, 5 million Sunni Kurds, who are a different ethnic group than Arabs, with the remainder largely Christian Arabs (those who haven’t fled yet).  Generally, the three main peoples live in different areas of the nation, with the Kurds in the North, the Sunni Arabs in the West, and the Shia Arabs predominating elsewhere.  Historically these three groups have been in opposition to one another.  But, even during the height of the Iraqi post-war insurrection, when Shia Arabs and Sunni Arabs and Kurds were all at each other’s throats, almost no American of any significance considered the logical option of dividing the country into three sections. Perhaps the world felt that since Europe colonialists had already spoken on the matter, the Iraqis would just have to learn to live together.

Also, consider Syria and Lebanon.  France originally drew their boundaries.  Both were drawn to maximize French interests, especially in Lebanon, where the French were interested in producing a majority Christian nation.  Today, the conflicts originating out of these lines have led to the death of hundreds of thousands of people.

In Syria, there are 23 million inhabitants.  16 million are Sunni Arabs.  Over 3 million are non-Sunni Arabs, mostly Alawites, but also including some Druze. Both the Alawites and the Druze live primarily in the Western, more mountainous areas.  There are about 2 million Kurds residing in the northeastern corner.  And there were more than 2 million Christian Arabs, prior to the rebellion.  Currently, much of the country is in flames, as Sunni Arabs – led by jihadists – seek to violently overthrow the Iranian-backed Alawite dictator Assad.  Over 70,000 people have died during this civil war.  Yet, among all the various peace plans that have been proposed by the international elites, precious few advocate the seemingly obvious idea of splitting Syria into its different constituent parts, so as to better protect minorities.  (The Christians may not be concentrated enough to create a separate state, although it is possible that they might be more safe in an Alawite or Kurdish state.)


In Lebanon, there are around 1.2 million Sunni Arabs, more than 1.2 million Shia Arabs, 1.4 million Christians (whom are further subdivided) and 200,000 Druze.  Because Lebanon is so heterogynous, it has had over twenty-five years of civil war, with hundreds of thousands of casualties, and currently is under a fragile “truce” thanks to the ability of the Shia terrorist group Hezbollah to forcibly control the nation.  The Lebanese communities are, once again, mostly segregated.  But, once again, no major international peace plans for Lebanon have ever made the case for a sensible division of the country.

So, now we come back to Israel.

After God had had his way, the British stepped in.  In 1921, the British chopped off 80% of the land to give to their ally, the Hashemite Abdullah, whose family had just lost their prior kingdom in what is now Saudi Arabia.  The monarchy of Jordan – as it became – has been in existence ever since.  Of course, as befits a kingdom arbitrarily drawn up by the British, a majority of the population of Jordan is actually made up of Palestinian Arab emigrants.

After the British tired of keeping peace between the warring Arabs and Jews in the remaining 20% of Palestine, the United Nations – led by the European diplomats – tried to organize that rump into competing areas of Arab and Jewish control.  This led to war, which resulted in the 1948 armistice lines.  Since then, Israel has been forced to fight numerous times against the Arab world.  In each of these struggles, the lines have changed.

But the world – led by the diplomats of Europe – still doesn’t recognize the current borders of Israel.  Neither does the Obama Administration.

Then again, perhaps this isn’t too surprising.  The British never got their final say on Israel’s borders, did they?

Europe acquiesces while Jews are threatened, and killed. Again
Adam Turner

March 28 2013

When Gunther Grass, a German writer, wrote a nasty bit of verse attacking the Jewish state of Israel and defending the Mad Mullahs of Iran and their genocidal desires to destroy the world’s Jews, many of the chattering classes in the Europe were, oh-so-shocked.  Considering Grass’s background as a member of the notorious Waffen S.S., I was not.  The only shocking thing to me was that a Nazi verbally attacking the Jewish state was considered newsworthy by anyone in the real world.

Likewise, when a French Muslim Arab brutally massacred a French Rabbi, his two sons, and an eight year old girl, I was disgusted, but not shocked.  But once again, many in Europe were.  Disgustingly, the French government, which loves to police the language of some critical of Islam, did nothing to head off the killer, or crack down on his religious inciters.  Over the years, the French government has often gone out of its way to avoid prosecuting, condemning, or even exposing, the anti-Semitic preaching of French imams, which prompted the mass murderer to murder.  Apparently, if the incitement is in another language, and against Jews, it is not all that important to the French government.

Now, some Dutch Muslims have been caught on tape, praising Hitler and the Holocaust, and hoping for a new slaughter of Jews.  Once again, some in Europe are shocked.  How could these children say such things?  But, these days, the Dutch elites are too busy going after Geert Wilders for his speech, which they claim incites hatred against the Dutch Muslim minority, to bother prosecuting the speech of Dutch imams, whom actually incite hatred towards the Jewish minority in the Netherlands.  So, as a result, young Dutch Muslims learn to hate Jews. 

There have been, and there will be, many more such incidents of the European elites expressing their surprise when anti-Semitic incidents occur in Europe.  And you can be sure that as before, the respective European governments will keep expressing their shock, but do absolutely nothing to learn from this incident or act to prevent the next one. 

None of this European obliviousness to anti-Semitism shocks me, though.

I guess I can thank my family for this.  My great grandfather, Nathan Trigaboff, and his father, Hershel Trigaboff, were all too familiar with anti-Semitism, violence against Jews, and an uncaring European elite.  Their story educated me to build up an immunity to the false conventional wisdom I keep hearing from some today, about how Europeans are civilized people who respect their Jewish minorities.

When Nathan was a teenager, the Czarist government of Russia drafted him to join their army.  This was, of course, the same army that often led pogroms against Russian Jews.  Nathan was incredibly strong and muscular; in his picture, his build resembles that of a professional boxer, like a young Mike Tyson.  But Nathan, and his father Hershel, knew that for a Jew to join the Russian Imperial Army was basically to receive a death sentence.  Nathan would either be worked to death, killed by his comrades at arms, who were usually virulent anti-Semites, or killed in battle.  And the Russian elites wanted it this way, while the "progressive" elites from the rest of Europe merely looked away. 

So, to save his son, Hershel sent Nathan to the United States of America, the one nation then in existence that actually cared about the minorities of the world.  Including Jews.  And Hershel did so knowing full well the legal consequences - Russian law demanded that the father of a draft evader must serve in his son’s place.  To avoid the fate he had saved his son from, Hershel then sliced off his own trigger finger, making it impossible for him to use a gun and thus, useless to the army.  Years later, Hershel Trigaboff joined his son in America, and sure enough, his Ellis Island records make note of his missing finger.

The Jews of Europe need to wake up to reality.  There is no future for Jewish life in that dark continent.  It is time for European Jews to go to a nation that welcomes and appreciates them, either the U.S., or (now) Israel.  The 600,000 Jews in France need to go.  The 250,000 in the U.K. must leave.  So too, must those Jews in the Netherlands, Sweden, Norway, Russia (and the former U.S.S.R. states), Italy, and, of course, Germany

Otherwise, in a matter of time, each and every one of these European Jews will be dead.  And the elites of Europe will, like Renault, limit themselves to expressing their "shock" each time another Jew is killed.

Note: I do not generally favor hate speech codes as are found in Europe.  However, I find nothing inconsistent with opposing their creation and implementation in new countries, while demanding that they be enforced as universally as possible in those nations where they are already in existance.

Obama's Islamist Tilt
Kyle Shideler

March 15 2013

Important overseas populations are drawing the conclusion that the Obama administration is quietly realigning itself in the Middle East, toward the Islamists.

Recently returning from a visit to Egypt, Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) noted that many of the Coptic Christian minorities he met believe the United Statessupports the Muslim Brotherhood’s vicious rule there:

 

"I was told people think the United States is developing relationships with the Muslim Brotherhood because it believes the party is going to remain in power," Wolf said. "[T]he feeling is that as long as the Brotherhood protects the United States’ interests in the region, it can act with impunity within its borders."

Such sentiments are increasingly common in Egypt. Protestors against Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Cairo stood outside the Egyptian Foreign ministry, and accused the U.S. of supporting the Muslim Brotherhood.  The leadership of the primary Muslim Brotherhood opposition, the National Salvation Front,refused to meet with Kerry, citing his "pro-Morsi stance." And U.S. Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson has been repeatedly accused of leading an effort to transform Egypt "into Pakistan,"  which is to say, a militarized, hardline-Islamist state. For his trip to Cairo, Kerry brought with him news of the release of $250 million in aid for Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood-led government, a figure which would have been larger still had Congress not intervened.

Nor are the Egyptian opposition the only ones convinced that America has become the strongest ally of the Muslim Brotherhood, or their even more violent Islamist brethren. 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai recently accused the U.S. of partnering with the Taliban in a cynical strategy to prolong the military campaign in Afghanistan.  Karzai’s statement is ridiculous on its face since it’s difficult to give credence to any argument in which the Obama Administration appears anxious to remain in Afghanistan.

But given the repeated U.S. efforts to conduct negotiations with the Taliban, grant them an embassy,  and resist declaring them terrorists, one wonders if Karzai is quite as far off the mark as an objective observer would think he would be. Even if Karzai were speaking to a domestic audience only, shouldn’t the idea that the U.S. is partnering with the Taliban be so laughable as to be completely inconceivable even among isolated Afghan tribal peoples? 

And, of course, if the idea of the U.S. collaborating with the Taliban should be considered as likely as flying pigs, then the idea that, in Syria, the U.S. is actively arming Jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda-affiliates, should be an idea popular with only the tinfoil hat crowd.

But increasingly it’s not. 

As long time specialist on Syria, Barry Rubin, notes:

 

The United States is helping arm and perhaps helping to train radical Islamist guerrillas who want a Sharia state in Syria, who believe Israel should be wiped off the map, and who may soon be murdering and oppressing Christians and other groups in Syria itself.

Author of the Long War Journal, and an authority on Al Qaeda, Bill Roggioagrees:

 

The State Department announced that it would provide $60 million in direct aid to the Syrian Opposition Coalition, an alliance of Syrian groups that has come out in support of the Al Nusrah Front after the US designated it as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and al Qaeda in Iraq’s affiliate in Syria in December 2012.

The struggle for Syria is becoming a repeat of the prior situation in Libya.  There, the U.S. provided assistance, including air cover, for Libyan rebels with openlyadmitted Al Qaeda ties. And we continue to reap the consequence0efits"  of that decision today from Benghazi to Mali. Now, the U.S. is doing the same for the Al Qaeda-affiliated Syrian groups.

Apropos the concerns of the protesting Egyptians, not only does U.S. policy risk turning Egypt into Pakistan, but increasingly, in our own way, we are turning our own country into Pakistan. We are, objectively speaking, supporting Islamic fundamentalists, and yes, even terrorists with the one hand, while opposing them with the other. We have transformed ourselves, in the span of a decade, from a nation that declares, "You are either with us, or you are with the terrorists," to a nation that is credibly accused of arming terrorists. 

And as in Pakistan, there is perhaps some room for debate over whether this schizophrenic policy is due largely to an increasingly incompetent bureaucracy (of the sort that invites a virulent twitter anti-Semite to be awarded a women’s rights award) or if it is by Machiavellian design.

But there’s no question over what gave rise to the increasing belief that the United States is backing the Muslim Brotherhood over religious minorities in Egypt, providing aid and comfort to the Taliban, or supporting violent jihad in Syria and Libya. What gave them that idea? We did.

Rise of the Militias in the Middle East
Kyle Shideler

March 01 2013

“Hey! think the time is right for a palace revolution, but where I live the game to play is compromise solution…

–The Rolling Stones, “Street-Fighting Man”

Quite a bit of the recent news flowing out of the Middle East has an interesting common thread. Whether it’s Syria, Iraq, Egypt, or Tunisia, all states once known for their strong military leadership, the new power players may not be wearing the uniforms, but they’ve still got the guns.

On the Syrian front it was recently reported that Iran and Hezbollah are preparing a militia, with as many as 50,000 fighters, according to the Iranians, to deal with the potential post-Assad era.  If Assad does fall, the goal would be to use these militiamen to secure key Syrian territory, enabling Iran to continue to control supply lines to Hezbollah in Lebanon and maintain its influence. Despite suffering from financial sanctions, Iran is reportedly funneling millions of dollars in cash and equipment to their newest proxies.

This is an Iranian specialty. Even if you lose the war, you can still win the post-war chaos. They have played a similar game in Iraq with great success. So pervasive is the Iranian presence in Iraq that the Sunni opposition there has accused Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki of granting Iran permission to bring in 50,000 Iranian Basij militiamen to crack down on protestors and target foreign embassies, including that of the U.S. While the Middle East has always been fertile soil for rumors and conspiracy theories, there’s likely a sliver of truth in the claim, with Iranian agents active on the ground in Iraq. Iran’s Basij militia is often credited with the regime’s success at putting down opposition after the fraudulent election in 2009.

That proven capability to suppress protests has been central to Iranian discussions with the new Muslim Brotherhood-dominated government of Egypt’s President Mohammad Morsi as well. Rumors have continued to swirl that Iran may provide advice and assistance to establish a Muslim Brotherhood militia to help defeat street protests there. Other reports indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood may be able to rely on the Iranian-armed Muslim Brotherhood-offshoot Hamas to provide 7,000 fighters to secure Morsi’s rule.

In Tunisia, a vocal anti-Islamist politician, Chokri Belaid, was recently assassinated, leading to street clashes between secularists and the leading Islamist Ennahda party. While the secular left in Tunisia still controls major labor unions, and so maintains a base of power, protestors suffer fromcontinued violence from the pro-Ennahada militia.

The power of sectarian, ethnic, tribal or party militias are greatest in regions where national identity has never really taken root, and the Middle East is one such region. For most of the Middle East, local loyalties have been either sectarian or tribal, while the ideologies that have held sway are supra-national in origin, with either Islam or Pan-Arab nationalism as the guiding belief system.

Thus it is no surprise that, as Daniel Pipes pointed out in a recent article, the United State’s continued focus on creating national armed forces and other national institutions in these states has historically failed, and continues to fail. There is little use in bringing an F-16 to a street fight. Yes, Morsi’s Egypt will gladly take delivery of modern military technology, but his regime’s security is better served by thugs on motorbikes with guns and leather jackets than by fighter jocks in F-16 fighters. And he knows it.

There are forces in the region deserving of American support. Secular activists in Egypt and Tunisia, although small and routinely disorganized, are worthy of recognition. And ethnic and religious minorities including Christians, Kurds and Druze in Syria are sympathetic to our democratic values and all likely to be on the receiving end of violence from both Iran’s new militia and the majority Sunni-rebels if Assad should fall. Unfortunately, it’s unlikely that the U.S. will play a role in safe guarding these communities or giving them the ability to safeguard themselves.

The Obama administration has shown it is far more comfortable negotiating across the table from the Islamists, whether from Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood, than it is reaching out to secular and minority groups. And while U.S. officials at the CIA and the Pentagon expressed confidence that they could vet recipients of U.S. armsin Syria, the administration’s track record in this area is not good.  Where the administration has played the militia game, they generally have failed.  For example, they selected the February 17th Martyrs’ Brigade to help guard the Benghazi Consulate. They ended up selecting a Muslim Brotherhood-linked militia that conveniently“failed to respond to repeated calls for assistance” when the Consulate came under attack.  Not encouraging.

So U.S.-manufactured weapons of war serve no good purpose (nor does the American influence they allegedly purchased), while the Islamist rulers establish and maintain their territories using the truncheons and bicycle chains of their militias against the remaining secularists and minorities. While the current administration continues to believe that the time is right for a compromise solution, it seems that in the Middle East “the time is right for fighting in the streets.”

Egypt: Too Big to Fail?
Adam Turner

February 20 2013

Recently, Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt, a supposed “moderate” Islamist, met with Iran’s anti-Semitic, genocidal, President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Reportedly, they had a friendly discussion.  Perhaps, in addition to the official topics, they also conversed about their mutual anti-Semitic attitudes.  President Ahmadinejad is already well-known for his hatred of the Jews.  President Morsi’s bigotry, on the other hand, has only publicly come to light this past year.  In 2010, President Morsi delivereda speech urging Egyptians to “nurse our children and our grandchildren on hatred” for Jews. Soon after, Morsi described Jews as “these bloodsuckers who attack the Palestinians, these warmongers, the descendants of apes and pigs.”   When confronted by U.S. Senators on his impolitic language, Morsi implied that this was only a controversy because the American media was controlled by Jews.

 

But the two Islamist Presidents have much more in common than just their anti-Semitism.  Both lead radical, dictatorial, and anti-American regimes.  Like the radical Iranian government has since 1979, President Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood Party continue to crack down on pro-democracy demonstrations in their country (Egypt), persecuteindependent members of the media, and actively pursue death sentences against Westerners or Americans engaging in Free Speech IN the West.

 

Unfortunately, none of this negative behavior by Egypt’s leadership seems to matter much to the U.S. government.  The administration’s immediate response – sending four F-16 fighter jets to Egypt.  A bipartisan Congress voted to support the sale.  This is all part of the $1.5 billion or so U.S. aid, most of it military, which has gone to Egypt annually since 1979.

 

When questioned about the consistent flow of U.S. aid to Egypt, the same argument is often made by the foreign policy elites – Egypt is the colossus of the Arab world, and it would be irrational and unwise for the U.S. to simply let it become a rogue state, or to collapse, as a failed state.  And so the U.S. money spigot must be kept consistently open, if not cracked a bit wider, regardless of how the Islamist-run Egyptian government acts.  In fact, if you persist in doubting this wisdom, sometimes you are belittled as an ignorant isolationist-like opponent of all foreign aid.

 

But let’s re-examine that pearl of conventional wisdom regarding U.S. aid to Egypt. It simply isn’t valid, as Egypt under the MB is already a rogue state, and it is also pretty much guaranteed to become a failed state.

 

The fact that Egypt is a rogue state should be patently obvious at this point.  The Egyptian MB has produced Hamas in Gaza, a well-known terrorist organization.  In fact, the MB and Hamas are so close that thousands of Hamas warriors may have been sent to Egypt to help President Morsi protect his regime by crushing Egyptian democratic protestors.  President Morsi and his MB have already shown their willingness to corrupt the democratic process, kill Egyptian demonstrators, discriminate against the Coptic Christians, allow for the harassment or rape of women, and prevent the exercise of a culture of freedom of speech among ordinary Egyptians and foreigners alike.  For more information, see hereherehere and here.  Even President Obama – in a moment of clarity – revealed that he is unsure whether Egypt’s MB regime is an ally of ours.

 

Egypt’s coming economic failure is not so obvious, perhaps because of Western wishful thinking.  But, as David Goldman writes, Egypt currently requires more than $22 billion a year simply to meet its basic needs.  Because of the increasing violence there, the once flourishing tourist industry is kaput, and people with money and knowledge and skills are fleeing.  A black market of U.S. dollars has developed.  Almost half of the population is illiterate.  There are no major sources of oil, natural gas, or other natural resources in the nation.   In other words, Egypt can’t – and/or won’t – continue to exist without outside help.  So, the question is: is the U.S., or the world, ready to supply that $22 billion – every year – to prop up the Islamist regime of Mohammed Morsi?

 

Perhaps some believe that the Gulf States and Europe will pay for some of this aid.  Maybe.  So far, Saudi Arabia and Qatar have given Egypt only $9 billion in financial aid and Saudi Arabia may not be willing to deliver this money indefinitely to a MB-dominated government.  And Europe is in really bad economic straits these days.  So that leaves the U.S., and the various international organizations.  But I repeat myself – the U.N. and other international groups may have promised grants/loans, but much of their budget actually comes from the U.S.

 

There is another point to be made here.  Even if we believe that “Egypt is too big to fail,” why would we ever let the Egyptians know this? As any true believer in realpolitick would know, if Egypt is aware of how vital it is to the U.S., then that nation will do whatever it wants to do, even if what it is doing is in opposition to U.S. interests. This means that it is imperative that the U.S. credibly pretend, even if it would never actually stop its aid to Egypt, that it is open to cutting off the money. Attaching conditions to the aid, and then waiving them, simply does not cut it.

 

Aside from the question of U.S. foreign aid to Egypt in general, there is also the question of military aid in particular.  About 80% of the U.S. aid to Egypt is military.  There are really only three possible reasons why Egypt would need a strong military: 1) to crack down on its own people; 2) to go to war against Israel, a U.S. ally; and/or 3) to conquer or intimidate other neighboring nations, like Libya, Sudan, Jordan, etc.  None of these actions are in the U.S. national interest.

 

The most frequently asserted reason to provide the Egyptian military with this aid is that the military is, or will be, a counterweight to the MB.  Now, when the Egyptian army was a more secular-led institution under President Mubarak, bribing Egyptian military leaders to win their support made sense. But considering that Morsi personally named the new army leadership, that the armed forces have shown they don’t want to get involved in politics, and that many officers are pro-Brotherhood or even pro-Salafist, is this really a good reason anymore?  I don’t believe so.  Certainly, Morsi and the MB don’t seem too concerned about the army opposing them.

 

President Morsi is an Islamist, and his Muslim Brotherhood Party is an Islamist party.  They run a regime that is un-democratic, anti-human rights, anti-American, anti-Semitic, and anti-Christian.  And they need our economic help, just to survive.  It is well-past the time we let them know that, unless they change their ways, their nation’s ride on the U.S. gravy train will end.

Is the Coca Cola Company a Bunch of Racists
Adam Turner

February 15 2013

Perhaps you haven’t heard, but Coca Cola was recently accused of “racism” against Arabs for its new Super Bowl ad.  It wasn’t just Arab groups that made the claim – here is CAIR, the Islamist group masquerading as a “civil rights” group, grouching about it too.  Other Muslim groups also objected, asking the Coca Cola Company not to air it, or asking for it to be reshot.

The actual Coca Cola ad was as follows:  In it, an Arab caravan wanders through the desert with their camels. The lead man, dressed in traditional Arab robes, sees a giant Coca Cola bottle sign in the distance. Looking thirsty, he begins to walk towards the sign, only to be surprised, and literally left in the dust, by successive groups of American Cowboys, Mad Max-like bikers, and a bus of Vegas showgirls, who all are racing to get to a Coke. All of these groups eventually get to the sign, with the exception of the Arabs, only to find out that the sign says that the Coke bottles are actually 50 miles away. The Coca Cola Company has asked viewers to vote on which group will be able to get the refreshing Coke; but they don’t include the Arab group in the contest.  That was enough for the “racism” charge, and the implied “Islamophobia” charge.  The only way to solve this problem, according to the Arab and Muslim critics – Coke needed to redo the ad, so at the very least, the Arabs had an opportunity to win.

Why were CAIR, an Islamist group, and the other Muslim groups, involved in this controversy?  As we all should know by now, the Islamist lobby has worked overtime to develop the narrative that “Islamophobia” is equivalent to racism, so Nihad Awad of CAIR is able to use the Coke ad debate to get his organization, an unindicted coconspirator in a terrorism finance trial, on a national news program. He successfully did so this time, appearing on the O’Reilly Factor, where he made the case that the ad unfairly connects Arabs to camels, and thus makes them “camel jockeys.” No mention was made of CAIR’s questionable ties or affiliations.

The “Islamophobia=racism” argument is a flimsy one to be sure, but still enough to further the Islamist campaign to force the West to censor its speech regarding Islam. This charge exemplified just one of the three different methods Islamists often resort to, to censor Western speech. Here they applied some pressure based on political correctness, by threatening to smear Coca Cola’s reputation by alleging “racism” and “Islamophobia.” Alternative methods used by Islamists include: the initiation of legal proceedings, known as “lawfare” — i.e., frivolous or malicious lawsuits which often do not even hope to succeed in court and are reluctant to reach discovery to avoid disclosing information, but which therefore seem intended, using charges of hate speech ordefamation, to harass and financially crush the defendant; and threats of violence, or actual violence.

This whole controversy may not seem like much, but it was actually sort of a big deal. The criticisms by these Arab/Muslim groups were patently ridiculous. These include the above whine about a connection between Arabs and camels, a complaint that “Arabs are always shown as either oil-rich sheiks, terrorists, or belly dancers,” and a whimper that the Arabs are not given a chance to win the race. The Coke ad is clearly not guilty of being “racist” or “Islamophobic” or any other type of prejudice. It may be just plain stupid, but it is an equal opportunity stupid. Only those who write commercials professionally should have been offended. CAIR, and the other professional Islamist scolds, were not even trying to put forth good arguments to back up their outrage. So, if Coke had caved, these Arab and Muslim pressure groups would have demonstrated great power to censor non-Muslims, using only the slightest of pretexts as a cover.

But Coca Cola – aside from its decision to express a tepid “regret” for the ad being “misunderstood” – generally stood firm, and the ad aired, unedited, during the Super Bowl. Much credit belongs to them for not bowing further to these groups. The company has a tremendous amount of sales in the Arab and Muslim world, so the economically smart thing for it to have done was just to apologize and tweak the ad.  They didn’t.

As long as Coca Cola continues to stand strong on free speech, next time I am thirsty, I think I will select a Coke.

Spain and Muslim Apostasy
Adam Turner

February 08 2013

Imran Firasat, a Muslim-turned-Christian from Pakistan who currently resides in Spain, is facing down a Spanish government that seems determined to punish him for his film, The Innocent Prophet, about the prophet Muhammad. The Spanish government has: 1) revoked his Spanish residency and now threatens to extradite him; and 2) initiated a prosecution for violating a Spanish hate speech law. The Spanish authorities have justified their revocation of his residency on the grounds that he is "threatening national security with the production of this video." Although Mr. Firasat is originally from Pakistan, the Spanish authorities might also deport him to Indonesia, where his wife is from (and still lives) and where Firasat lived from 2008 through 2010. Meanwhile, the accompanying hate speech prosecution filed against Mr. Firasat is because his film violates section 510 of the Spanish Penal Code, which is a crime that punishes incitation to hatred and violence for racial, ideological or religious reasons. More facts about Imran Firasat’s case may be found in an earlier column I wrote,here. In interest of full disclosure I should note, that the Legal Project is providing financial assistance to his attorney.

The most disturbing part of this Spanish campaign against Mr. Firasat is that the Spanish government really should know better than to push for Imran Firasat’s deportation from Spain. As the government is aware, if he is sent to Pakistan, he may face death for his frequent blasphemy.

As the government is aware, if he is sent to Indonesia, the Indonesian authorities have actually accused Mr. Firasat, and convicted him, in abstentia, of a spurious murder charge. The Spanish learned this fact two years ago, when Interpol contacted them regarding an Indonesian warrant. At that time, a Spanish judge ruled that the Indonesian conviction was not strong enough to merit his expulsion from Spain. The Spanish also know that Mr. Firasat has been accused—but not convicted—of blasphemy charge(s) in Indonesia. After all, Spain originally gave him refuge because his criticism of Islam, in various Muslim nations, put him in danger of blasphemy punishment anywhere within the Muslim world.

So, to sum up, the Spanish authorities are trying to remove Imran Firasat from Spain, even though they are aware that: 1) if he were sent back to Pakistan, he very well might be killed for blasphemy; 2) if he were sent back to Indonesia he would be exposed to either a murder conviction or a blasphemy charge, or possibly both; and 3) if he were deported elsewhere, there is an Interpol warrant hanging over his head that could be used to send him back to Indonesia to the same result.

Firasat’s legal problems began in 2010, while he was living in Indonesia when he was arrested for his "blasphemy" on the web against Islam. The Indonesians threatened to charge him for a violation of the 1965 Indonesian law against blasphemy, Article 156(A) of the penal code. This law stipulates up to five years in prison for anyone who publicly shows "enmity" or "abuses or stains" a religion adhered to in Indonesia, or prevents other people from adhering to such a religion. Indonesia’s blasphemy law penalty is not as serious as those of some other Muslim nations, like Pakistan, but a conviction in Indonesia is still nothing to make light of. In 2012, in Indonesia, a man named Sebastian Joe was given five years for his "blasphemy." Apparently, one of Joe’s controversial statements was "God stingy and arrogant," which he wrote on his Facebook page. It also appears that the Indonesian police had arrested Joe partly to protect him from an Islamist mob that was then descending on his home. Another Indonesian man, named Alexander, who is a confirmed atheist, was not so lucky. He was charged with writing "God does not exist" on a Facebook page he moderated, and was beaten by an Islamist mob before he was placed in police custody.

Imran Firasat was deported from Indonesia on July 7, 2010. But, just months after coming back to Spain—where he had resided from 2004 to 2008—the Spanish authorities arrested him at the behest of Interpol and the Indonesians. Indonesia now claimed that on June 10, 2010, Mr. Firasat had committed a murder in Indonesia, and that on July 16, 2010 they had actually conducted a full trial and convicted him. Shockingly, this meant that the Indonesians had held Firasat for 27 days after his supposed murder, never charging him, and then deported him, before convicting him, 9 days later, for his supposed murder. Not surprisingly, the Spanish authorities—after giving the Indonesian authorities ample opportunities to appear in court and present their evidence—ultimately rejected extradition and left Imran Firasat free to live as a resident in Spain.

That is, until the Spanish heard about Mr. Firasat’s movie. In response to Firasat’s stated intent to release the film, the Spanish authorities began to threaten him with lawfare. Because of their threats, Firasat backed down. However, American Pastor Terry Jones, ofKoran-burning fame, then took it upon himself to release the movie. Pastor Jones had a copy of it because he had earlier been approached by Mr. Firasat to help publicize the movie. So, even though Imran Firasat himself had not released the movie, the authorities followed through on their threats and removed his Spanish legal residency.

Now, Imran Firasat sits in a type of legal limbo, a man without a country, stuck in Spain where he can be detained by the police at any time, with only nations like Indonesia wanting him—to punish him for his speech. His only hope is that he will be successful in his administrative appeal to the High Court in Madrid to regain his Spanish residency.

When Spain let Imran Firasat first seek asylum in their nation, they knew all about his vociferous objections to Islam. They let him in anyway. Now, perhaps because of recent Islamist violence directed towards speech, the Spanish want to get rid of him. How craven can you get?


Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law. This column was written for the LP.

 

WHY CHUCK HAGEL IS UNFIT TO BE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE
Sarah Stern

January 28 2013

Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination has already sent an extremely dangerous signal to the Islamic Republic of Iran that President Obama really doesn’t mean what he says when he declares that “all options are on the table”, when dealing with a nuclear Iran.

A nuclear Iran would not be dangerous to Israel alone. It is dangerous to the United States, and incredibly destabilizing to the region, and perhaps to the entire world.

We know that one of the very first things that Iran did after its revolution in 1979 was to seize the American embassy and take our embassy officials hostage. We know that it was Iranian-backed Hezbollah that bombed the American embassy in Beirut, Lebanon in 1983, killing 244 US servicemen. We know that it was Iranian-made IED’s with Farsi lettering on them that were used to maim and kill our U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

We also know that Israel is simply referred to in their rhetoric as “The Minor Satan.” It is America that gets that glorious epithet, “The Great Satan.” 

Within a few years, the Iranians will probably have a missile capable of delivering nuclear material to the United States. At this point their missiles can reach Israel as well as many parts of Europe. And the many Hezbollah cells just beyond our border in Central America may be able to activate something quite horrific to the United States, with a transportable “dirty bomb” carried in a briefcase across the border with Mexico.

However, we have no doubt that Israel will be first in the Iranian crosshairs.

We know that for years Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been preparing his people to do something dreadful to Israel by dehumanizing the Israeli and the Jew. When leaders start making allusions to biological growths and organisms, it is a way of sowing the societal landscape so that their people do not feel the common bond of humanity with Jews. It is a way to minimize any objection they might have to the annihilation of Israel.

In one of his recent televised speeches marking Al Quds Day, (Jerusalem Day), Ahmadinejad called Israel “a cancerous tumor that will soon be destroyed.” He continued: “Even if one cell of them is left in one inch of Palestinian land, in the future the story of Israel’s existence will repeat itself.”

So vile is the existence of Israel in the eyes of Ahmadinejad (and unfortunately in much of the Arab world, as well) that he views the eradication of Israel and the Jews as a great moral service to humanity.
He went on to proclaim, “Confronting Israel is an effort to protect the dignity of all human beings.”

We have been down this road before. The real cancer that is very much in existence throughout much of the Arab and Muslim world is this cancer of hatred that has metastasized throughout the body politic of much of the Middle East and Iran.
By this twisted logic, Ahmadinejad actually feels that he is doing something virtuous by eviscerating the Jewish state.

We are in a very sensitive period of history. According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which is an arm of the United Nations—so in no way could be construed as part of the “Zionist conspiracy”—last November, Iran was about one year away from possessing enough fissile material for at least three to four Hiroshima-type weapons.

And that is a very conservative estimate.

According to Reza Khalili, a former member of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard Corps, who became a double agent and worked for the CIA in the 1980’s and ‘90’s, Iran already has enough weapons grade, highly enriched uranium, plus the delivery mechanism to carry nuclear warheads.

Speaking at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy last July, Khalili said, “This is a messianic regime. There should be no doubt they’re going to commit the most horrendous suicide bombing in history. They will attack Israel, European capitals and the Persian Gulf region at the same time, then they will hide in a bunker (until a religious prophecy is fulfilled), and kill all the nonbelievers.”

How does this apply to Chuck Hagel?

It apples because we know that whoever will be Secretary of Defense during the next four years will undoubtedly need to deal with this issue. It is a necessary prerequisite of the job that whoever that candidate is, he or she needs to understand the urgency of the threat.

Let’s take a look at Senator Hagel’s record:

According to an editorial in the Washington Post—not a conservative publication, by any stretch of the imagination—Chuck Hagel repeatedly voted against Iranian sanctions, including sanctions against the terrorist Islamic revolutionary Guards Corps, (IRGC). Not only has Senator Hagel had a pattern of opposing sanctions when the vast majority of his colleagues were calling for them, but in a discussion held by the Council on Foreign Relations in 2005, he proposed that Iran should be made part of the regional talks on the future of Iraq.

Think about that: Chuck Hagel wants the United States, which has invested so many American lives and a vast amount of our treasure in Iraq, to allow the Islamic Republic of Iran—a nation whic, in its inception, declared war on the United States by seizing our embassy, and has since supplied IEDs that have killed American soldiers in Iraq—to be a party in the shaping of the Iraqi government.

Now, many people have proclaimed that Senator Hagel is a friend of Israel. However, the best test of friendship is: what does a friend do when his friend is down? In July of 2006, Iranian-backed Hezbollah crossed the border of southern Lebanon into Israel, kidnapping two Israeli soldiers, Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev. They then rained down more than 4,000 rockets on Northern Israel, specifically targeting Israeli citizens and population centers.

There was one Senator, and only one Senator, who stood up on the floor of the United States Senate and upbraided Israel for doing what, according to Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, any nation is entitled to do when its civilian population is attacked, remonstrating against “the systematic destruction of an American friend—the country and people of Lebanon.”

You guessed his name – Chuck Hagel.

Of course, in Chuck Hagel’s worldview, no regime, no terrorist organization, is beyond the pale, no matter how egregious its actions are.

In 2008, Mr. Hagel said we had to negotiate with the regime of Bashir al Assad of Syria, and in 2009, he sent a letter to the president saying that Israel must begin open negotiations with Hamas.

There is also a pattern that has emerged in Chuck Hagel’s record that I find chillingly reminiscent of a very ugly sentiment. Comments that contain within them statements about either the wealth or the power of Jews reek of classic antisemitic canards.

In a discussion with a JINSA (Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs) staff member, Marsha Halteman, when Senator Hagel was head of the USO, they discussed the cost of building up the port in Haifa, the one stable place within the tumultuous Middle East for American ships to dock.

Mr. Hagel’s goose-bump inducing quipL: “Let the Jews pay for it.”

Senator Hagel puts American Jews in a very untenable position. I would like to believe that I, according to the Constitution, have the same right to petition my elected officials as an Irish-American or an Italian-American, or any other American.
There are good reasons for American Jews to be involved in the democratic process. On February 2, 2012, the head of the IDF military intelligence, Aviv Kochavi said, “There are 200,000 missiles pointing at Israel in every direction.”

One would hope that if there were a besieged democratic ally anywhere in the world, say in Ireland, with that many missiles pointing at it from all directions, I would still want to educate members of Congress about that situation. To question my right as an American citizen to do this is bringing back ugly sentiments that have been carefully locked in the closet since the days before the Holocaust.

Last summer, my family and I returned to Eastern Europe. I found out that the person whom I was named after, whom I always thought perished in Auschwitz, never made it that far.  She was one of those who had been forced to strip naked and dig her own grave, later to be mowed down by the Nazis.

There are people in this world who would not hesitate to do the very same thing to my people today, as a nation, given the opportunity. These people also want to destroy the United States.

Our history has taught us that when our enemies speak, we had better heed what they say. Because our enemies mean business.

That is why nominating a person with a track record such as Mr. Hagel’s, so dismissive of the very real dangers in the world, sends such a very dangerous signal to those people.

Originally Printed on Breitbart

THE EMIRATES STRIKE BACK
Kyle Shideler

January 25 2013

Although largely unreported in the West (with a few exceptions),Arab language dailies and internet sites have been a buzz about multiple arrests conducted by the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E)’ security forces, targeting Muslim Brotherhood cells, which they claim are fomenting sedition.  

Ten Egyptians, described as engineers and doctors, who were long time residents of the Emirates and Brotherhood members were arrested. The U.A.E claims that the ten men represented the leadership cell of the Brotherhood’s activities in the Emirates. Officials say those arrested had acquired classified information and were engaged in training U.A.E residents in tactics to promote the overthrow of the regime.

Egyptian leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood have confirmed those arrested were Brothers but denied they were seeking to export the revolution from Egypt.

The U.A.E has been spearheading resistance to the Muslim Brotherhood since at least last year, when it arrested some 60 activists of the Brotherhood-linked Islah society. The group has been banned by the U.A.E, accusing them of forming a “military wing” and owing allegiance to foreign forces (namely the Egyptian leadership of the Brotherhood.)

The U.A.E also expelled Syrian activists with suspected ties to the Brotherhood, leading toa diplomatic confrontation, when Muslim Brotherhood Spiritual Guide and Qatari resident Yusuf Al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa against the move.

U.A.E sources have since blamed Qatar as being a primary financial sponsor of efforts to bolster the Brotherhood. Documents allegedly acquired by U.A.E investigators suggested that the U.A.E was a principle target of the Brotherhood; the Islamist group is seeking access to the Emirates oil funds, since Egypt is in grave financial straits.

U.A.E’s allies in this anti-Brotherhood counter-offensive are Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, both of whom have expressed deep concerns that the Brotherhood’s “Arab Spring” revolution will spread unrest to their own fiefdoms.  A Kuwait MP has also recently warned of the threat posed by Muslim Brotherhood “sleeper cells”.

The U.S. government continues to labor under the delusion that the Muslim Brotherhood “is an umbrella term for a variety of movements” that is “largely secular”.  

The Gulf regimes’ accounting of the organization as a shadowy group which organizes military wings and sleeper cells, that seeks access to classified information, and aspires to overthrow governments, is far more in keeping with what is known of the Brotherhood’smodus operandi.

While the aggressive actions of the Emirates have most likely put a crimp in the Brotherhoods’ plans to export their revolution, it certainly won’t be the last word. According to recent reports, members of the Egyptian government have conducted high-level meetings with Qassem Suleimani, head of the Iranian Al-Quds force, the branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Gorps (IRGC) responsible for organizing cells for conducting terror attacks and subversion abroad.

According to Al-Masry Al-Youm, Suleimani provided advice “on establishing [Egypt’s] own security and intelligence services independent from the army-controlled national intelligence services.” Additionally, Egypt’s interior minister Ahmed Gamal El-Din is said tohave been sacked for opposing the recent Iranian overtures. 

Nor are these the first meetings between the two groups. A previous meeting between the head of Egypt’s intelligence service and a senior official of the Iranian Ministry for Intelligence and Security (MOIS) took place in September of last year, but was overshadowed by the storming of the American Embassy in Cairo and the murder of U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi.

 While some analysts mistakenly put great stock in the supposed “Sunni-Shia” divide, the reality is, when it comes to sponsoring Islamic revolution, the Iranians are willing to work with almost anyone. Besides, the Al-Quds force has long been the primary financial sponsor of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian wing, known by most as Hamas.

Evidence of improving ties can also be seen through recent overtures from the Egyptian government towards Iranian proxy Hezbollah.

While the Brotherhood and the Iranians have been at odds over the fate of Iranian ally Bashar Assad, it’s unlikely that such a difference will be allowed to interfere with a shared desire to see the downfall of the Gulf monarchies.

So while the U.A.E and its allies will continue to crack down on the Brotherhood in order to avoid becoming the next Egypt, Libya, or Syria, expect the Brotherhood to double down on its efforts, using any means available to them, even if it means cooperating with the Iranians.

Positive News for Israel in the New Year
Adam Turner

January 18 2013

With the holidays behind us, and the elections, I do have some good news to report about Israel.

No doubt, this is shocking to you.

Only recently, the Palestinian Bureau of Statistics issued its usual press release about how, in 2020, if the current trends persist, the number of Palestinian Arabs will outnumber the number of Israeli Jews (but only if you include Gaza, land which virtually no Israelis are interested in recovering).  Of course, this headline is meant to scare Israelis, and the West especially, into restarting the “Palestinian Arab-Israeli Peace Process” by encouraging new pressure on Israel to make concessions to those noted “moderates” in the Palestinian Authority.  Not that this reset would be necessary, by the way, if the PA had not consistently refused to come back to the negotiating table since 2008 and not violated the prior peace process – the Oslo Accords – by getting the world community at the UN to recognize thenon-nation(s) of “Palestine.”

Unfortunately for the Israel haters, though, time is no longer on their side.  Consider these facts:

• The population of Israel is booming, in contrast to most Western nations, and even many countries in the Arab world.  Meanwhile, Palestinian statistics consistently overstate their actual numbers by 1 million.  I have already written about this here.  One new point though – the current 66% Jewish majority in the area of the pre-1967 Israel, Judea and Samaria could actually increase to an 80% majority in 2035, if Jewish immigration increases from the former USSR, France, Britain, Argentina and the US.  This is quite possible, in response to Israel’s positive economic indicators, the intensification of European anti-Semitism (largely because of growing Muslim populations), and the growth of Jewish-Zionist education.

• Israel’s economy is also booming.  Israel’s 2009-2012 economic growth of 14.7% leads the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries, ahead of Australia – 10.7%, Canada – 4.8%, US – 3.2%, Germany – 2.7%, France – 0.3%, Euro Bloc – 1.5% decline. Also, Israel’s unemployment rate edged down to 6.7% in November from 6.9% in October. Tourism numbers went up to an all-time high of 2.9 million tourists in 2012. Simultaneously, much of the civilized world is or seems about ready to sink into a recession.  Also, unlike the US and many other nations, Israel does not have crushing debt and entitlement burdens.  Meanwhile, few of the non-oil producing Arab nations are doing well economically.

• The “Arab Spring,” or more accurately, the “Arab Winter,” has demonstrated, pretty convincingly, that Israel is not the cause of all of the problems in the Middle East.  Even an Arab writer in the Arab News has acknowledged this fact.  It has even prompted the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt, whose leaders continue to spout disgusting anti-Semitism and eliminationist rhetoric, to refuse to stick their necks out for its “little terror brothers” in Hamas, especially when Egypt has so many non-Israel related problems.

• With the Syrian Assad regime in its death throes and Hezbollah worried about its position in Lebanon, Israel can focus on Iranian nukes without worrying about these Iranian allies.  And, by the way, the Iranian Regime, while still very dangerous, has its own economic and population problems that could hobble its drive to world power.

• Related to the above, although Syrian Sunni Islamists are leading the charge against Assad and could gain power in Syria, they have a major problem to face – at least 40% of the nation’s population is made up of Alawite, Christian, Kurdish, Druze, and other non-Arab or non-Sunni minorities.  Many of these minorities, including the Alawites, the Kurds, and the Druze are located in select areas of the country and have substantial amounts of weaponry, and in some cases, the protection of mountainous territory.  In reality, while the Sunni Islamists may lead the ouster of Assad, the likely forecast for Syria in general is for a continuing civil war, which should distract its rather disorganized participants from picking a fight with Israel.

• Related to the above, the Kurdish peoples, perhaps one of the more pro-Israeli Muslim groups in the Middle East, have established their own quasi-states in Iraq and now Syria, and have become a force to reckon with wherever they live.  They are a big threat to the Islamist government of Turkey, which is also facing its own economic problems and a decline in the birthrate of the native Turkish population.   The Turkish Kurds, in contrast, are still growing demographically.

• Israel has discovered a vast amount of natural gas – and oil as well – off shore, which should make it energy independent soon, and might even make it a net exporter of energy.  Beginning in 2009, discoveries were made in: 1) the Tamar field, with 8-9 trillion cubic feet of natural gas; 2) the Dalit field, with 500 billion cubic feet of natural gas; and 3) Leviathan, with 16 trillion cubic feet of natural gas. Some estimate that Leviathan alone could provide Israel with all the natural gas it would need for the next 100 years. Also, Israel may have shale oil reserves totaling 250 billion barrels.  Simultaneously, some of the oil producing Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia, may be running low of their own oil supplies for export.  Coupling these changes with the rising price of and demand for oil/gas, other energy discoveries in non-Arab/Muslim nations, and the advent of new technologies to extract energy supplies that have been developed in the West, a huge shift may occur in the field of energy, with Israel and the West gaining ground vis-à-vis the traditional Arab/Muslim OPEC Bloc.  This, in turn, could lead to a reevaluation by many other nations of their relations with Israel.  Money talks, as we all know.

• Continuing problems integrating its Muslim minorities into a secular society are prompting some Europeans to reevaluate their respective relations with the Arabs and the Israelis.  Remember the old saying – the enemy of my enemy is my friend?  This is indeed happening in Europe.  Look at the new “Right” that is springing up all over Europe and is, in many cases, shockingly, pro-Israel.  Geert Wilders is one prime example.

• The Palestinian leadership – in both the PA and Hamas – while being corrupt, undemocratic, and genocidal, is also just plain dumb.  For example, a bad actor should be able to, and willing to, tell a lie to advance one’s overall position. Thus, when dealing with the West, it would behoove the Palestinian leadership to talk nice and seem reasonable, while secretly planning to murder the Israelis (and the Jews).  Yet time after time, Palestinian leaders blurt out (see here) that they don’t want any sort of compromise with the Jewish state but want all the land, that the Jews have weak ties to the land, and that Palestinians (and other Arabs) must kill all of the Jews, including the women and children.  They can’t seem to control their emotions, even when doing so would help them achieve their purposes. Such vicious stupidity is a huge weakness.

In the coming year, Israel does have some big challenges facing it, most especially dealing with the threat of Iranian nukes from a genocidal and desperate – for economic and religious reasons – regime.   But, it also has a lot of positive factors coming into play that should help it weather the tide.

So, next time some opinionated anti-Zionist gives you a hard time about Israel, and your support of that nation’s desire to stay alive, I hope you quote some of the above listed positive factors to him.  And be sure to smile.  They really hate that.

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law. This column was written for the LP.

 

Egypt's Stillborn Democracy
Sarah Stern

January 11 2013

While all eyes in Washington have been directed as to whether or not we will be going off the "fiscal cliff", there is a civilizational cliff that much of the Muslim and Arab world are rapidly plunging across. Much of the West had thought we had been providing them with a parachute, cut out of the soft, gentle fabric, imported from America and England, of respect for human rights, the little "give" provided by tolerance, and a foundation of democratic institutions upon which to fall.

 

Instead, we are looking at a Middle East that is descending in an inchoate free fall back down onto the familiar ground of religious fundamentalism, primordial, primitive tribal society, and internecine warfare which that region of the world is so accustomed to.

 

Take Egypt, for example. The over 50 billion dollars in U.S. aid that we have given the Egyptians in the 34 years since they had signed the Camp David Treaty with Israel had deceptively assured many of us that we would have our hand on the parachute strings to help direct the trajectory of the fall. Instead we have just provided them with the reassurance that our hard earned tax payers dollars will forever provide a soft cushion on which to land, irrespective of how they value human rights and democracy, or treat America and her one sole democratic ally in the Middle East, the state of Israel.

 

While many of us were enjoying our winter holidays, Egyptians went to the polls and voted for a Shariah based, Islamist constitution, which passed by 63.8 per cent. Egypt, the largest populated country in the Arab world with a population of 82.5 million people, has been left badly polarized. Coptic Christians, seculars, liberals, and leftists have been rendered powerless as they have watched the march of Islamist ascendency and the slow steady erosion of the liberties.

 

Morsi’s critics have complained that this constitution does not represent all Egyptians, and that it allows imams to interfere in legislation, while it offers little or no protection to women and minorities.

 

This is just one of many freedoms that the Egyptians have been watching erode. The secular tyranny of Hosni Mubarak has simply been replaced by the Islamist tyranny of Mohammad Morsi.

 

As soon as Mohammad Morsi came into power, he took over the media, the fourth estate, sacking the secular communications director and replacing him with a Muslim Brotherhood member. He then proceeded to purge scores of newspaper publishers and editors.

 

In August, when Islamists attacked Egyptian soldiers in the Sinai—which as some have taken as a pretense to force Egypt into a confrontation with Israel— Morsi used this instance as a smokescreen to replace Mohamad Hussein Tantawi, the secular head of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, (SCAF), and Army Chief of Staff Sami Enan, to replace them with Muslim Brothergood member, Abdal Kahlil Fatah a- Sisi. (So much for the popular argument in Washington that we have to support the Egyptian military because it is the "most western of institutions").

 

When Morsi sacked Tantawi and Enan, he used that occasion to grab control of all the legislative authorities, promising that this was only going to be until a new, draft constitution could be voted upon. This constitution, which was voted upon on December 25th, makes Islamist clerics the arbiters of human rights and sets up Saudi style "religious police".

 

The constitution allows for Muslim clerics to segregate the sexes, much as they do in Saudi Arabia, and to impose strict Islamic codes of dress and Sharia punishment for theft, (amputation of the hand), and for adultery, (the stoning or whipping to death of women).

 

As Sheik Yasser Borhami, an ultraconservative Egyptian cleric, gleefully boasted, "This constitution has more constraints on rights than ever existed before in any Egyptian constitution. This will not be a constitution that allows what God forbids, or forbid what God allows."

 

Borhani also added that by using the political system of "democracy and the Shura, (Islamic religious consultation), the constitution prevents what he refers to as an "American or European democracy", that "gives the power of legislation to people and not to God."

 

Although the fig leaf of democracy should have totally been dropped by now, there are still many in Washington who fervently cling to the belief that because Mohammad Morsi came in through a process of democratic elections, this "Arab Spring" has summoned the birth of democracy in the Arab world.

 

Just as the Nazis came into power claiming to clean up the corruption of the Weimar Republic, and Hamas came into power in Gaza claiming to clean up the corruption of Fatah, Mohammad Morsi came into power cleaning up the corruption of Hosni Mubarak.

 

Democracy in the Arab world has been stillborn. If you have any doubt about that, just ask the Coptic Christians and the scores of other people who have been detained without trial, tortured and murdered for protesting the new constitution in Egypt.

Did Spain and Beligum Overreact to Imran Firasat's New 'Anti-Islam' Film ?: It might just get him killed
Adam Turner

January 04 2013
In September of 2012, supposedly because of an obscure “anti-Islam” film named “Innocence of Muslims,” the Islamic world erupted with violent protests towards Westerners for exercising their right to free speech. Since then, Western government’s have shown extreme sensitivity to free speech in the West regarding Islam. Just this December, we saw another person targeted by European nations for his critical speech about Islam.

The target this time is a man named Imran Firasat, who is a former Muslim from Pakistan who is now a convert to Christianity and resides in Spain. Mr. Firasat is a well-known critic of his former religion, and runs a website World without Islam (Mundo sin Islam).  He, in coordination with American Pastor Terry Jones – who seems to be establishing a brand name for himself as a determined but unrefined speech opponent of the religion of Islam – has produced a new movie about the Muslim prophet Muhammad, an hour long cartoon film called “The Innocent Prophet: The Life of Mohammed from a Different Point of View.”  Needless to say, this film does not portray Muhammad in a positive light, basically arguing that Muhammad conspired with his friends to create his own religion to give him ultimate power over Muslims and the World.

The Belgian government was the first European state to overreact to the new film. Soon after Mr. Firasat told the Belgian newspaper De Morgen that he decided to make it, ironically because hethought the Islamist rioting had indeed been caused by “Innocence of Muslims” and that the Western world needed to respond with more free speech about Islam, the Belgium government upped its national security threat level from two to three (meaning “severe”) out of a maximum of four.  ­In response to Belgium’s move, Firasat initially said he might postpone the release of the film so it could be previewed by Belgian authorities to ensure “there is nothing in this movie which doesn’t fall under the right of freedom of expression and that my movie will not cause any kind of loss to humanity.”

Simultaneously, Spain also moved against Mr. Firasat, taking the more serious step of going after him personally for his speech.  They initiated two forms of lawfare against him: 1) attacking him on his Spanish residency grounds; and 2) threatening him with prosecution for violating Spanish hate speech codes.  The former, their threat to remove him from Spain after seven years, is particularly dangerous for Mr. Firasat.  If he loses his residency, he could be deported to Pakistan, which would expose him to a blasphemy prosecution and a death penalty sentence for his speech against Islam. (And even if the Pakistani government doesn’t actually sentence Firasat to death for his blasphemy, Pakistani mobs are known to take blasphemers out of prison and personally kill them.)

The Spanish government is justifying their action to revoke his asylum status on the grounds that he is “threatening national security with the production of this video.”  For the latter form of lawfare, the hate speech prosecution, the Spanish government has brought Mr. Firasat into court to face a charge of violating 510 of the Spanish Penal Code, a crime that punishes incitation to hatred and violence for racial, ideological or religious reasons. In combination, this double dose of Spanish lawfare against Imran Firasat was successful – after two hours before a judge in Madrid, he agreed not to distribute the “offensive” video.  However, the Spanish government won the battle but lost the war, as Pastor Jones then released the film anyway.

Imran Firasat was somewhat surprised by the aggressive Spanish efforts against him. In an interview, he pointed out that “I was granted asylum because of my criticisms of Islam. I have formally asked the Spanish government for the prohibition of Koran in Spain. I have given thousands of interviews to radio and TV channels. I wrote articles in newspapers.”  In other words, Spain knew what they were getting from Imran Firasat when they allowed him to seek asylum there seven years ago, so why would they be upset now?  Also, he ironically noted the fact that he has received far more threats from the Spanish government than from angry Muslims.

Perhaps most disturbing, in another interview, Imran Firasat and his interviewer just blithelyassumed that the United States could, if it so chose, use its judicial system to go after Firasat and Terry Jones. As of right now, of course, this is simply not true, thanks to the First Amendment.  But, as we know, the U.S. has taken legal action against the maker of the “Innocence of Muslims” film, using his probation violations as a way to punish him, presumably for his speech. And considering that fact, and the U.S.’s continuing participation in the Istanbul Process, and President Obama’s UN Speech declaring that “(t)he future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,” Mr. Firasat and his interviewer may be forgiven for their mistaken assumption.

One day soon, the U.S. may join European nations as a place legally hostile towards free speech that antagonizes Islamists.  That day may very well be sooner rather than later.

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law. This column was written for the LP.

8 Facts to Remember About The Israeli-Palestinian Arab Crisis
Adam Turner

December 21 2012

 

Perhaps one of the most intensely debated issues these days is the “Israeli-(Palestinian) Arab Conflict.”  Everyone has an opinion on which party is more at fault here, and how the crisis should be “solved” by the parties and the world community.  However, I often find that ordinary people – and even many partisans on both sides – are surprisingly misinformed about some of the facts of this conflict.  This misinformation is a barrier towards developing a true solution to the problem.  Here is my list of the top eight facts that need to be known about this “Conflict,” in no particular order:

 

     
  1.  Palestinian Leaders are Undemocratic Terrorists; the Israeli leaders are not:  There is a noted and obvious contrast in the quality of the two leaderships.   The Palestinian leadership – both the PLO controlled Palestinian Authority and Hamas – are 1) terrorists; 2) undemocratic; 3) tyrannical; and 4) anti-American.  The former “President” of the PA, Yasser Arafat was probably the most recognized terrorist in the world.  Mahmoud Abbas was his deputy at the PLO; hence, he too was a terrorist.  Abbas also helped fund and organize terror attacks, including the Munich Olympic massacre.  He has admitted to this very recently.  All members of Hamas, including its “elected leaders” are terrorists according to U.S. law.  Palestinian terrorists from both groups have plenty of American blood on their hands, and aspire to kill even more.  Neither the West Bank, nor the Gaza Strip, has had regular elections.  Abbas was supposed to leave office 3 years ago; Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas was dismissed in 2007 by Abbas but continues to call himself Prime Minister.   Neither the PA nor Hamas respect religious freedomfreedom of speech, and/or human rights in general.  Abbas has shown his anti-American stripes time after time, including when he rejected both of President Obama’s recent requests — to avoid a United Nations bid for Palestinian Statehood and to return to the negotiating table.  This can’t be too surprising, since he must appeal to people who aresympathetic to al-Qaeda.  Certainly, his compatriot from Hamas is.  In the meantime, the Israeli leadership is none of these things.  Israeli leaders are elected in a democratic fashion by all Israeli citizens, are almost uniformly pro-America, and contrary to overheated claims by anti-Semites and anti-Zionists, are not terrorists.
  2.  
  3. Israeli “Settlements” are not a major impediment to “peacemaking”.    In 1964, before the 1967 war, before there was any such thing as “The West Bank”, the Palestinian Liberation Organization was founded.  The settlements didn’t really exist until the late 70’s, yet Arab and Palestinian Arab leaders still refused to make peace during that era, andafter the70’s, the Arabs and Palestinian Arabs negotiated with Israel even while settlement expansion was occurring.  Further, in 2000, 2001, and 2008, Israeli Prime Ministers offered to dismantle the settlements for peace but were rejected wholesale by the Palestinian leadership. The Israelis have put their money where their mouth was – in 2005, they uprooted settlers in the Gaza Strip and abandoned it to the governance of the Palestinians.None of this has stopped the excessive Western focus on these settlements.  Also not often noted are the facts that theland in question represents only a miniscule 3% of the territory in the West Bank, and that some of the so-called “settlements” are actually within the city limits of Jerusalem, which both Israelis and the U.S. Congress acknowledge as Israel’s capital.
  4.  
  5.  The supposed demographic Palestinian Arab time bomb is no longer in effect.   This has been well-documented by David Goldman, an expert demographer, whose book “How Civilizations Die (and Why Islam is Dying Too)” shows that the birthrate for most Arab/Muslim populations are heavily and steadily decreasing while the birthrate of Israeli Jews, including secular Jews, is consistently increasing.  The current Palestinian and Israeli birthrates are both hovering around 3.0 children per family.  These facts have also been confirmed by Dr. Nicholas Eberstadt,former Israeli Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, and Apoorva Shah.  In addition, it is very probable that the current number of Palestinian Arabs in the West Bank is inflated.   The CIA World Factbook claims that there are over 2.15 million Palestinian Arabs in the disputed territories of the West Bank.  The Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics claims 2.5 million Arabs inhabit the West Bank.  However, these numbers are suspect, as in contrast with internationally accepted demographic standards, the PA counts some 400,000 overseas residents, and also double counts some 300,000 Israeli card-bearing Jerusalem Arabs as Palestinians.  The true number of Palestinian Arabs may be 1.65 million.   Coupled with the Israeli Arabs, the total Arab population is only around 3.2 million, versus 6.1 million Jews (and 320,000 Israelis who are not identified as Jewish but are mostly Russians with Jewish ancestry).
  6.  
  7. The Palestinian leaders say DIFFERENT and CONTRADICTORY things about peace in English and Arabic.  From the mainstream media, viewers are often bombarded with articles and news reports where well-spoken Palestinian Arab leaders discuss how eager they are to talk to Israelis and implement a true and lasting peace.  However, that is not always what these leaders say to their own people, in Arabic, a language that most Westerners have little to no knowledge of.  In English, Mahmoud Abbas and his top officials have said that they are ready to make “sacrifices” for the sake of peace.  At the same time, in Arabic, they have been caught telling their people that they: would never make “even one concession” to Israel during the peace talks; will never recognize Israel as a Jewish state; will never relinquish the right of return of millions of refugees to Israel; and will never make any compromises on Jerusalem.  Luckily, there are two websites that a person with an interest in what happens in Israel can visit to find out what Palestinian leaders actually say to their own people – see http://www.palwatch.org/ andhttp://www.memri.org/ .   Note that this kind of peace talk hypocrisy does not occur in Israel.
  8.  
  9. Palestinian media and society is chock full of expressions of hate towards Jews – and not just Israelis – made by both ordinary Palestinians and their leadership.   Here is the Palestinian Mufti, the top Muslim religious leader, calling for the killing of Jews.  Here is the official Palestinian Authority information website, which is directly affiliated with Abbas, publishing a copy of the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” a classic anti-Semitic Russian forgery.  Here is a man in a rabbit suit preaching hatred on Palestinian children’s television by telling young Muslims to “kill and eat Jews.”   Here is a report on the textbooks used to educate Palestinian children who live in refugee camps with lessons of intolerance and hatred toward Jews and Israel.  Andhere are videotaped diatribes by Palestinian children against Israel and Jews, showing the atrocious results of their miseducation.  BTW, Palestinians also hateChristians almost as much.  Meanwhile, the Israeli media shows a consistent effort to humanize Arab foes and a general desire for coexistence.
  10.  
  11. The Palestinian leadership has never met a legitimate peace plan it ever liked.  The Palestinian leadership has turned down genuine peace offers at least five times, the last two (or three) times in 2000, 2001, and 2008, when Israeli governments offered them virtually all they claimed to want.  All three of those times, Israel was governed by left-wing alliances that were praised by the Western world for their supposed peace loving ways, and all three of them were opposed by the supposed anti-peace alliance led by Benjamin Netanyahu.  Even worse, the Palestinians never bothered to propose a counter offer to any of these plans.  Instead, they just walked away to incite violence.  Most recently, the Palestinians did it again, by initiating the UN move to change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip outside of the permanent status negotiations Oslo Accord, which means they violated the 1993 Oslo Accords.
  12.  
  13. Gaza is no longer under any Israeli “occupation.” Israel completely and utterly gave up the Gaza to the Palestinians in 2005, in a good faith gesture, only to get absolutely no peace in return.  Instead, the territory was eventually grabbed by the bloody terrorists of Hamas, who regularly shell Israeli citizens from Gaza.  This shelling is a violation of international law.  For that matter, the supposed blockade of Gaza – caused by Hamas terrorism – is not a real blockade – it does not prevent food and necessary supplies from reaching Gazans.
  14.  
  15. Israel is not an apartheid regime.  First of all, there is no “race” involved here.  The Jewish population includes a number of different ethnic communities, which include Jews of European Jews, Jews of Arab or Spanish descent, who are basically ethnically indistinguishable from Palestinian Arabs, and even black Jews (who may be a separate “race” but are not the population supposedly suffering under apartheid).  Thus, calling Israel an “apartheid nation” shows a dismal lack of basic understanding of the English language.  Second, even assuming that the Palestinians were a separate race – and isn’t that a racist concept, btw – Israel is not an apartheid state in the mold of South Africa.  That state was extraordinarily repressive, regulating every detail of the lives of its subjects – 90 percent of whom were non-white – on the basis of their skin color.  Israel is a democracy which encourages vibrant debate, which has a flourishing free press and which shares with other liberal democracies a core value: the equality of all its citizens before the law.  This includes the 1.5 million Palestinian Arabs who are Israeli citizens within Israel proper.  They are not barred from voting or serving in any office, including Prime Minister.  Now, there are distinctions made between Israeli citizens and the other 1.6 million Palestinian Arabs who are not citizens of Israel, but that does not create an apartheid state.  Especially since Israel has legitimate security needs, and many non-citizen Palestinians are strongly and violently opposed to Israel’s continued existence.
  16.  

 

So before someone makes a grossly incorrect allegation about this conflict, I encourage you to check your facts first.  If you find that you are relying on one of the above untruths, may I humbly suggest that you rethink your entire argument.  If you don’t, you can expect to be called to account for your faulty contention.

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.

Mishandling Morsi
Adam Turner

December 14 2012

Only a week after being praised by the Obama Administration for his supposed helpfulness in ending the fighting in Gaza between Palestinian Hamas terrorists and Israel, Muslim Brotherhood (MB) Member and Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi apparently decided to cash in his praise “chips” early.  Most prominently, President Morsi made himself immune from the Egyptian Supreme Constitutional Court’s oversight, thereby essentially assuming dictatorial powers over his nation.  Less prominently, one of his appointed judges convicted eight persons, including seven Americans, for their “blasphemy” towards Islam.  Included in this group were well-known Florida Pastor Terry Jones, who has burned several Korans in the United States, and Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, one of the people behind the controversial American film “Innocence of Muslims.”  So far, the Obama Administration has lodged no complaints (and here) with the Egyptian regime over either action.

It should be shocking to the Obama Administration, and Americans, that a foreign nation can sentence our citizens to death for the “crime” of free speech.  Free speech, and the First Amendment, is supposed to be sacrosanct in the US.  Our Founding Fathers were certainly very supportive of it.  President George Washington said, “If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.”  Benjamin Franklin understood that, “(i)n those wretched countries where a man cannot call his tongue his own, he can scarce call anything his own.  Whoever would overthrow the liberty of a nation must begin by subduing the freeness of speech.”  And prominent Supreme Court Justices have continued to praise free speech over the years.  Justice William O. Douglas stated, “Restriction of free thought and free speech is the most dangerous of all subversions.  It is the one un-American act that could most easily defeat us.”  Justice Louis Brandeis believed, “Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly.  Men feared witches and burned women.  It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fear.”

Based on the strong historical support for freedom of speech evidence by these quotes, you could be forgiven for thinking that any attempts by foreigners to infringe upon American speech in our own country would prompt our nation to do something about it.  But, apparently, we are living in new times.  President Obama has already said at the UN that “(t)he future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.” Perhaps he believes that a little thing like the First Amendment in the US Constitution should not be allowed to get in the way.

In fact, instead of objecting to this kind of Egyptian bad behavior, the US continues to reward it.  The American foreign aid money keeps flowing to Egypt.  Roughly $1.5 billion a year, most of it military aid.  Over $50 billion total since 1979.  There are new proposals by President Obama for $1billion in debt relief for Egypt.  And through international organizations like the IMF, even more American aid is coming.

Technically, much of this aid is conditioned on good behavior by the Egyptian regime, but the dirty little secret is that the Obama Administration always waives these restrictions when they aren’t met by President Morsi.  And no bad behavior stops them.  When President Morsi first won his term, he immediately demanded the release of convicted terrorist Omar Abdel-Rahman, i.e., the “Blind Sheikh,” the spiritual and terrorist leader for the first Islamist attack against the World Trade Center that killed six U.S. citizens.  Silence from the Obama Administration.  Morsi allowed Islamist protestors to overrun the US Embassy in Cairo – sovereign US territory – and raise the black flag of the Islamists.  President Obama did nothing.  The Morsi regime continues to suppress protests by ordinary Egyptians, most horrifically by paying gangs to go out and rape women and beat men who are demonstrating in opposition to Morsi’s new judicial immunity and new dictatorship.  No objections for the US.  The MB-led Egypt is rushing to institute Sharia law, a barbaric code of law which requires that raped women be put to death for adultery.  No complaints came from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.  Morsi’s Administration has presided over a regime that slaughters and discriminates against Egyptian Copts.  The crickets are chirping in the US government.  Figures in the MB call for another genocide against Jews.  “Never mind,” the Administration says, rather than “never again.”

“Don’t worry,” the foreign policy experts assure us, countless times, “US money provides us with great influence over the new Egyptian rulers.”  The MB is a “moderate, secular organization.” “If we keep funding them, we will get a seat at the table.”

Of course, President Obama only sits silently at that table.  This isn’t too surprising, since we already know from his UN speech that he doesn’t always value speech.  So what good is that seat anyway?

Read Article - http://frontpagemag.com/2012/adam-turner/mishandling-morsi/

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.  This column was originally written for the LP and Frontpage Magazine.

So is There a Palestinian State?
Dr. Emmanuel Navon

December 05 2012

After the vote of the UN General Assembly on 29 November 2012, Abbas claimed that an independent Palestinian state now exists. It doesn’t. So what did that vote accomplish?

The author heads the Political Science and Communications Department at the Jerusalem Orthodox College, and teaches International Relations at Tel-Aviv University and at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya.

Since the signature of the Oslo Agreements, the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) has often threatened to unilaterally declare statehood, even though it did just that in 1988 in Algiers. Abbas himself never formerly declared independence. In his speech at the UN General Assembly in September 2011, he clarified that a Palestinian state had already been declared by Arafat in Algiers in 1988.

After the vote of the UN General Assembly on 29 November 2012, Abbas claimed that an independent Palestinian state now exists. It doesn’t.

For a start, General Assembly resolutions are mere recommendations. Resolution 181 recommended the partition of the British Mandate but it did not establish the State of Israel. Likewise, last week’s resolution did not establish a State of Palestine. The General Assembly does not and cannot establish states.

According to international law, an entity must meet four criteria in order to claim statehood: 1. It must exercise effective and independent governmental control; 2. It must possess a defined territory over which it exercises such control; 3. It must have the capacity to freely engage in foreign relations; 4. It must have effective and independent control over a permanent population.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) meets none of the above criteria.

1. Independent Government Control.

Under the Declaration of Principles (“DOP”) on Interim Self-Government Arrangements, signed between Israel and the PLO on September 13, 1993, the parties agreed that the PA would only have limited powers. The PA does not possess the independent, effective and sovereign governmental control that is required to satisfy the definition of statehood. It has no jurisdiction over significant areas of responsibility which are essential to an effective and independent government, such as control over borders –an area of responsibility which was not transferred to the Palestinian Authority, and which continues to be exercised exclusively by Israel.

Even in Area A, where more extensive powers and responsibilities have been transferred, the PA does not exercise the powers of a sovereign government. The absence of the requisite degree of control is all the more evident in Areas B and C, where the PA’s jurisdiction is of a more limited nature and Israel continues to exercise significant authority.

Finally, there isn’t one Palestinian government but two: A Hamas government in Gaza, and a Fatah government in Ramallah. The last election in the PA was in 2006. It was won by Hamas, and Abbas is hardly representative of a population that hasn’t been allowed to vote for seven years.

2. Defined Territory.

The lack of legitimate title over territory has in the past been the basis for denying recognition to such entities as Manchukuo and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. The 1988 PLO “Declaration of Independence” did not specify the borders of the “State of Palestine.”

There never existed such as state in the past, and therefore the PA cannot claim any legal title over the “West Bank”, as if this territory had been under the control of a Palestinian state in the past (it was conquered and annexed by Jordan in 1949 and remained under the Hashemite Kingdom’s control until 1967). By contrast, there is a recorded history of Jewish national sovereignty and presence.

Israel’s legal rights stem from the Treaty of Sèvres (1920) and from the League of Nations Mandate (1922). The PLO disputes the legality of both documents. But if it was illegal for the League of Nations to recognize the Jews’ national and historical rights over their original country, then all the nation-states that emerged from the dismembering of the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian empires are illegal as well (such as Austria and Lebanon for instance).

The League of Nations did not grant national rights to some “Palestinian people” because no such people had ever been heard of at the time, and because it had never been recorded in the annals of History. Indeed, the United Nations Special Commission on Palestine (UNSCOP) dismissed Arab claim that the League of Nations Mandate was illegal. The Report says that the Arabs “have not been in possession of it [Palestine Mandate territory] as a sovereign nation,” and that there were “no grounds for questioning the validity of the Mandate for the reason advanced by the Arab states.”

The territory claimed by the PA is not defined. It is fragmented and disputed, and is not based on any past or legal sovereignty.

3. Foreign Relations.

The DOP specifies that the PA does not have powers and responsibilities in the sphere of foreign relations. True, the PA has been conducting foreign relations in practice, but this has been done in violation of the DOP.

4. Permanent Population.

The PA has no control over the population of Gaza, which is run by Hamas. Its control over the population in Areas A and B is partial. And as the U.S. Court of Appeals has held, where there are doubts as to the territorial scope of a putative state, its claim to a permanent population is in doubt.

Those countries who voted at the UN General Assembly in favor of recognizing the PA as a state ignored the most basic rules of international law. Why the EU is keen to lecture on legality, it breached international law by recognizing as a state an entity that doesn’t meet the criteria of statehood. Worse, the EU ignored its own standards and requirements on statehood.

The EU conditioned in the past the recognition of the former republics of Yugoslavia and of the Soviet Union not only on the traditional criteria of statehood, but also on other requirements, such as a commitment to abide by international law, the proof of being a viable entity. The EU did not make such demand with regard to the PA.

The EU let the PA get away with breaching the Oslo Agreements. The DOP states clearly (Art. XXXI [7]) that “Neither side shall initiate or take any step that will change the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip pending the outcome of the permanent status negotiations.” Declaring the “West Bank” and Gaza a state clearly changes, or aspires to change, the status of those territories.

As for the PA’s claim that such unilateral move (and breach of the DOP) is inevitable in light of the failure to reach an agreement with Israel, it is simply remindful of this well-known anecdote: a man murders his parents, is prosecuted in court, and asks the judge for mercy because he’s an orphan. The PA was unwilling to reciprocate Israel’s compromises and concessions at Camp David (July 2000), at Taba (December 2000), and during the Annapolis negotiations (2008).

The PA’s claim that there is no self-determination without statehood is plainly wrong. In international law, self-determination does not necessarily mean statehood. The Yugoslavia Arbitration Commission, for instance, determined that the self-determination right of Serbians in Bosnia and Croatia should amount to a minority protection but not to statehood. The unilateral declaration of statehood by the Turkish minority of Northern Cyprus was rejected by the international community, which claimed at the time Turkish Cypriots could enjoy self-determination without statehood.

Moreover, the principle of self-determination cannot be applied in an absolute or one-sided way. In international law, the exercise of self-determination must take other rights into account. The PA’s statehood bid denies the rights of the Jews for three reasons:

a) The PA continues to incite its population against Israel and to teach its children that the ultimate goal is the elimination of Israel;

b) Mahmoud Abbas has declared more than once that the Palestinian state will not tolerate the presence of a single Jew in its midst (and therefore that Jews will be denied access to their holy sites such as Hevron and the Tomb of Rachel), if part of that state;

c) By continuing to insist on implementing the ill-named “right of return” to Israel proper, Abbas is denying the Jews their right to self-determination by demanding that they become a minority in their own country.

The General Assembly vote on 29 November 2012 did not establish a “Palestinian state.” It did confirm, though, that the “peace process” is a sham and that there is no point negotiating with the PLO what it will eventually obtain at the UN.

THE ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY TRAJECTORY: TARGET JORDAN
Kyle Shideler

November 29 2012

The failure of Western observers to correctly assess the so-called “Arab Spring” has come in part from the Western preoccupation with the nation-state model. The view in the West is that the Tunisian revolution took place principally due to factors affecting the Tunisians, and the Egyptian revolution due to factors affecting the Egyptians, the Syrian revolt due to factors affecting the Syrians, and so on. This view is not shared by the Islamist factions who in every case have established themselves as the beneficiaries of what is, in fact, a single revolution. Despite the desire by many, particularly in the Western media and among the policy elite, to dissect the triumphant force of Islamism into a complicated mixture of “Al-Qaeda”, “Al-Qaeda-linked”, “Salafists” (purportedly not Al-Qaeda-linked), “Muslim Brotherhood (each allegedly characterized by their national party organizations)”, and  “Non-Muslim Brotherhood moderate Islamists” (such as Tunisia’s Ennahada party), the reality is that all of these allegedly “disparate “organizations march to the beat of the same ideological drum. They analyze the correlation of forces and interpret world events in precisely the same manner, guided by the same overarching belief system, on the basis of Sharia law.

Even to the extent they debate among themselves, they do so only within the confines of their shared system. They may debate which strategic “milestone” – taken from the late Muslim Brotherhood thinker Sayyid Qutb’s seminal work “Milestones” – they have reached in their effort, but it is a shared effort.

An example of this cooperation can be seen in the call by the Egyptian President and Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi for the release of Al-Gama’a al-Islamiyya leader Omar Abdel Rahman.  Rahman, also known as the “Blind Sheikh, is a native of Egypt who moved to the U.S. and was imprisoned there for his leadership in an Al Qaeda-linked bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993. At the same time the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood was approaching the Obama Administration about Rahman’s release, in post-Gaddafi Libya a new Al-Qaeda linked group, named the “Imprisoned Omar Abdel Rahman Brigades”, was making a name for itself among the Islamist militias in that nation.  On 9/11/12, in Libya, this group’s fighters may have participated in the attack on the U.S. diplomatic building in Benghazi that killed our Ambassador and three others. Almost simultaneously, on 9/11/12, in Egypt, protestors stormed the American Embassy and raised the black flag of Jihad popularized by Al Qaeda during a protest, not over an alleged movie, but insupport of freeing the “Blind Sheikh.”

Where we see the Muslim Brotherhood activity aligning with Al Qaeda-linked activity, we can be sure that the target of their attentions represents a genuine strategic goal for the forces of Islamism. Using this method, we can predict that the state next targeted for Islamist takeover is Jordan.

In recent months, King Abdullah of Jordan has faced an increasingly intransigent opposition, led by the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political party, the Islamic Action Front (I.A.F.). Abdullah’s response has been wish-washy at best, alternating between attempts a crackdown, such as proposed legal changes which would ban the Brotherhood party, to efforts at appeasement. This has been combined with an increasing unwillingness among the King’s traditional power base, the Jordanian tribes, to go along with his policies.

For example, there was the decision by the Obeidat tribe to disown one of its own members and instead stand with the I.A.F. against the King’s decision to appoint Walid Obeidat as envoy to Israel.  Jordan’s relationship with its Jewish neighbor, with whom it has been at peace since 1994, has come under great pressure recently by Islamist forces. Muslim Brotherhood leader Yusuf Al-Qaradawi has issued a fatwa against any Muslim traveling to Jerusalem while it remains in Israeli hands, specifically stating that it is forbidden because it “normalizes relations” with Israel. This is clearly a snub of Jordanian policy.  He also made a statement targeting Jordanian stewardship of the Al-Aqsa mosque. Such declarations, while seemingly insignificant, begin to build the juridical case under sharia for opposing the Jordanian monarchy, and carry significant weight when issued by the spiritual leader of the global Muslim Brotherhood.

This increased Islamist pressure sets the backdrop for an increase in violent jihad activity in Jordan as well. This has primarily been described as “spillover” from the raging Syrian civil war. In the most recent Al Qaeda plot to be thwarted, 11 Jordanians were arrested for planning to attack multiple targets throughout the country. Most reporting focused on their proposed strikes against the U.S. Embassy and shopping malls. But the strike was designed, according to the Washington Post’s sources to “destabilize Jordan’s pro-Western government with massive blows against government institutions and tourism-dependent economy.”

And contrary to the expectations of those who claimed the Al Qaeda attack would act as a “gift” to King Abdullah, permitting a security crackdown on Islamist militants, Abdullah actually caved to the Islamists.  The King responded by releasing six Al Qaeda terrorists, including the man responsible for assassinating a U.S. official. Presumably, Abdullah is unsure that a “mailed fist” policy would be supported by his Western allies, based on the example of President Obama’s 2011 abandonment of Hosni Mubarak.

If we accept that Jordan is indeed the next target on the Islamist chopping block, it is worth asking why, and who’s next?

Jordan makes an excellent subsequent target for several reasons. One, of course, is its location next to Syria, which is the current primary target of the Islamists.   Additionally, if the Islamists control both Syria and Jordan they will have successfully surrounded one of their principle enemies (Israel), and they will have successfully toppled both of the Arab governments who maintain peace treaties with the Jewish State (the other government being Egypt, which is now Muslim Brotherhood-controlled).

Most importantly, Islamist control over Jordan can serve as a gateway into the Gulf States and specifically to the real prize, Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia is the only Arab Muslim state with the financial wherewithal to finance the growing Islamist revolution. Egypt, home of the Muslim Brotherhood and their first successful conquest, is bankrupt, and few of the other countries that have fallen (or might be expected to fall) are able to pick up the financial slack. Only the Saudi Kingdom can.

Jordan remains just on the edge of The Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.). It has been proposed for membership in the economic and security union led by the Saudis, but not yet formally inducted. Indeed the purpose of the proposed membership is, in part, the effort to enhance security, particularly against revolt, a role the GCC is taking increasingly serious in the past two years.

Gulf States Kuwait and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) are also under pressure, with Kuwaitbanning protests (without success), and the U.A.E arresting and stripping citizenship from Islamist activists. Both of those states might have some expectation of security assistance from the Saudi-led economic and security union, the Gulf Cooperation Council (G.C.C.), if open revolts seem likely to topple their monarchies.  This would be comparable to the Saudi-led intervention in the Gulf State of Bahrain. Speaking before a delegation of Saudi security officers and G.C.C. officials on the occasion of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha, Saudi King Abdullah warned:

 

We are surrounded by seditions which can only be deterred by depending on Allah Almighty and standing in the face of whoever contemplate tampering with the security, unity and sovereignty of our country. Therefore, we should shoulder our responsibility.

 

Sedition is surrounding us from all sides, there is nothing to protect us from this except to stand firm, with total reliance on Allah, against anyone who contemplates tampering with the security, unity and sovereignty of our country.

The repeated references to “sedition” make clear Saudi King Abdullah is focused here on the threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamist allies, and not on the threat posed by the Shiite Iran. That he addressed this to both his own security forces and to representatives of the G.C.C. suggests that the G.C.C .will be the primary vehicle for the Saudi’s efforts to restrain the growing revolutionary Islamic fervor. This makes Jordan an increasingly attractive target by the Brotherhood (and Al Qaeda), since it would allow them to “pick off” a future G.C.C .member, and raise the specter of Saudi inability to respond effectively. In turn, this would jeopardize the sense of security the G.C.C. alliance may provide to its other smaller members, and put additional pressure on Kuwait, the U.A.E., and ultimately, Saudi Arabia itself.

All eyes should be on Jordan. Will it prove the high water mark of the Islamist so-called Arab Spring, or will it be the beginning of the end for the traditional Sunni monarchies?

Time will tell.

Targeted Killings, Good for the United States, Good for Israel
Sarah Stern

November 15 2012

On November 14th, Israeli President Shimon Peres visited a school the town of Sderot in southern Israel. Sderot is the closest border town to Hamas controlled Gaza and has sustained over 120 rocket attacks in just the prior four days.

“We were born as ‘the code red children’”, said Chen Malkiel. “Code Red “is the name of the siren that blasts giving residents no longer than 15 seconds to run to shelter.”We are children who live in fear and anxiety that at any moment we will hear the code red siren, have to leave our games, our friends and enter the safe rooms”, continued Malkiel.

There have been one million people, extending from Ashdod to Sderot who have been receiving a steady barrage of rocket attacks and have fifteen seconds to run for their very lives.  Israel has endured over 800 of these attacks from Gaza this year, alone.

Could you imagine how the United States would respond if San Diego were receiving this sort of an onslaught from Mexico, or Buffalo from Canada?

According to article 51 of the United Nations Charter, every nation has an inherent right to defend itself.

Hamas, which is on the official State Department list of Foreign Terrorist Organizations,  was swept into power in free and open elections on January 26, 2006.  It is the group that has been behind much of the suicide bombings which Israel has endured since 1996.

On Wednesday,  Israel embarked on Operation “Pillar of Cloud” or “Pillar of Defense” in English, immediately conducting a surgical air strike that killed Ahmed Jabari in a pinpoint strike as he was driving along a Gaza street.  Ahmed Jabari is the terrorist mastermind who had orchestrated the kidnapping of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, and was behind many of the bloody suicide bombings.

This targeted assassination is very much like what the United States had conducted in Yemen against Anwar al Awlaki, the US born radical cleric who was identified as chief of external operations of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, also killing his teenage son. The successful killing of Osama Bin Laden in May of 2011 by Navy SEALs is another example of targeted assassination.

Since September 11, 2001, the United States has adopted a policy of targeted killing as a crucial tactic to pursue those responsible for terrorism.  In recent years, both the CIA and the Pentagon have utilized this measure with increasing frequency as part of their general procedures of warfare in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as in their counterterrorism efforts in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.

Since President Obama’s election in 2008, the United States has escalated its policy of targeted assassinations, primarily through the use of unmanned drone attacks, much like the strike on Ahmed Jabari.

This sort of tactic has become necessary because 21st century warfare is different than any sort of warfare that has been conducted previously.

Un-uniformed Islamist combatants, often hiding in heavily populated civilian areas, have been waging a war against Israel and the United States, using any means necessary.

The civilized world cannot stand for this.

The US Department of State should be strongly applauded for standing with Israel, here.  Yesterday, State Department Spokesman Mark Toner said, “There is no justification for the violence that Hamas and other terrorist organizations are employing against the people of Israel. We support Israel’s right to defend itself, and we encourage Israel to continue to take every effort to avoid civilian casualties.”

Israel has always been the canary on the coal mine. The longer Israel, known by radical Islamists as “the Minor Satan”, continues to allow its civilian population to endure this sort of suffering, the more reinforced those Jihadists become to attack America, “the Great Satan”, and the rest of the civilized world.

The radical Islamists see this as a civilizational war. Whether or not we want to believe it, they feel that this is their moment in history, after being dormant for fourteen centuries, and watching the ascendance of the West. They resent us and they despise us. They despise our values, they despise our freedoms and they despise our very way of life.

The entire free civilized world should be applauding Israel right now, for finding the courage to do what it has to do to defend its own people.  The Jihadists that hate Western civilization who are all around the globe are carefully watching and taking notes.

A Tough Place To Live
Sarah Stern

November 09 2012

As everyone’s eyes have been focused on the election this fall, scant attention has been paid as the Middle East continues to unravel. Israel, as always, seems to be sitting in the eye of the storm. Many forces have tried to bait Israel into a wider conflict. This reminds us, once again, of what a tough neighborhood Israel finds itself situated in.

On Tuesday, on the southern front, Captain Ziv Shalon, of the Givati Brigade was seriously injured, losing his palm when a bomb detonated along the border fence with Gaza. Doctors at Seroka Medical Center say he is “struggling for his life.”

This is simply one of hundreds of terrorist attacks that have emanated out of Hamas-controlled Gaza this year. Last week, 21 rockets were lobbed into Israel, forcing thousands of people to run into their shelters, and schools in Beer Sheba to close.  There have been 800 Kassam rocket attacks fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip this year alone. Yet no one on either side of the aisle bothered to mention these attacks during the election season.

There is usually 15 seconds from the time when the “Seva Adom” (“Code Red”) siren blares in which people have to run for their lives and find shelter. Think for a moment of the psychological trauma that children are forced to endure when they hear the siren.  Would the world’s media be silent if this were occurring from Canada to Buffalo?

Not surprisingly, Hamas, the Palestinian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood in Gaza, has done little to abate these attacks. While President Obama has been more concerned about the response of the Israeli government to the threat of its annihilation by a nuclear controlled Iran, he ignores the pipeline from the Islamic Republic into Hamas controlled Gaza or into Hezbollah on the North, which is a puppet of both Iran and the fragile but deadly regime of Bashar al Assad.

On the Northern front, Assad’s regime has brutally massacred over 30,000 of his own citizens. (The Syrian Opposition website estimates it as nearing 40,000). Some of the missiles have spilled over onto Israel, but Israel has refused to allow itself to be ensnarled in the internecine conflict. Interestingly, many Palestinians living along the border with Syria are trying to hire lawyers to gain Israeli citizenship.

Meanwhile, aside from Secretary of State Clinton uttering a few hollow words, the United States has done too little, too late, to empower the Syrian opposition. This is particularly tragic. There had been a window of opportunity where America might have gained the support of a free and democratic Syria, but after nineteen months of endless bloodshed, that window of opportunity has closed shut. By now, the situation has become more radicalized, with Sunni elements such as the Muslim Brotherhood fighting Shiite forces such as Hezbollah, with a huge mosaic of other radical elements thrown in the mélange.

Since Mohammed Morsi’s election in August, he has used a terrorist incident within a military base in the Sinai as a smokescreen to replace Army Field Marshal Mohmmed Tantawi with Abdul Fattah al Sissi, a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.  He has also used the occasion to bring into the Sinai Abrams tanks and ground to air missiles without first consulting with Prime Minister Netanyahu, contrary to what is written in the Camp David Accords.

During his first public speech, Morsi vowed to free Omar Abdel-Rahman, “the blind sheik”, who was responsible for the first World Trade Center attack in 1993. Morsi has placed two Egyptian journalists, Tawfiq Ukasha and Islam Afifi, under trial for insults to himself and to Islam. In August he told the Egyptian newspaper The Independent that he wishes to “amend the Camp David Accords to ensure Egypt’s full sovereignty over every inch of Sinai”.

The abject poverty of Egypt has served, so far, to keep the fragile peace between Egypt and Israel in place. Although we, in the US,  have made a grave error by neglecting to use our monetary aid as real leverage for democracy building, and for human rights and freedom for women and minorities such as Coptic Christians.

Turkey, under the leadership of Prime Minister Erdogan is flexing its muscles, once again, and today has placed four Israel military chiefs on trial in absentia, holding them responsible for the Gaza flotilla.

Ahmadinejad of Iran has become even more bellicose in his rhetoric, increasingly using medical metaphors for Israel, such as a “cancer” or a “blight on humankind”. We Jews know, from our long and sorry history that when leaders resort to biological analogies they are sowing the societal landscape to do something horrible.  Iran now has enough lowly enriched uranium for 3 to 4 nuclear bombs. Scientists from the Institute of Science and International Security estimate it should take about 2 to 4 months before its nuclear project is complete.

Israel is indeed living in a very dangerous neighborhood, caught between tectonic shifts, where some highly nefarious forces from Iran, Egypt and Turkey are vying to become the rightful leader of the fractious and divisive Arab and Muslim world. Israel is like the kid in the school yard that no one wants to have on his team, surrounded by the nastiest playground bullies.

Many in Israel feel stunned and very much alone after the re-election of President Obama, although the leadership might have to pretend otherwise. President Obama made it very clear in a meeting of Jewish leaders early in his first term that he felt that the close relationships that his predecessors always had with Israel was not effective. “Let’s try a different tact”, he was reported to have said, ”There was no light between the United States and Israel, and nothing got accomplished.”

That message is quite perilous when you live in a tough neighborhood. It took the strong support of President Bush for the rights of minorities around the world in order for the Christian community to come out during the Cedars Revolution in Lebanon. They were able, then, to venture proudly out into the streets because they knew that the man leading the most powerful force in the world was behind them, in the Oval Office.

Today Israelis are confronted with the hard reality that most of them had known all along.  That they are very much alone in the world, and that they will have to do what they must to survive.

But we vow to be there to help them, in any way that we possibly can.

With the election over, will the President answer a voter’s question about the Benghazi attack?
Adam Turner

November 05 2012

QUESTION: This question actually comes from a brain trust of my friends at Global Telecom Supply (ph) in Minneola yesterday.

OBAMA: Ah.

QUESTION: We were sitting around,  talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya,  prior to the attacks that killed four Americans.  Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?

 

U.S.  Presidential Debate, October 16, 2012
 
 
  In the second Presidential debate, the September 11, 2012 killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya in Benghazi was the one foreign policy question that made it into the Townhall-style debate.   This led to much analysis of the exchange between President Obama and Governor Romney regarding whether the President had referred to the attack as “an act of terror” in the Rose Garden a day after the attack, and what that really meant.  The main point Romney was trying to make was that the Obama Administration had for two weeks incorrectly blamed an “anti-Muslim”  film made in California for prompting the attack, rather than acknowledging the fact that it was a premeditated assault by Islamists.  Later, the moderator, Candy Crowley, who,  during the debate, had ruled in favor of President Obama’s claim that he had indeed called the attack premeditated terrorism, admitted she had made a mistake herself: “you’re totally correct that they (the Obama Administration) spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape…  He (Romney) was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word,” by focusing on whether President Obama specifically said “acts of terror.” 


  Unfortunately, I think this entire debate controversy essentially “misses the forest for the trees.”  Regardless of what President Obama specifically said in the Rose Garden on September 12, 2012, his Administration made major mistakes regarding the entire Libyan situation that need to be pointed out and evaluated.   And one of the biggest was confronted by the actual question asked during the debate – Who was it that denied enhanced security (for the Embassy and the Ambassador) and why?   This question was never answered during the debate, thanks to the moderator.  It was also not answered during the third and final debate, on foreign policy matters, which took place on October 22, 2012.  It was not answered before the election.  But it still needs to be.
 

The simple fact of the matter is that having the American Ambassador in Benghazi with no American security guards, poorly-trained, largely unarmed, and possibly Islamist-if not-al-Qaeda supportive Libyan security personnel, and no real secure consulate, is nothing short of scandalous.   This attack took place on 9/11/12, an anniversary date for the greatest Islamist terrorist assault on the U.S, in a Middle East nation.   This point alone should have demanded protection from an extensive security team.  Further, it specifically occurred in Libya, which the Administration knew was an unstable Middle Eastern nation awash with weapons and Islamist militias, including several with al-Qaeda ties.  The Obama Administration also was aware that there had been hundreds of security incidents in Benghazi preceding the 9/11/12 attack, including a prior attack on the consulate.  Also, the State Department/Administration was warned by the Ambassador and members of the Embassy that things were getting increasingly dangerous in Libya, and that more security was needed.  (It gets even worse if Ambassador Stevens had been sent there for another mission: sending arms recovered from the former Libyan regime’s stocks to the rebels in Syria.)  Finally, there were foreign warnings of potential danger to Americans in the Middle East, including a threat of retaliation – and thereby a warning – from al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri for the death of AQ’s operations guy, Abu Yahia Al-Libi (The Libyan) just the day before.   Yet, even with all that,  someone in charge – be it in the White House or in the State Department – chose to reject requests for more security and let an Ambassador die (possibly in a nasty manner) at the hands of Islamists. 
 

So why did some party in the Administration choose not to protect our Embassy?  There, is of course, no way to know for sure the answer to that question without further information.  It is possible that the Obama Administration is so incompetent that the requests for more security, including from Ambassador Stevens, kept somehow slipping through the cracks until it was too late.  But it is much more likely that the Obama Administration made a conscious effort not to increase security in Benghazi.  In fact, in the six months prior to the attack, they had – despite multiple pleas from U.S. security officials on the ground for "more, not less" security personnel – removed as many as 34 people from the country.   Also, as former assistant secretary of defense Bing West has noted, the attacks took place over seven hours without any outside U.S. military forces ever being dispatched.   These provide circumstantial evidence, at least, that the decision to keep security low was an intentional decision on the part of someone within the Obama Administration.
 

If that is true, then the question becomes whom – or what decision making body – within the Administration made this decision, and what was his/their reasoning for doing this?  A number of possibilities have been floated in the press so far.  Perhaps the decision was made by the State Department, which apparently has a longtime disdain for the Bureau of Diplomatic Security (BDS) and its agents that are supposed to be protecting our foreign service.  This could be why Secretary of State Clinton has taken “responsibility” for the act,  although this might also be nothing more than a political face saving measure.  Or, the decision to keep security at a low level may have come from the BDS itself, as indicated by some of the documents that have been released by the Congressional investigation.   Or, the decision might have really come from a major player in the Administration, perhaps the President himself, reasoning that security for U.S. interests would have meant more U.S. forces in Libya—which would violate “the Obama Doctrine – a “light footprint” strategy.”  More hearings are necessary for us to get to the bottom of this mystery.
 

Of course, to a certain extent, exactly which Executive branch actor made this decision is beside the point.  In every Administration, the President is ultimately responsible for the actions of his subordinates.  Senator Lindsey Graham, a Republican known for his bipartisanship on many issues, has accordingly placed the blame squarely on “failed presidential leadership at its worst.”    Even President Obama has acknowledged this fact. 
 

Now the President needs to just let the facts out, and if they warrant it, truly apologize for his Administration’s mistakes.   The election is over, and he won, so there is no political reason not to.   Besides, it is what a real leader does when he/she makes a mistake.

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) and the Legal Project (LP) at the Middle East Forum. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law. This column was originally written for EMET.

Iran's Nuclear Program: Facts Are Facts
Sarah Stern

October 31 2012

We all know what it takes to win an election now days. We all know that the candidates must cater to the center, to the undecided voters. Therefore it can prove difficult, judging from the responses of Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama during Monday night’s debate, to appreciate the distinctions between the two candidates’ positions. In terms of foreign policy we often have to look a little closer, to read between the lines, in order to find clues as to their true foreign policy, such as who their advisors are, or what their running mates say. If we go back and look at the Vice-Presidential debate, we find the following exchange particularly telling.

If there is one thing that I would readily agree with Vice President Biden about, in his recent debate with Congressman Paul Ryan, it is that “Facts are facts.”

That is why it was so difficult for me to listen to Mr. Biden declaring with a great deal of confidence and certitude that the Iranians have quite a good deal of time to go before they have a nuclear bomb.

“They are a good way away,” said Mr. Biden. “When my friend (Rep. Paul Ryan) talks about fissile material, they have to take this highly enriched uranium, get it from 20 percent up, then they have to be able to have something to put it in. There is no weapon that the Iranians have at this point…”

There are, however, a few facts that the Vice President avoided telling us:

1.) The most difficult aspect of the entire nuclear weapons project is the uranium enrichment part. That is why the international community has been so focused on that aspect of it. It takes a good deal of time to enrich the uranium to 20 percent level of purity. The Iranians already have enoughlow enriched uranium for several (3 to 4) nuclear weapons at the 20 percent level, but for weapons grade uranium, they need to get it to a higher level of purity of 90 percent.

However, as Former Director of the CIA James Woolsey once explained to me, it is essential to understand that the purer the level of enrichment, the less interval of time it takes to get to the next level.

Getting to 20 percent is difficult, and it is subsequently easier to get from 20 to 50 percent, and then from 50 to 90 percent.

According to a recent Wall Street Journal report of October 9th, noted scientific experts at the Institute for Science and International Security have stated that Iran is only two to four months away from the ninety per cent enrichment level. As I write these words, centrifuges are assiduously spinning in plants in Fordow, near the holy city of Qum, in Natanz, Busheir, Isfahan and Arak.

2.)  Many, including our Vice President, are under the erroneous assumption that a weapons delivery system would be worked on only after the process of uranium enrichment was complete; i.e., that the procedure is sequential. But the evidence is clear that the Iranians have been working on a delivery mechanism for years, simultaneously with their enrichment.

This past Sept. 25, Iran test fired missiles at a military exercise designed to reach the Strait of Hormuz. This is the third missile drill the Iranians have had in the last four months.

We know that the Iranians have been working consistently to expand the range for these missiles. The only question is whether they know how to assemble and attach the enriched uranium to the missile warhead. I have been told that that is infinitely less complex than is the enrichment process.

3.) If there is one thing the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate taught us, or should have taught us, it is that nobody can prove anything about the Iranians with any degree of certitude. In an unusual admission a few weeks ago, the Director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, Fereydoon Abbasi, was quoted as saying in Al Hayat that the Iranian government has provided false information in the past to protect its nuclear program. He stated that “sometimes the Iranians present certain weaknesses that they don’t have, and sometimes, they present certain strengths that they don’t have.”

As Ambassador Dore Gold has stated, “By admitting that their diplomacy has been based on a series of lies, the Iranians put into doubt whether any of their statements can be relied upon.”

The Iranians are also masters of the Islamic art of “Taqiyah,” which is derived from the Arabic “to shield (oneself). This permits dissimulation and even lying in the furtherance of Islamic law, including when pursuing goals against the so-called “unbelievers.”

4.) What we do know is that the Iranian military facility at Parchin has been used for trigger testing of a nuclear weapon, to produce the explosive charges which set off the chain reactions necessary for a nuclear explosion. We have seen aerial footage of trucks and other vehicles clearing and razing the earth, bulldozing buildings, and moving materials out of the back. Occasionally, the site has been covered by a pink tarp, as if something were being hidden.

We know that in 2003, there was a research and test site called Lavizan –Shan. When the IAEA began to get suspicious of what was going on there, it was ultimately razed to the ground, with top soil put on it, and made into a city park.

5.) We also know that with his expressed over-confidence in the amount of time that the West has before a nuclear Iran, the Vice President sends the Iranians a dangerous signal that we are not serious, and also sends a signal to the Israelis that they are very much, on their own, particularly under an Obama administration.

This is not the first time the U.S. has sent a “bad” signal to Israel regarding Iran, and almost a nod of approval to Iran. On August 31st, General Martin Dempsey, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, he did not “wish to be complicit” in a unilateral strike on Tehran.  His use of the word “complicit” was both hostile towards Israel and morally objectionable, as though he was saying that protecting one’s nation from the threat of genocide is a crime.

6.) We also know that the Iranian nuclear bomb is not just a threat to Israel, but to the entire world. The Iranians would like to take advantage of the current state of chaos that the so-called “Arab Spring” has wrought to rearrange the order of the entire Arab and Muslim world, and claim the mantle of Shiite hegemony. An Iranian nuclear bomb would surely create a nuclear arms race in every capital in the Middle East, as has been hinted at by other Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia, and it would be the most de-stabilizing single factor in that region of the world since the great European powers redrew the borders after World War I.

7.)  Israel is only the “Minor Satan.” The United States is the Great Satan.”

We know that almost the very first thing that the Iranians did as soon as the Khomeini Revolution occurred in 1979 was to seize control of the American embassy and take our embassy officials hostage. This was a declaration of war on the United States, and this Iranian war against the U.S. has continued to the current day. It is Iranian manufactured IEDs that have killed so many Americans, and caused many more American troops to come home from Iraq or Afghanistan missing a leg or an arm.

It is Iran that tried to blow up a restaurant on American soil with a Saudi diplomat inside. It is Iran that was responsible for the 1983 bombing of a U.S. Marine barracks that killed 241 marines. It is Iran who has been identified as the “world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and terrorist financing” by the Secretary of State. It is Iran which has been upheld in court as having facilitated the terror attack on 9/11.

The false sense of certitude on Iranian progress in developing nuclear weapons that the Vice President conveyed at the VP debate is not at all helpful when dealing with a destabilizing nuclear menace such as Iran. I understand that the Vice President would like to appear as the non-trigger happy candidate, but looking at a despotic crazed regime like the Iranians through rose-colored glasses ultimately just empowers the mullahs.

 

Responding to “The Truth About Obama and Israel”
Kyle Shideler

October 26 2012

Originally produced as an internal research product, EMET has examined a shockingly partisan and particularly misleading column by Haim Saban in the New York Times. Our research produced multiple statements and reports which disprove or dispute the depiction of the Obama Administration’s policy towards Israel presented in the piece.

 

Because these arguments have been repeatedly advanced in the media following the release of the Saban article, EMET has decided to release our report for the edification of our members. Although EMET, as a 501(c)3, does not get involved in political matters, we felt the need to address these erroneous and/or misleading claims. Below you will see each claim made in the Saban article, followed by a refutation, with links and citations.

Assertion:  “Even though he could have done a better job highlighting his friendship for Israel, there’s no denying that by every tangible measure, his support for Israel’s security and well-being has been rock solid.”

 

     
  • Reality: The Democrat 2012 platform watered down the 2008 platform to eliminate any references to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, to remove the refusal to interact with Hamas unless they reject terrorism, etc.  Later, after an outcry, the reference to Jerusalem was put back, but not the other two.

     
     

  • Reality: On August 30, 2012, with the clear blessing of the president, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey chastised Netanyahu.  According to Dempsey, Obama’s and Israel’s policies on Iran are not exactly the same.  On the contrary, the president is desperate to avoid being seen to be “complicit” should Israel decide to exercise her right of self-defense against Iran.

       

     
     

  • Reality:  President Obama “adopted the Palestinian position on negotiations (that all settlement activity should cease before talks could resume).”
     
     

  • Reality: “As for Israeli-US intelligence cooperation, under Obama for the first time, the US hassystematically leaked Israel’s most closely guarded secrets to the media.”

     

  •     Reality: It has been reported that President Obama wanted to create a strategy of “daylight” between the U.S. and Israel.

     

  •     Reality: President Obama backtracked on agreementsbetween President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon on the 1967 borders — and then adamantly denied this was a policy change.

     

     

  • Reality: The Obama Administration excluded Israelfrom its Counterterrorism Forum, despite the prolonged experience Israel has with fighting terrorism, and the reality that Israel is probably the nation most knowledgeable about fighting terrorism.

     

     

  • Reality: The Obama administration failed to consult with Israel during the upheaval associated with the so-called Arab Spring, and failed to condemn the Muslim Brotherhood’s the anti-Semitism and support for terrorism.

     

     

  • Reality: The decision by the Obama Administration tolimit the participation of the U.S. in joint U.S.-Israeli security exercises cannot be seen as “support” for Israeli security, including on the issue of missile defense, with both the number and quality of missile interception systems being downgraded from what was scheduled to take place during the exercise.

     
     

  •   Assertion:  “As president, [President Obama] responded by providing full financing and technical assistance for Israel’s Iron Dome short-range anti-rocket defense system, which is now protecting those villagers. In July, he provided an additional $70 million to extend the Iron Dome system across southern Israel.”
     

  • Reality: No president has opposed funding these anti-missile defenses for Israel. The program in question was originally proposed in 2007 under the Bush Administration, and expansion of the program is supported on a bipartisan basis. The initial FY 2013 budget proposed by President Obama did not provide funding for the Iron Dome System, but the Iron Dome Support Act, introduced by a bipartisan group of representatives would permit allocating funds for the program. Additionally, House Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee has proposed earmarking an additional $620 million dollars for the program, almost all of the $700 million Israeli officials have said they require for an additional four missile batteries.
  •  

  • Reality:  Many of the policies of the Obama Administration which can be characterized as pro-Israel were arrived at only under intense pressure from Congressional Democrats, as Mideast expert Barry Rubin noted,“Congress supports Israel. There was more pushback against Obama from Democratic members on this issue than on any other, foreign or domestic.”
  •  

 

Assertion: “When the first President Bush had disagreements with Israel over its settlement policy, he threatened to withhold loan guarantees from Israel. Mr. Obama has had his own disagreements with Mr. Netanyahu over the settlers but has never taken such a step.”

 

     
  • Reality: While President George H.W. Bush did seek delays in loan guarantees to Israel over the question of settlements in the disputed territories of the West Bank (Judea and Samaria), The Golan Heights, and the Gaza Strip, President Obama sought a hitherto unheard of settlement freeze within the boundaries of Jerusalem itself. The Obama administration then used the unfortunate timing of a construction announcement in a Jerusalem suburb to further denigrate the Israeli government, despite that the Netanyahu government had never agreed to halting construction in Jerusalem, only the West Bank.  Responding to the building incident, President Obama then proceeded to snub Prime Minister Netanyahu in the White House, presenting the Israeli PM with a list of demands beforewalking out on the scheduled meeting.[xvii]This new demand of a Jerusalem settlement freeze then became the base line for Palestinian demands even to return to the negotiating table, putting a halt to the prospect of negotiations.
  •  

 

Assertion: “Ask any senior Israeli official involved in national security, and he will tell you that the strategic relationship between the United States and Israel has never been stronger than under President Obama. “I can hardly remember a better period of American support and backing, and Israeli cooperation and similar strategic understanding of events around us,” the defense minister, Ehud Barak, said last year, “than what we have right now.””

 

     
  • Reality:  Not all “Senior Israeli” officials are convinced of this “better period” of support and backing. Israeli vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon is reported to have said, the “US is undermining the military threat against Iran”. President Benjamin Netanyahu himself is reported to have said, “Instead of pressuring Iran in an effective way, Obama and his people are pressuring us not to attack the nuclear facilities,” in a meeting with U.S. Ambassador Dan Shapiro.[xx]  Those reports were confirmed by Rep. Mike Rogers, who was present for the meeting.Additionally statements by U.S. officials serving under President Obama have done much to undermine the sense of “American backing.” These statements have included those by U.S. General David Petraeusand Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta blaming Israel for Mideast tensions and a lack of progress on peace with the Palestinians. Most recently Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey used language most often associated with criminality when he said he did not wish to be “complicit” in an Israel strike on Iran.
  •  
  • Reality:  The piece ignores the reality of diplomatic niceties and the Israeli urgent efforts to maintain the Israeli-American alliance in spite of Obama policies. As Barry Rubin notes,“ Their task is not to defeat Obama or to critique him but to get along with him as well as possible in order to protect Israel’s long-term alliance with the United States without sacrificing any of Israel’s vital interests. They’ve done it well. The one moment the truth emerged was when Obama betrayed Israel, on the diplomatic level, by announcing, without consultation, a new policy on peace terms while Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was flying to Washington. You think Israeli leaders (and this is not ideological, not a matter of left or right) have a high regard for Obama? Read Netanyahu’s speech to the joint session of Congress.”
  •  

 

Assertion: “[American-Israeli] cooperation has included close coordination by intelligence agencies — including the deployment of cyberweapons, as recent news reports have revealed — to thwart Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”

 

     
  • Reality: Far from improving, “Close coordination between intelligence agencies”, a campaign of leaks has been conducted by Obama Administration officials regarding covert activities involving Israel which has strained intelligence ties. Officials have anonymously leaked information involving Israeli ties withAzerbaijan, and activities in Northern Kurdistan. The administration has also leaked information regarding the Israeli timeline for a strike, and leaked information in an effort to persuade the public that an Israeli strike on Iran would fail.The cyber-warfare cooperation, which also began under President Bush, and which Saban cites, was publicly exposed in a New York Times published preview of the book, “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” by David Sanger, in which the Obama administration blamed Israel for “exposing” the computer virus, with Vice President Joe Bidenspecifically accusing the Israelis of having “went too far.”
  •  
  • Reality:  Rep. Mike Rogers, Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told a Michigan radio interviewer about a high-level confrontation between the Obama appointed Ambassador to Israel, and Netanyahu, and “he described Israeli leaders as being at “wits’ end” over what they see as President Obama’s unwillingness to provide them with his “red lines” in the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. He also said that neither the Israelis nor the Iranians believe that Obama would use force to stop the nuclear program.”
  •  

 

Assertion: “Mr. Obama’s predecessor, George W. Bush, diverted American attention from Iran — the greatest threat to Israel’s existence — to Iraq, even helping to put a pro-Iranian leader in power in Baghdad.”

 

     
  • Reality:  It is true that since the withdrawal from Iraq, Iraqi President Nour Al-Maliki has turned increasingly towards Iran. What is left unsaid is that this shift occurred at least in part due to the Obama Administration’s decision to withdrawal troops from Iraq. U.S. commanders had recommended retaining a force between 15-18,000, a move which was “welcomed by Sunnis and Kurds.” As former Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi noted, “The Americans have pulled out without completing the job they should have finished… We have warned them that we don’t have a political process which is inclusive of all Iraqis…  Iraqis should fill the vacuum, rather than anyone else.”
  •  
  • In the summer of 2009, Obama did his best to overlook a widespread rebellion in Iran and the regime’s brutal repression of it, in his quest to keep his policy of engagement on track
  •  
  • President Obama’s “extended hand” policy to Iran has been condemned as ineffective by leaders as established as French President Sarkozy who indicated“ We live in the real world, not in a virtual one.” Sarkozy[said]: “I support America’s ‘extended hand.’ But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. . . . What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions.”
  •  

 

Assertion: “…through painstaking diplomacy, Mr. Obama persuaded Russia and China to support harsh sanctions on Iran, including an arms embargo and the cancellation of a Russian sale of advanced antiaircraft missiles that would have severely complicated any military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Mr. Obama secured European support for what even Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, called “the most severe and strictest sanctions ever imposed on a country.”

 

     
  • Reality:  The current sanctions regime is far from air tight. The Obama Administration has granted sanction waivers to a total of twenty countries, including China, and at least ten European countries. Additionally far from deserving credit for the sanctions regime to the extent it is effective at all, the Obama administration actively worked against the expansion of sanctions, reportedly frustrating New Jersey Democrat Rep. Robert Menendez who authored the “Kirk-Menendez” Sanctions together with Represent Mark Kirk (R-IL). Menendez reportedly said he “regretted working with the administration on the issue.” Furthermore it remains to be seen that the Russian S-300 missile deal referred to here is actually terminated, or whether it may be renewed at a later time, particularly if Syria should leave the Russian sphere of influence  The Treasury Department has issued thousands of waivers for companies doing business with Iran, while China and India have been allowed to continue importing oil from the regime. Language aimed at cracking down on financial transactions was made less specific. And Senate Majority leader Harry Reid (D-NV) led an effort to water down sanctions against insurance companies that underwrite Iranian affiliates.
  •  

 

Assertion: “Mr. Obama not only has declared that all options are on the table, but he has also taken the option of merely “containing” a nuclear-armed Iran offthe table. He has directed the military to prepare options for confronting Iran and has positioned forces in the Persian Gulf to demonstrate his resolve.”

 

     
  • Reality: While the Obama Administration has increased the American military presence in the gulf, the administration has reportedly also issued a back channel declaration to Iran that, provided U.S. bases and other infrastructure remains unharmed, the U.S. would not retaliate against an Iranian strike on Israel.
  •  

 

Assertion:  “President Obama has blocked Palestinian attempts to bypass negotiations and achieve United Nations recognition as a member state, a move that would have opened the way to efforts by Israel’s foes to sanction and criminalize its policies.” 

 

     
  • Reality: While it is true that the Obama Administration did vow to veto a Palestinian statehood vote at the UN Security Council if necessary, the Palestinians failed to receive enough support to require a veto so the vow was not truly tested.Additionally, the Obama administration has also undertaken efforts to restore funds to UNESCO, which recognized Palestinian as a member against U.S. policy triggering automatic funding cuts. At a minimum this creates confusion as to Obama Administration policy regarding UN recognition of Palestinian statehood.
           
    • Reality: President Obama joined the Human Rights Council – which President Bush had left – thereby providing more legitimacy to its outright anti-Semitism as noted even by administration officials.
    •      
    • Reality: In fact, no president has done lessabout fighting the delegitimization of Israel by his own statements and actions than has Obama. And in some cases, especially regarding Gaza, he has not really supported Israel’s right to defend itself in practice.
    •    

     

  •  

IS EGYPT GIVING THE UNITED STATES MARCHING ORDERS?
Adam Turner

October 19 2012

“The obscenities that I have referred to from a recently released [video] as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities are unacceptable and require a promise of firm stance. We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred. Egypt respects freedom of expression – freedom of expression that is not used to incite hatred against anyone – not a freedom of expression that target a specific religion or a specific culture. A freedom of expression that tackle extremism and violence – not a freedom of expression that deepens ignorance and disregards others.”UN Speech by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, 09/27/12

The Egyptian President, Mohammed Morsi, has given the United States – and the UN – its marching orders regarding the Islamic Prophet, Mohammed.  Insults against Mohammed, and against the Islamic faith, will not be tolerated.

Certainly, the Obama Administration will not object.  They have already enthusiasticallyparticipated in the “Istanbul Process”, which seeks to implement UN Resolution 16/18, the latest iteration of proposed international laws that seek to restrict speech that “denigrates” Islam.  Further, President Obama himself has decreed, in his own UN speech, that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”  Apparently, President Obama has never thought too highly of free speech, so, there may not be any daylight between the U.S. and Egyptian governments when it comes to such troublesome speech.

Of course, President Morsi had other demands as well.

Mr. Morsi said, in another New York appearance, that he wants Omar Abdul Rahman, the Egyptian Muslim cleric in a U.S. jail for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to serve out the rest of his life sentence at home in Egypt.  Rahman, who is referred to as the “Blind Sheikh,” issued fatwas and helped plan acts of Islamist terrorism.  In 1993, his followers detonated a truck bomb in a parking garage below the North Tower, with the intention of knocking it into the South Tower, thereby bringing both towers down and killing thousands of Americans.  The bomb failed to deliver these results, but it did kill six people and injured more than a thousand.  Presumably, the Egyptian President’s call for the Blind Sheikh to be transferred to an Egyptian jail supersedes his earlier demand for Rahman to simply be released.  But transfer or release, it seems that the U.S. State Department is seriously considering it.

Also, as expressed in a New York Times interview, President Morsi said it was up to Washington to revitalize its alliance with Egypt.  He clearly doesn’t believe that Egypt owes the U.S. anything, regardless of the fact that, between 1948 and 2011, the United States has already provided Egypt with $71.6 billion in foreign aid, including $1.3 billion a year in military aid from 1987 to the present.  Presumably, the $1.3 billion plus is now just a base requirement, which should be bolstered, either directly by the U.S. or indirectly through international organizations.  And sure enough, the Obama Administration has proposed a plan to provide $450 million in emergency domestic assistance, although Congress is currently blocking this.  The Administration also supports a $4.8 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to Egypt; the U.S. provides about $64 billion a year to the IMF, by the way.

In that same interview Morsi also criticized the U.S. for not living up to its own Camp David commitment to Palestinian self-rule.   He said that Americans “have a special responsibility” for the Palestinians because the United States had signed the 1978 Camp David accord, and that “(a)s long as peace and justice are not fulfilled for the Palestinians, then the treaty remains unfulfilled.”  The fact that U.S. support for the governing anti-Semiticanti-Americancorruptterror supportinganti-democratic forces in “Palestine” is not actually in our best interest, can safely be ignored.  During the past term the Obama Administration has consistently and one-sidedly pushedIsrael to give up more and more concessions to the Palestinians for the sake of peace.  No doubt, after the election, President Obama will have even more “flexibility” to meet Morsi’s demands.

President Morsi also called for Egypt to be immune from any unnecessary moral evaluations by the U.S.  “If you want to judge the performance of the Egyptian people by the standards of German or Chinese or American culture, then there is no room for judgment,” he said.  So, for example, President Morsi probably believes that a fully democratic state with American style civil rights forcitizens and especially religious minorities is not appropriate for Egypt.  The same applies – or, perhaps more accurately, doesn’t apply – for granting equal rights to Egyptian women.  Democratic competition and the alternation of power between different political parties – if one of those parties is not Muslim Brotherhood affiliated – may also be a big no-no.  And, as mentioned before, free speech rights for the Egyptians are not ok, no matter how much the U.S. values them.  For that matter, based on Morsi’s UN speech, free speech isn’t okay for the U.S., in the U.S., when it concerns the religion of Islam.  Fortunately for Mr. Morsi, the Obama Administration has made clear it has a strong disinclination to judge other nations and cultures.

For example, President Morsi dismissed tepid criticism from the White House that he did not move fast enough to protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo from Islamist rioters on September 11, 2012.  These rioters eventually climbed over the Embassy wall, burned the American flag, and replaced it with the black flag of radical Islam.  Egyptian guards did little to stop them, and President Morsi “remained conspicuously silent as protesters breached the walls of the American Embassy in Cairo — a stark contrast to the help, contrition and condemnation coming from the new government of Libya.” Contrary to the Obama Administration’s continued claims, these Islamist protesters were not objecting some bad California movie, but were actually protesting the continued detention of the Blind Sheikh.

These were Mr. Morsi’s demands.  And what will the U.S. get if we give President Morsi what he wants?

Once again, President Morsi told us exactly that in the Times interview.  In return for our compliance to the above requirements, Mr. Morsi suggested that Egypt would not be hostile to the West, although he also cautioned that it would not be as compliant to the U.S. as it was under Mr. Mubarak, either.  When specifically asked if Egypt would remain an ally of the U.S., President Morsi carefully responded, “(t)hat depends on your definition of ally.”

Once again, based on a statement by President Obama describing the U.S.’s current relationship with Egypt, this type of relationship may well be satisfactory to the Obama Administration.

Despite What The Obama Administration Says, Red Lines Are Helpful
Kyle Shideler

October 10 2012

When Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu came to New York to address the UN General Assembly, he had one goal in mind – to reinforce to the international community, and especially to the Obama Administration, that red lines addressing Iran’s Nuclear weapons program must be established. Netanyahu said:

 

Red lines don’t lead to war; red lines prevent war. Look at NATO’s charter: it made clear that an attack on one member country would be considered an attack on all.  NATO’s red line helped keep the peace in Europe for nearly half a century. President Kennedy set a red line during the Cuban Missile Crisis. That red line also prevented war and helped preserve the peace for decades. In fact, it’s the failure to place red lines that has often invited aggression.

Netanyahu proposed setting the red line before Iran completed the second stage of nuclear enrichment, reaching a level of medium enriched Uranium (MEU) suitable for a nuclear weapon. This is a stage they are expected to reach, "by next spring, at most by next summer."

For their part, the Obama Administration has stated that red lines are “unhelpful.” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta went so far as to say, “Red lines are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.” Needless to say, he was NOT referring to putting Iran in a corner.

For some time the stated belief of the Obama Administration has been that Iran remains “undecided” on whether to pursue a nuclear weapon.

Ignore for a moment all the evidence that Iran has long ago decided to pursue a nuclear weapon. This includes its construction of heavily fortified underground reactors. It also includes the statement of an advisor close to Ayatollah Khameinei who said in June that a “nuclear bomb is our right.” The IAEA report in 2011 that indicated that Iran’s program encompasses, “activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”   And the 2012 report where the IAEA expressed concerns about Iranian efforts to conduct a cover up of nuclear weapon research at Parchin.

Leaving all that aside and operating purely from a logical standpoint, the Administration’s position is self-contradictory.

Red lines are helpful when a country has not made a firm decision to take an action and substantially fears the threatened consequences of taking that action. One might argue credibly that red lines are not helpful here because the Iranian decision to develop nuclear weapons has already been made and they are unlikely to be deterred. But reasonably, either red lines ARE helpful, or else Iran has already decided to build a nuclear weapon regardless of the consequences and so cannot be deterred.

So why is the Obama Administration so opposed to a red line?

The real reason the Obama Administration has rejected implementing a red line on the Iranian program is that despite their claims to the contrary, they seem to fully expect Iran will cross any red line, and they have no intention of enforcing one. For the Obama Administration a red line would be a bluff.

The Obama Administration’s assessment that Iran effectively cannot be deterred is most likely accurate. After all, even prior to Prime Minister Netanyahu’s literal “drawing of the red line,” the Iranians had already declared, in numerous venues, that they intend to enrich to 90% weapons-grade levels, allegedly for use in nuclear submarines, a patently ridiculous cover story.

Now it should be recognized that the Obama Administration has stated several times that military action is not “off the table” and that Iran “will not be allowed” to acquire nuclear weapons.

Why then do these statements ring hollow?

In large part, they ring hollow because of the appearance that the U.S. is more concerned with preventing or delaying Israeli action against Iran then they are in preventing an Iranian bomb. Evidence for this includes the reports that the U.S. had reassured Iran that if Israel launched a strike it would be on its own, followed by the remarks of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs General Martin Dempsey that the U.S. did not wish to be “complicit” in an Israeli strike. Additionally there were leaks intended to undermine Israeli strike options, including leaks over possible basing options in Azerbaijan and Iraqi Kurdistan, anonymous reports intended to undermine confidence in the capability of an Israeli strike, and claims by Obama friendly experts that, “Israel launching a unilateral attack is almost as bad as allowing Tehran to continue its nuclear work unchallenged.”

Put aside for a moment the morally questionable nature of a remark which presupposes that preemptive action by a U.S. ally would be “as bad” as allowing a self-declared enemy of the United States, which has actively murdered Americans in Afghanistan, Iraq and Lebanon, plotted terrorist attacks even in Washington D.C., and openly engaged in incitement to genocide, to acquire nuclear weapons.

Presuppose instead that on a purely strategic level this is true. That an Iran which has had its nuclear program set back by Israel perhaps a year or two, if that, and which retaliates broadly throughout the region is somehow more dangerous than an Iran that may pursue the same agenda, only under the cover of nuclear weapons.

Openly and repeatedly promoting the idea, as the Obama Administration has done, through back channels, leaks and media interviews, can only serve as an inducement to the Iranian regime and its proxies to continue their behavior, and indeed to turn up their rhetoric, as has happened  in recent months.

One of the great difficulties of understanding the Obama Administration’s foreign affairs is that their actual policies are frequently at odds with their stated desires. They state that Iran will “not be permitted” to have a nuclear weapon, while their policies signal that nothing will be done to prevent it. They indicate their belief that a unilateral Israeli strike on Iran would be a disaster, yet their rhetoric makes almost certain that Israel will feel compelled to act alone.

This dichotomy between the administration’s stated desires and the logical outcome of their actions creates a dangerous credibility problem. America’s allies are left adrift, and the Iranian enemy is emboldened. Creating a red line, as Prime Minister Netanyahu suggests, would be a step towards restoring credibility.

It’s true that it is most likely that the Iranians will drive forward towards the red line heedless of the consequences. A nuclear weapon is the center piece of their strategy for regional hegemony and their leadership of the anti-American revolutionary bloc. But at the very least a red line reestablishes American leadership, and shores up America’s alliances in regard to the Iranian threat. It puts the administration’s rhetoric and its actions in line, and makes clear that should military action be required, the onus for the conflict rests on the shoulders of the Iranian Regime.

All of which would be quite helpful indeed.

When a Constitutional Scholar Goes Bad
Adam Turner

October 03 2012

On September 11 and 12, 2012, all hell broke loose in the Arab world. On September 11, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt was invaded by hordes of Islamists, who tore down the American flag and unfurled a black Islamist triumphalist flag similar to that of al-Qaeda. On September 12, in Libya, in an organized attack, Libyans destroyed the American consulate in Benghazi and killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador. Since then, Yemen, Pakistan, Indonesia, Tunisia, the Sudan, India, the United Kingdom, Germany, and many more nations have seen tremendous protests and/or riots on the street.

The cause of this outbreak of violence, supposedly, but not really, was over a California based filmmaker’s amateurish film depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Islam, of course, frowns on any depictions of their prophet; let alone the extremely negative portrayal found in this picture.

As the offensive picture originally came out months ago, the film – called “The Innocence of Muslims” – was clearly a pretext for Islamists to coordinate a campaign of violence against American free speech regarding Islam.  In that, it is very similar situation to what happened in the aftermath of the publication of the Danish cartoons in 2005.  This should not be too surprising, since Islamists have had great success from their Danish campaign – few papers in the West reprinted the Danish cartoons and other Western press and media organizations have self-censored their own Danish cartoons related speech, including Yale Press. Further, the Danish Cartoon Controversy is not the only successful Islamist pressure campaign success against free speech over the years – see the campaigns against Pope Benedict’s speech; Molly Norris and Americans’ who have burned Korans, either deliberately to provoke a reaction or accidentally.  So, it must be asked, why should Islamists stop using a tactic that clearly works for them?

Indeed, in the United States, thanks to the Obama Administration, the anti-free speech Islamist pressure campaign worked even better than before.  What is so disturbing about this is that President Obama should know better; he has often been praised for his brilliance as a constitutional scholar. But the Obama Administration has done almost nothing but appease the Islamist speech bullies, while showing only the most tepid support for our First Amendment rights.

Let’s look at the Obama Administration’s record regarding this situation.

After hearing of potential protests, the U.S. Embassy in Egypt released an apology to the Islamist Egyptians that condemned those who “abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.” It also issued apologetic “tweets” that condemned the film.  Only later were all these comments disavowed by the White House—though they continued to be affirmed by the State Department. In fact, until recently muddying the waters, members of the Administration, including the Press Secretary and the UN Ambassador, had continued to go to great lengths to insist that the film was at fault for the rioting and violence.

On September 12, the Obama administration unsuccessfully tried to insert into a UN Security Council press statement, issued in response to the killing of the Ambassador in Libya, language against the denigration of religions.  France vetoed this.
The Obama Administration asked Google, which owns YouTube, to remove the offending film from that site.  Had Google complied, this would have actually have been a reversal of Google’s earlier ruling that the video was not hate speech under its rules because it did not specifically incite violence against Muslims.
After the filmmaker was outed by a disapproving media, federal law enforcement interrogated him in the middle of the night for the minor probation violation of uploading the film onto YouTube.  This act alone prompted a prominent libertarian constitutional blogger to call for President Obama’s resignation.  The filmmaker has since been jailed for these probation violations.

In his speech before the UN, President Obama marred what could have been a teachable moment by continuing to link the actual violence to the film, spending much time denouncing the film, and most disturbingly, uttering language that treated the murder of Coptic Christians in Egypt, the bullying of women, and the “slander(ing) of the prophet of Islam” as if they were all equal evils.

Joint Chief of Staff General Martin Dempsey called Pastor Terry Jones – who himself had conducted earlier mock ceremonies where the Koran was burned – although he had no involvement with the film – to dissuade Jones from, in any way, contributing to this situation.  General Dempsey claimed that the call was his own idea, but considering that Jones has also fielded similar calls in the past from other Executive officials, this Dempsey claim strains credulity.  Presumably, soon Jones will be on the Executive branch’s speed dial.

When the French magazine Charlie Hebdo published its Mohammed cartoons, the Obama Administration protested the “judgment” and “offensiveness” of the magazine, but made no mention of any right to free speech.
The State Department has aired advertisements in Pakistan showing prior apologies for the film from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.

Given the overwhelming reaction from multiple agencies of the executive branch, this appeasement is more than just a one-time error, but a policy. The Obama Administration has consistently shown poor instincts when it comes to protecting free speech. The Administration has participated in the “Istanbul Process” that seeks to implement UN Resolution 16/18, which seeks to restrict speech that “denigrates” Islam. The Department of Justice has also refused to affirm free speech before Congress. And most shockingly, the Administration has signed onto an Interpol Agreement which makes that international police force immune from the restraints of American law, theoretically allowing Egypt, which is seeking a warrant against “the eight defendants implicated in producing an amateur film that denigrates Islam and Prophet Mohamed,” to enforce their blasphemy law in the U.S.  And this wouldn’t be the first time that a Muslim country used Interpol to arrest a blasphemer.

All in all, this is a disappointing record on free speech for a president who once taught constitutional law.  Then again, I know the president lectured primarily on civil rights law, and not free speech. However, considering how badly he seems to understand and value the First Amendment, one can only hope that his lectures on civil rights law were more grounded in the U.S. Constitution and the established law. Otherwise, his former law students might want to demand a refund.


Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.  This column was originally written for the LP and The Blaze.
http://www.theblaze.com/contributor/AdamTurner/

Israel Strikes Iran: A Worst Case Scenario
Kyle Shideler

September 15 2012

The tension in the Middle East is palpable. More potential triggers for regional conflict exist at this time, than any in recent memory. As Israeli Military Intelligence Chief Aviv Kochavi recently warned the IDF senior leadership during an annual situational assessment held Monday, August 27th, “It will be an environment dealing with a series of crises – regional and domestic – which raises the threshold of sensitivity of all the players and may lead – even without advance planning – to flare-ups.”

While it’s seemingly impossible to “expect the unexpected”, it is possible to expect the worst and plan accordingly. For that reason, attempting to examine a “worst case scenario” for a future regional conflict is a useful thought exercise.

Imagine for a moment it’s an unseasonably warm evening in October, Iranian Air Defense commanders are surveying their radars, and the coast seems clear. Suddenly the screen blips out. The commander attempts to reach his superiors in Tehran’s Ministry Of Defense. There is no response. Israeli electronic-  and cyber-warfare are targeting Tehran’s air defense and command and control systems at the very moment that a large wave of fighter-bombers, representing the core strength of the IAF, come screaming overhead.

An Israeli Dolphin-class submarine surfaces at the limits of its 1500-km cruise missile range just long enough to launch, its missiles targeting the residences of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Ayatollah Khamenei, and top Iranian commanders in a decapitation strike. While some members of the Iranian high command are killed, the primary key figures, including Khamenei, survive.

The Israelis strike most heavily at the heavily-fortified Fordo facility outside the city of Qom, and at Natanz, both enrichment facilities. They also target the reactor at Arak, but they ignore the civilian reactor at Bushehr, with its Russian advisory personnel, and Parchin, because of successful Iranian efforts to scrub the site of evidence of its role in building warhead components and nuclear weapon triggers.  Pilots are ordered to drop any remaining ordinance on Iranian long-range missile bases in an effort to minimize the coming retaliatory strikes.

A manually launched Surface-to-Air missile hits an Israeli fighter jet, and its pilot is forced to eject. Israeli Search and Rescue (SAR) commandos launch from a base inside Iraqi Kurdistan, but thanks to a campaign of leaks from American officials about Israeli cooperation with countries and factions bordering Iran, the Iranians are prepared. When the SAR team comes under heavy fire they are forced to turn back. The pilot is captured alive, and displayed on Iranian state television.

The Israeli jets leave Iranian airspace, pausing only briefly to refuel over Northern Iraq before returning to Israel to refuel and rearm.

The Iranian response begins.  Hezbollah in the north, and Hamas in the West, and Al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Sinai, all begin by launching a steady of missiles into Israel, primarily targeting civilian population centers. While the Israeli missile defense program is excellent, casualties begin to mount as technology is overwhelmed by the sheer numbers.  While its proxies focus on mass casualties, the Iranians use their surface-to-surface missile capability to target Israeli air fields and command and control, seeking to disrupt Israeli attempts to take out Hezbollah launch sites.

President Obama speaks to the nation announcing support for Israeli’s right to preemptive self-defense, but privately administration officials are fuming at the timing, and don’t provide anything more substantive than vague moral support.  The U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs had previously said the U.S. did not wish to “be complicit” in an Israeli attack on Iran, and U.S. statements heavily emphasize that Israel acted alone. This offers a tacit nod to Iran, which had previously received assurances from the Obama Administration that if Israel attacked Iran, it would be on its own.

Throughout the region, the Arab states condemn Israel. In Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the U.A.E. these denunciations are formulaic and tepid, but Turkey, Egypt and Qatar are virulent against the “Zionist entity” and its “criminal attack”.  In Iraq, President Nour al-Maliki issues a stinging communiqué against Israel’s violation of their territory and airspace.  Egypt goes on full military alert.

Israel begins its assault into southern Lebanon, targeting Hezbollah missile sites and command and control, and actively moving in to secure territory. The IDF has learned its lesson from setbacks during the 2006 war, but Hezbollah has been preparing for this eventuality as well, and progress on the ground is grindingly slow. When a grad rocket scores a direct hit on a family home in southern Israel, killing all the residents including children, Israel moves against Gaza as well, but is forced to do so with only minimal air support as Egyptian anti-aircraft batteries stationed in the Sinai in violation of the Camp David Accord threaten Israeli jets operating in the skies above Gaza. That means taking heavier casualties on the ground among IDF troops. Even after the IDF moderates their tactics, the Egyptians provide arms and equipment to the Sinai jihadists fighting alongside Hamas.

Jihadist forces initiate strikes from the Golan, provoking fierce skirmishes. When Israel counterattacks, Assad may launch surface to surface missiles at Israel as well.

After weeks of fierce fighting, with casualties heavy on both sides, there is no obvious sign that a conclusion is approaching, but pressure begins to grow internationally for a resolution, with the U.S. weighing in favoring a cease-fire on the basis of returning to status quo antebellum.

In conclusion, the Israelis have lost hundreds, possibly thousands of lives; thousands of lives have also been lost in Lebanon, Iran and possibly Syria. Iran’s nuclear weapon program may have been set back a few years at best. Hamas and Hezbollah remain active in at least some form. The Sunni states, such as Saudi Arabia, which had been counting on Israeli success to humble their Shiite antagonist, now agree to make non-aggression agreements with Tehran. In the end, despite the attacks, the Iranian regime emerges effectively strengthened, even if their nuclear weapon ambitions are delayed by one to three years.

Why is this a worst case scenario? Could it not be worse? Certainly Iran could launch missiles against American bases in the region, target shipping and oil rigs in the Gulf, as well as mine the straits of Hormuz. Iran, or Syria could also tip their missiles with chemical warheads, possibly increasing the number of Israeli or American casualties substantially. They could also potentially unleash Al-Quds or Hezbollah terror attacks against the American homeland, with the potential for mass casualties.  However exercising any or all of these options would certainly guarantee American military intervention.  While the Israelis can launch only a single strategic air strike against Iranian facilities before they must return to gear up to defend against the Hezbollah counter attack, the U.S. would almost certainly retaliate against such Iranian actions with a full air campaign, which would lead to substantial degradation of Iran’s nuclear capability and/or seriously disrupt the Iranian security forces, to an extent that the regime may not survive.  While initial casualties would likely be more severe in such a case, the ultimate strategic outcome would be a victory for Israel and the U.S. By comparison, if Iran targets only Israel, it is able to isolate one of its enemies, and is more likely to be able to secure victory, or at minimum, the appearance of victory.

This isn’t to suggest that Israel shouldn’t strike Iran. The Israelis may have no choice but to act to delay an Iranian nuclear weapon, even if for a few years, particularly since the U.S. has expressed no willingness to act. Nor will an Israeli strike necessarily play out in this manner, particularly if Israel utilizes capabilities previously unreported, and if Iran has failed to establish low-tech redundancies to their command and control, weakening their ability to counterattack. There’s also no guarantee that Iran will be able to restrain itself and avoid bringing the U.S into the war.

What the scenario DOES suggest is that when (not if) hostilities kick off in the Middle East, there is the potential for events to move fast and furiously, and for a conclusion to hostilities that severely weakens Israeli, and American, interests, particularly if the Obama administration continues to believe it can sit above the fray.

TERRORIST WHO KILLED AMERICANS ONE MONTH BEFORE 9/11 NOT SOUGHT BY U.S. AFTER 2011 RELEASE
Adam Turner

September 14 2012

On August 9, 2001, a bomb blast pulverized a Sbarro Pizzeria located at the corner of King George Street and Jaffa Road in Jerusalem, one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in Israel.  The blast occurred at 2 pm, on a summer holiday afternoon, when the restaurant was filled with customers and the street crowded with pedestrian traffic. 

The terrorist and his bomb had been transported by taxi to the area by a woman named Ahlam Tamimi and another Palestinian, and it was concealed inside a guitar case. The pizzeria had been carefully selected by Tamimi to maximize civilian casualties. When the Palestinian suicide bomber exploded the bomb, 15 people were killed and at least 130 more were injured. Among those killed in the blast were two American citizens: Judith L. Greenbaum, 31, of New Jersey, and Malka Roth, 15, of New York.  Several other Americans were injured.

On October 18, 2011, as part of the deal made by Israel with Hamas, 1,027 Palestinian prisoners, including Tamimi, were exchanged for Gilad Shalit, an Israeli soldier. After being given money from both Hamas and the Palestinian Authority for her crime, she eventually moved to Jordan, where she has since become a celebrity in the Arab world, hosting her own weekly show on the Hamas satellite TV station, Al Quds. She also found time to get married – with live television coverage of her nuptials – to her equally loathsome terrorist fiancée, another Palestinian murderer who had also been released in the Shalit deal.

Tamimi could be prosecuted by the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for her criminal murders of two Americans and the wounding of the other U.S. citizens. I have already written not one, but two columns about her case and possible prosecution. So far, however, despite attempts by various organizations, including my own, to pressure the DOJ to start these prosecutions, no U.S. criminal prosecution has occurred. The DOJ is blatantly ignoring its obligations under the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 USC Sec. 2332, which calls for the prosecution and punishment, in United States courts, of individuals who murder or maim American citizens in acts of international terrorism. There is also no evidence that the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT) – the office that was created in 2005 specifically to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S. and pressure the rest of the DOJ to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans – has made any real effort to push the DOJ to begin a prosecution of Tamimi.

Nevertheless, I never expected to write a third column on this depraved individual, but then I saw this video interview with Tamimi celebrating the attacks and this heart-wrenching article by the parents of Malka Roth. Both demonstrate just how much Ahlam Tamimi is enjoying her fame and good fortune since her release. Further, these also show how little this particular Palestinian terrorist, the Palestinian “governments,” i.e., the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, and even our supposed ally, the nation of Jordan, respect the United States and the lives of our citizens. A woman responsible for the deaths of two Americans – one only 15 years old and another one pregnant with a child – is smiling and celebrating her crimes all over the Arab world, and she and the Arab governments that celebrate and reward her have absolutely no fear or concern that the United States will take any action to punish her or them. The twisted moral code shown here, and the lack of respect for the U.S., is almost unbelievable.

Should the DOJ ever bestir itself to go after Tamimi, I would like to point out that Tamimi’s post- imprisonment media appearances have made an already airtight case against her even tighter. As she had previously done in an earlier video, Tamimi has once again admitted to her crime on tape, and it may be used by the court to convict her. This is because Tamimi, as the defendant in a U.S. criminal prosecution, would meet the definition of a “party opponent,” and thus, under the federal rules of evidence, anything she says would be admissible in court. See FRE 801(d)(2)(A):

Rule 801. Definitions That Apply to This Article; Exclusions from Hearsay…
(d) Statements That Are Not Hearsay. A statement that meets the following conditions is not hearsay: … (2) An Opposing Party’s Statement. The statement is offered against an opposing party and: (A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity.

Even more importantly, there are now at least two taped confessions and, in contrast to the previous confession, which was filmed while she was still in an Israeli jail, in this most recent interview Tamimi cannot make the (already flimsy) argument that she was somehow forced – by coercion or physical beatings – to admit to her terrorist actions. In Jordan, she is under no duress from anyone; in fact, she is celebrating them.
Ahlam Tamimi has become more than just one Palestinian terrorist with blood on her hands. She is now a symbol of how weak the United States is, how unserious we are about continuing the conflicts formerly labeled the “War on Terror.” The longer her crimes go unpunished, the more dangerous she becomes as that symbol. 

If she escapes justice completely, it will inevitably lead to more dead Americans. 

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.  This column was originally written for the MEF.

More People Must Care about CAIR
Adam Turner

August 31 2012

It has come to my attention that I may be suffering from “CAIRophobia.”

Almost certainly, according to the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), I am already afflicted with “Islamophobia,” which they define as “unfounded fear of and hostility towards Islam. Such fear and hostility leads to discriminations against Muslims, exclusion of Muslims from mainstream political or social process, stereotyping, the presumption of guilt by association, and finally hate crimes.” Islamophobia is actually a term the Muslim Brotherhood – the granddaddy of all Islamist groups – and their cohorts may have invented to take advantage of the bleeding hearts among the politically correct. So, if I am suffering from it, I suppose it is just a short hop to also suffering from “CAIRophobia,” which I define as having a very rational fear of CAIR.

I accept this phobia. In fact, I sure wish some others had CAIRophobia.

CAIR is very busy pressure group these days. Recently, it demanded that the Pentagon drop a former CIA operative who worked inside Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, known by his pseudonym of Reza Kahlili, as a lecturer at the Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy. Although Kahlili is primarily known for teaching, writing and lecturing about the dangers the radical Iranian regime poses to the West, CAIR still felt the need to call for his dismissal for his supposed “anti-Islam agenda” as a former Muslim-turned-Christian. This is all part of CAIR’S continuing quest to purge the Defense Department and other government departments or agencies of the services of any expert who identifies radical Islam as a major threat to our nation. CAIR’s public relations “jihads” have been waged against such people as Robert Spencer, John Guandolo, and Matthew Dooley. In Kahlili’s case, the Pentagon refused to drop him, but it did go out of its way to assure CAIR that Kahlili “does not lecture on or about Islam or any religious treatise, and his personal beliefs are his own.”

CAIR has also recently been hard at work attempting to shame and malign Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and her four congressional compatriots for their letters to the Inspector Generals (IGs) of the Defense Department, the State Department, the Justice Department, the Homeland Security Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. These letters asked the IGs to investigate thoroughly the degree to which members of, or sympathizers with, the Muslim Brotherhood are active in our defense and intelligence communities, and what impact that possible infiltration might be having on our national security. Through its pressure, CAIR presumably hopes to force the congressional leadership to block any such investigation. Harming the political careers of these Congressmen and intimidating others from ever addressing any issue related to radical Islam is an added benefit.

Further, CAIR, with the help of its left-wing friends at the Associated Press, along with other politically correct leftists, has also sought to embarrass and intimidate the New York Police Department (NYPD) from doing its job: protecting the public of New York City. The NYPD has found itself in CAIR’s crosshairs because of its continuing surveillance of Muslim people, mosques, etc. in public areas. Even though going to Muslim-inhabited areas to surveil Muslim terrorists makes as much sense as going to an Italian-American club to surveil possible members of the Italian Mafia or going to an Irish-American bar to surveil potential IRA terrorists, CAIR believes that Muslim Americans deserve the special right not to be surveilled.

The amazing part of all this is that CAIR has an uncanny, Teflon-like ability to avoid mainstream criticism of its own disturbing background.

These are the facts involving CAIR. CAIR is an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. Some of its members have been indicted and then convicted of terrorism, fraud or other criminal charges. Research has shown that CAIR does not seem to have much of an American membership, and that it probably relies on funding from other sources, including the now defunct Hamas-funder, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), and potentially illegal foreign funding, especially from Saudi Arabia. CAIR even hit up the despicable Gaddafi regime in Libya for cash. The executive director of CAIR, Nihad Awad, participated in a three-day summit of U.S.-based members and supporters of the Palestinian terrorist organization Hamas. CAIR refused for many years to unequivocally condemn Hezbollah and Palestinian terror organizations by name, even those which are formally designated terror groups by the U.S. and international community. Members of CAIR have also been caught promotingor making anti-Semitic statements. For much more information on CAIR, just see this website devoted to exposing CAIR, which CAIR unsuccessfully attempted to shut down through a defamation lawsuit.

Luckily, there are some other prominent CAIRophobes. The FBI has severed its ties with CAIR. Numerous U.S. senators and congressmen have condemned it, including Democratic Senators Charles Schumer and Dick Durban. Numerous judges, FBI agents, and even a U.S. attorney have also weighed in.

But there should be plenty more. A simple Google search of the word “CAIR” would lead a researcher to a page with a link to the (above-mentioned) website, “Anti-CAIR.” Anti-CAIR, which is run by Andrew Whitehead, has at the top of its front page these words:

CAIR Founded By Terrorists – “We Know The Founders Of CAIR Are HAMAS Operatives”: CAIR Has Been Identified By The Government At Trial As A Participant In An Ongoing And Ultimately Unlawful Conspiracy To Support A Designated Terrorist Organization, A Conspiracy From Which CAIR Never Withdrew.

Each of these claims is backed up on the website. Further, also on the first page of the Google search, there is the Wikipedia link for CAIR. Wikipedia’s description of CAIR contains many of these same criticisms, listed in a separate section titled “Criticism.” Granted, any Internet user knows to check Wikipedia’s information and claims; but as mentioned before, these criticisms are easily supported on the web.

Yet, somehow, someway, many in the politically correct mainstream, in government and out, and the politically correct mainstream media, continue to interact with CAIR as if they were a normal interest group. Many news organizations simply describe CAIR as only a respectable “Muslim civil rights group,” or simply fail to mention their scandalous past at all. See these articles at the Associated Press, Reuters, and even Fox News. Many interest groups are still willing to work with CAIR as well, including the ACLU and the NAACP. And many government officials still associate with CAIR. At one of its banquets CAIR honored the Sheriff of Los Angeles County for his work with them. Perhaps most disturbingly, members of the Obama administration have admitted to “hundreds” of meetings with CAIR.

If only CAIRophobia were more contagious.


Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Legal Project at the Middle East Forum and the Endowment for Middle East Truth. He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.  This column was originally written for the MEF.

AFTER THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD’S EGYPTIAN COUP – CAN WE STOP FUNDING EGYPT NOW?
Adam Turner

August 31 2012

On August 12, 2012, Egyptian president, and “former” member of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB), Mohamed Morsi sacked the entire leadership of the country’s defense establishment.  He fired Defense Minister Mohamed Hussein Tantawi and Chief of Staff Sami Anan, among others.  He also cancelled all constitutional changes that gave the military enlarged powers over foreign and military policy making, leaving himself alone in the governmental driver’s seat.  And Morsi has cancelled the old constitutional drafting process and plans to develop a new process for drafting Egypt’s new constitution. This was all in reaction to last week’s Sinai terror attack by Islamists from the Gaza strip, in which 16 Egyptian policemen were killed.  As Barry Rubin has written, Morsi “is now the democratically elected dictator of Egypt”, and even a columnist from the usually liberal TIME Magazine confirms Rubin’s sentiment. 

Considering all of this, can we dispense with our silly policy of funding the (now) Islamist controlled Egypt?

In a prior column, I noted some of the many perfidies of the Egyptian regime towards the U.S. and U.S. interests (including the interests of our democratic ally, Israel), other “realist” reasons not to support Egypt, and called for a cessation of the
annual $1 billion plus U.S. aid to that nation. As demonstrated by the recent Egyptian coup, since my prior column the “bad behavior” of the newly consolidated MB government has only continued, reinforcing the original truth of my argument.
For example, the MB continues to support terrorism. Even before he was inaugurated as the new President, Mohammed Morsi vowed to free the “Blind Sheikh,” Omar Abdel-Rahman. Rahman is the spiritual and terrorist leader of the men convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who is now serving a life term in the U.S. for a plot to blow up New York City landmarks. The 1993 Towers Attack, which is often overshadowed by the more destructive attack on 9/11/01, involved a bomb in a parked Ryder truck that was intended to bring both towers down and kill thousands of people. Instead, the 1993 blast only killed six people and injured more than a 1000 others. Also, the MB leadership in Egypt sent a delegation to the White House that included Hani Nour Eldin, who is both an elected member of Egyptian parliament and a member of the Gamaa Islamiya, i.e., the Egyptian Islamic Group—a U.S.-designated terrorist organization.  Eldin used his White House trip to request that the Blind Sheikh be transferred to an Egyptian prison, as a “gift to the (Egyptian) revolution.”  A prior Egyptian delegation to the U.S. government included Abdul Mawgoud Dardery, a former resident of the U.S. who had been implicated – though not charged – in a U.S. child pornography investigation, according to the Investigative Project on Terrorism.

What is worse is that President Mohamed Morsi has provided far more substantial assistance to terrorists.  Morsi has (so far) freed 17 Islamists jailed for terrorism during President Hosni Mubarak’s era. Those released include other members of the above mentioned Gama’a Islamiya, jailed during the group’s armed insurrection against the state in the 1990s, and also members of Islamic Jihad, the movement behind the 1981 assassination of President Sadat. This is on top of the 2,000 Islamists that were released in the 18 months since Mubarak was removed from power, many of them last year on the orders of the council of military generals that steered the transition. One such prominent terrorist is Mohamed al-Zawahri, the brother of Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri.

Further, Morsi and the MB are playing footsy with the genocidal mad mullahs of Iran. Just this month, Morsi met with Iran’s vice president in the highest-level official contact between the two nations in decades. Morsi’s visit “gave Iran a diplomatic coup amid sharpening international pressure over its nuclear program and links to Syria.”

For that matter, as a former member of the MB, Morsi doesn’t get along well with our staunch ally, Israel.  He is fiercely anti-Israel, and it has been reported that he plans to amend the Camp David Accords to “ensure Egypt’s full sovereignty and control over every inch of Sinai” so as to remove those treaty clauses “not deemed beneficial to Egyptian interests.”  Since the chaos of this week began, Egypt has even refused to maintain contact with Israel.

And President Morsi and the MB continue to show disregard for basic human rights, such as freedom of religion and freedom of press, in their quest to implement Sharia law. They continue to lead or sanction the persecution of the Coptic Christian minority. Recently, the entire Christian population of the town of Dahshur was forced to flee from Muslim-initiated violence. This occurred when a Coptic launderer accidentally burned the shirt of a Muslim client, which led to fierce fighting in the town. Apparently, this violence was intensified by a Muslim-Brotherhood cleric who roamed the village “vowing that the village church of St. George will be burned down, its pastor and all the entire Christian inhabitants killed and their homes torched after the burial of Moaz tonight. Then, hundreds of Muslims began looting and burning Coptic businesses and homes, and the Christians all fled. Also, Morsi and the MB increasingly act to limit the freedom of the press and information. Already, the MB controlled Parliament has announced the appointment of new Islamist friendly editors-in-chief of state-owned publications. These new editors will try to make sure that no “unfriendly” views of the MB or President Morsi emerge in any such government controlled newspaper. And, if these unfriendly views somehow sneak through, the MB regime also has no problem with confiscating an offending publication, accusing members of the press of sedition, or even physically attacking them.  Plus, they are already starting to ban books that the MB does not agree with.

In addition to these reasons to axe U.S. aid to Egypt, consider this – the fiscal status of Egypt is increasingly grim. “(T)he country is nearly dead broke, and close to the point where it no longer can finance its $36 billion annual trade deficit.”  The Gulf nation of Qatar may have promised $2 billion in aid to Egypt, but this “is a drop in the bucket; it just replaces the reserves that Egypt lost last month. So is a $3.5 billion IMF loan, under discussion for a year. The Obama administration has been telling people quietly that the Saudis will step in to bail out Egypt, but the Qatari intervention makes this less likely,” since Saudi Arabia apparently wants Morsi and his MB government to take the blame for Egypt’s impending economic disaster. The fact is, Egypt will collapse, regardless of the aid the U.S. gives it. As a result, handing out cash to the MB in Egypt is simply a waste of precious U.S. resources.

So, putting this all together: if our national security interests, our moral concerns, and our own fiscal problems all weight against the U.S. continuing to fund the MB government in Egypt, then perhaps, just maybe, we should stop funding it?  Don’t you think?

And, for God sakes, can President Obama please disinvite President Morsi from his planned trip to the White House?  Why is the U.S. even thinking of rewarding the Middle East’s newest Islamist dictator with a state visit?
Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.

What’s Arabic for ‘Reichstag Fire’?
Kyle Shideler

August 17 2012

The signs were there for those who cared to see them.

Shortly after the August 5th attack on an Egyptian army base in the Sinai, in which more than a dozen Egyptian soldiers were killed by jihadists, who seized two armored personnel carriers and attempted to breach the Israeli border, Egyptian President (and Muslim Brother) Mohammad Morsi responded by sacking the Egyptian intelligence chief, and the governor of Northern Sinai. He also replaced the head of the Egyptian presidential guard. That took place Wednesday, August 8th.  A communiqué issued the same day on the M.B.’s IkhwanWeb.com described a so-called “unfolding conspiracy,” in vague terms, calling the soldiers who died in the attack on the Egyptian base, “victims of treachery and treason” and complaining of an attempt to use the incident to “violently and viciously [target] Islamists.”  President Morsi also ordered APCs, troops and attack helicopters into the Sinai to target the “militants,” but residents were reporting little evidence of battle, although a handful of jihadists were reportedly killed in gunfights over the weekend.

Late Sunday night (in Washington), August 12th, reports began to trickle out that President Morsi had sacked Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) head, Defense Minister Tantawi,  Army Chief-of-Staff Sami Annan and several other notable commanders, and canceled the constitutional arrangement instituted by SCAF intended to limit Morsi’s power. Essam El-Erian, the Chairman of the M.B’s “Freedom and Justice Party,” called the move an effort to “foil counter revolutionary plots.”

It will probably never be known for sure whether the initial attack which precipitated events was in the strictest sense orchestrated by the Muslim Brotherhood in order to engineer the downfall of SCAF. It’s certainly possible, considering accusations by members of the Egyptian military that several high-ranking Hamas members in the Gaza Strip, Ayman Nofal, Raad Atar and Mohammed Abu Shamala, were responsible for the attack. Hamas, after all, openly describes itself as the “Palestinian” chapter of the Brotherhood, and Nofal actually escaped from a Sinai prison during the 2011 revolution, which would have given excellent opportunities for ties with both the Egyptian Brothers and the bedouins who frequently make up the Jihadist factions in the Sinai.

The question of course is what happens now. In all likelihood what little resistance existed to a Muslim Brotherhood state in Egypt is now broken. With SCAF member Abdel Fatah El-Sisi, formerly head of military intelligence taking over as defense minister, and several other key commanders (including the head of the Egyptian 3rd Army based at Suez) taking plum positions in the new hierarchy, it will become increasingly easy to find collaborators within the army structure willing to side with the Muslim Brotherhood.  That means moving forward the M.B. will be able to replace those who participated in or benefited from this bloodless coup, if they should later on resist orders.

For students of revolutionary movements in general, and analysts in the Brotherhood in particular, there ought to have been no surprise here. The only actor in the Egyptian theater which possessed a conspiratorial organization, swiftly and purposefully acting on orders from its leadership was the Muslim Brotherhood.  In heady times of revolution and counter-revolution, such parties are always likely to rise to the top of the pile.

Whether the Brotherhood sparked the events in the Sinai to provide justification to carry out their coup, as the Nazis lit the Reichstag fire to justify their actions, or whether they simply responded to unfolding events with precise and aggressive action is ultimately irrelevant – the outcome, regardless of the excuse, was preordained.  The Egyptian army, the “most secular and pro-western institution in Egypt,” which is the refrain we have heard repeated ad nauseam, has failed to serve as the bulwark to Brotherhood power that we were promised.

Indeed, if there is one silver lining to the weekend’s events in Egypt, it is that policymakers can perhaps finally outgrow their belief in the fictional security blanket of a secular, pro-Western Egyptian military preventing the creation of an Islamist Egypt, and finally move on with the dealing with the world as it really is, one in which Islamism is in a dangerous ascendance across the region.

Kyle Shideler is the Director of Research at the Endowment for Middle East Truth (emetonline.org).

The Answer Is Blowing in The Wind
Sarah Stern

August 14 2012

” Everything would have been fine, if only Hitler wouldn’t have lied to me.”

-Neville Chamberlain

As I write these words, I am returning home from a trip to Prague, Vienna and Budapest. Part of the reason for this trip was to find out where, under these ancient cobble stone streets, or perhaps on the bottom of the much romanticized, meandering Blue Danube, all the extended members of both my mother ‘s and my father’s families had been buried. All those unknown aunts, uncles and cousins, crushed in the passion of the Anschluss, because they had been dismissive of which way the wind had been blowing.

Among the most moving aspects of my trip was a Museum of The Jewish People in Vienna, where on a wall was a high tech visual display of the beautiful, rich and deep Jewish life in that city. We saw the way births, Bar and Bat Mitzvot, weddings and funerals were commemorated. As Ahed Ha. Am had once said, “No Jew was alone in his joy or in his sadness.”

So much like my own community, here in the States…but all wiped out. Gone. Why?

Because these good people, in their innocence could not possibly fathom the magnitude of the hatred that had been thrust upon them. Because in their deepest nightmares or the wildest machinations of their imagination they could not possibly conceive of a war machine that could plan out every precise detail of the Anschluss and of their inevitable destruction.

I write this with profound sadness. I took my young son-in-law and beautiful daughter with me to Europe. They have learned some lessons from our people’s history, and have decided to live out their lives in Israel, to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces, to predicate their lives on a strong, proud, independent, Jewish state, and to share their destiny with that of the Jewish people.

But today’s leaders have not been listening to the violent wind of antisemitism that has been whipping through that dangerous neighborhood in which the Jewish state is situated. They have been dismissive of the role of words and of ideas.

Words and ideas proceed conduct. Words and ideas can kill.

That is why I could not have been any more horrified than when I read that our Secretary of State said in 2009, “Ideology is so yesterday.”

Perhaps it is for her, but is not “so yesterday” for the people who are prepared to strap a belt of dynamite around their waists and explode themselves as they may kill my children with them. It is not “so yesterday” for the Iranian mullahs who are prepared to sacrifice a million of their own people in order “to wipe the Zionist cancer off the map.”

I have learned to listen to the wind. I wish I hadn’t been so alone.  This is not a happy thing for me to report.

I woke up to the news on Sunday, that the recently elected President of Egypt, Mohammad Morsi had just fired General Tantawi, and his military Chief of Staff, Sami Annan, along with commanders of the air force, navy and an anti-aircraft unit. He did so, while dissolving Article 25 of the Egyptian Constitution that affords the Egyptian military some degree of independence and granting them some legislative powers, and therefore making the entire military a part of his Muslim Brotherhood government.

In their stead, Morsi has promoted generals and chiefs of staff who were all part of Muslim Brotherhood sleeper cells.

For the last year and a half, or ever since the events began in Tahrir Square, I, and my small organization, have been alone on Capitol Hill, talking about the radical Islamist wind blowing throughout the Middle East, and arguing that we should terminate, or at the very least suspend, or even condition, military aid to Egypt, until we see what sort of government will take shape.

Unfortunately, other, much more powerful, organizations in pro-Israel community have been on Capitol Hill lobbying for the exact opposite. They have put their considerable strength and prestige behind a request for continuous military aid for Egypt, arguing that the military is the most democratic of all institutions, and that the dire state of the Egyptian economy and their need for an influx of American dollars will keep the military in power, which will serve as an important check on the Muslim Brotherhood government.

The newly appointed head of the Egyptian military, General Abdel Fattah al Sisi, is a known Muslim Brother sympathizer. As quoted by Zanan Abul Magis, a professor at the American University in Cairo, and an expert on the Egyptian military, in today’s Wall Street Journal,” Sisi is known inside the military for being a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer.”

Our government, in the meantime, is falling all over itself, trying to convince itself that because General Sissi had taken a U.S. infantry training course in Fort Benning, Georgia, thirty one years ago, and had recently met with President Barack Obama’s counter terrorism advisor, he will maintain close ties with the American military and uphold Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

This is about as ludicrous a sentiment as could possibly be imagined.

One that is almost rivaled by how we are prostrating ourselves with a huge effort to convince the Islamic Government of Mohammad Morsi to take the 1.5 billion dollars we give in military aid, (which apparently they are ashamed to say to their people that they get from the United States). As we are beseeching them to please accept the additional 500 million dollars offered when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Egypt, last month. This is occurring while the Department of Defense is trying to procure for them, even newer and more advanced weapon systems and technologies

This is akin to after Hitler completed the Anschluss, the Allies begging the the Nazi army to supply tanks and guns needed for the invasion of Poland.

This is because the enlightened ones inside the beltway are still falling into the sandpit of wishful and delusional thinking.

I remember how, before the Gaza withdrawal my friends on the left argued to me that this withdrawal will prove to the entire world, just how far Israel is willing to go for peace, even with the absence of a negotiating partner, and that once we left Gaza, peace will break out, that the Palestinians would begin to appreciate the “peace dividend”, and that “someone has got to be first to break the cycle of violence.”Then, these same left wing friends had argued that Israel will, at least, be able to keep the Philadelphi corridor. Now the Philadelphi corridor is simply a vestibule for continuous arms smuggling.

And last August, when eight Israelis were killed in a cross border attack, the Camp David Treaty between Israel and Egypt had been amended to include an additional 2,500 Egyptian soldiers on the Sinai. Who, in his right mind, really expects the Egyptian military, under Mohammad Morsi to protect Israel from Islamist terrorism?

And Israel is once again alone, facing a mighty military threat deployed along her longest border, the mightiest military threat she has faced in thirty three years. And for all those many years, that Egyptian military had been supplied and trained by the United States. All the illusions and mirages of the Israeli left as well as the assurances and wishful thinking of the United States and the American Jewish left have evaporated under the scorching desert sun of the Middle East, at once.

The answer, my friends, is blowing in the wind.

A Chemical (Weapon) Reaction
Kyle Shideler

August 10 2012

On July 23rd, a spokesman for the Syrian foreign ministry, Jihad Makdisi, issued a public statement warning that the Syrian regime would utilize its long suspected, but officially denied, arsenal of chemical and biological weapons if faced with “external aggression,” while at the same time issuing the statement that they would never be used against the Syrian people, even those currently in rebellion. Those words came as the Assad regime suffered from a series of major setbacks, which included a suicide bombing which killed several key regime leaders, followed by an outbreak of heavy fighting in the Syrian capital of Damascus and the regime stronghold of Aleppo.

The statement was, predictably, widely condemned, but only brings into sharper focus concerns regarding Syria’s weapons stockpile which have been gathering since July 13th, when U.S. officials warned that Syria had begun moving its chemical weapons.  Sources speaking to the Wall Street Journal said they believed the weapons remained under Assad’s control, while Defense Department sources speaking with Fox News warned that local Syrian army commanders may have been responsible for moving the weapons.  Questions abound about what role the weapons might play, ranging from a threat to prevent outside intervention, to their being used to engage in ethnic cleansing to aid in carving out an Alawite-dominated rump-state along the coast. One defector, General Mustapha Sheikh allegedly declared that Assad meant to “burn the country” in retaliation for the high-profile suicide bombing which killed major regime leaders, including Assad’s brother-in-law. Other reports from the Free Syrian Army have suggested that the weapons may be moving towards airports at the borders, although the veracity of those claims is suspect.

Obviously movement in Syria’s weapons of mass destruction arsenal is worrying to all interested parties, but it is of special concern for the Israelis, for whom the Syrian chemical arsenal has always been intended to deter and intimidate. For the Israelis, the issue of greatest concern is the possibility that such weapons may be transferred to Hezbollah, a possibility which the Israelis have called a “red line” which would provoke a “harsh” response. As the situation continues to deteriorate for Assad, the prospect of Israeli action could be an inducement.  But given the fierce resistance to Assad from both the Syrian Sunni community and regional Sunni powers, it is unlikely that a Saddam Hussein-style attempt to provoke the Israelis into action in order to shatter the international consensus will have the intended effect.

Unfortunately analysis is not as straight forward a science as the chemistry which created Assad’s arsenal. But, there are a potent cocktail of potential outcomes which are worth preparing for.

Despite their protests to the contrary, Syria could use chemical weapons against the rebels, the Syrian population in general, or against a neighboring state (most likely Israel with Jordan a close second).  Such a move could come either under Assad’s direction or in localized cases, as regional commanders become desperate to push back the growing rebellion. On a small scale, use of the weapons is likely to provoke severe condemnation and the abandonment by Syria of its remaining key ally, Russia, particularly since Russia has received assurances from Syria that the weapons were contained, and no nation likes being embarrassed after having made public assurances. If used on a large scale, the probability of Western military intervention would increase dramatically. Given these negative outcomes for Assad, the likelihood of an official authorization to use chemical weapons, either domestically or against Israel, seems unlikely as long as there remains any possibility of Assad remaining in power.

Even if the weapons are not used, they remain exceedingly dangerous.  The possibility exists of an authorized transfer of chemical weapons from the regime to Hezbollah, as the Israelis fear. Syria has always been the primary supplier for Hezbollah, and Syria has previously transferred Scud missiles capable of delivering chemical weapons to the Lebanese terror group. While the Syrian regime has had ties to other terror groups, including Al Qaeda, given the anti-Assad stance taken by most jihadist groups, Hezbollah remains the most likely recipient of such weapons if they are transferred by the regime itself. 

Alternatively, there is the possibility of individual commanders attempting to move the weapons to terror groups, including Al Qaeda, motivated either by ideology or in order to raise funds for a comfortable exile if the regime falls. In many ways this is a more dangerous possibility because Western intelligence among the various jihadist groups now active in Syria is limited.  On the other hand, Israel almost certainly dedicates extensive resources to tracking shipments to Hezbollah already and would be more likely to detect a weapons transfer there.

Even if the regime or its followers do not exploit Assad’s chemical weapons, it remains perfectly possible that the opposition or elements within it may. Just as anti-air missiles and other dangerous conventional weapons went missing in Libya following Qaddafi’s fall, the prospect exists for a similar arms “fire sale” in Syria if/when the regime falls.

In order to prevent the worst outcomes, several actions need to be taken. One, the West (and the United States in particular) must be absolutely credible in its deterrence towards the Syrian regime.  In no uncertain terms, it must be made clear to Assad that the consequences of either using or proliferating these weapons will be overwhelming.  To an extent, the Obama administration has done a decent job on this front, although as Assad’s position deteriorates, it becomes increasingly difficult because he has less and less to lose.  The second is to take steps to acquire or destroy Syria’s chemical arsenal. Offers of immunity and financial incentives can be offered to regime members, or opposition militias, who agree to turn over chemical stockpiles to the West to be destroyed. If all else fails, military action to destroy such weapons may become necessary, although this is less than ideal, since it may either provoke a “use it or lose it” response from Assad or lead to an accidental dispersal of chemical agents if air strikes are used. Most likely, planning for both options is heavily classified and already underway. But if not, they should begin in earnest immediately.

Finally, warnings need to go out to other regimes beside Assad’s, most particularly Iran, to make clear that they ultimately will be held responsible for the use of chemical weapons by any of their proxy forces or terrorist groups.  Such deterrence requires utter certainty, on the part of the terror sponsor, that a chemical weapons terrorist attack would mean the end of their regime for good.

When it comes to weapons of mass destruction, there are frequently no good choices. Making the best of a bad situation means acting decisively and with clarity of purpose. Given the Libya example (among others), it is fair to say these traits have not been the hallmark of the Obama Administration to date. Even so, when it comes to Syria’s chemical weapons, there is every incentive to get it right, and no room for error.

Appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood Crocodile
Sarah N. Stern & Kyle Shideler

July 19 2012

This weekend, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made her first visit to Egypt since Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was elected president of Egypt. Despite the fact that her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and stones and protesters chanted “Monica, Monica,” the Secretary seemed to be willfully blinding herself as to what “Islamism” and the Muslim Brotherhood actually represent.

A clue as to their real intentions, not just for Israel, but for the United States, was that at his very first public appearance addressing throngs of admiring Egyptians, Mohammad Morsi vowed to get the “blind sheik,” Omar Abdul -Rahman, released from prison in the United States.

Remember who this individual is: He is the person who had planned and executed the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993 and, with his followers, was planning to blow up several significant landmarks in the New York City area, including the George Washington bridge, the Holland Tunnel, the Lincoln tunnel, a government building that houses the FBI and the United Nations, all within five minutes.

During the visit with Mohammad Morsi, the Secretary of State announced, “I have come to Cairo to reaffirm the strong support of the United States for the Egyptian people and for your democratic transition.” Also in the speech were vows of a billion dollars in aid for “Egyptian debit relief” (one wonders is that separate from the 1.3 billion dollars we give them in military aid each year?), as well as several additional economic packages. She praised President Morsi for his statement that he would “work with all Egyptains,” and in soft, muted tones, mentioned that he should work with the SCAF, or the Egyptian Generals.

To her benefit, the Secretary of State did mention the continuing value of maintaining the Camp David Peace Treaty with Israel, but, unfortunately, added these very ominously ambiguous words: “And on this foundation, we will work together to build a just, comprehensive, regional peace in the Middle East based on two states for two people with peace, security, and dignity for all.”

This leaves open the possibility of the Camp David Accords being misinterpreted as being contingent on a final deal between Israel Palestinian Authority. Is it any surprise, then, that Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr, at the same press conference, added the following:

I would like to add something about the peace treaty. Mr. President has repeatedly reaffirmed, and on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself. And today, he once again reiterated this issue and also reiterated that Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4th, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.

Of course, the Secretary of State just sat there and let him say this. This is a very ominous signal and flies in the face of history in terms of how the United States has treated the territories that had been captured in Israel’s defensive war of 1967.

1.) It ignores the entire meaning of United Nations Resolutions 242 which clearly establishes Israel’s rights for “secure and recognized boundaries.” Hitherto, Israel has always been intentionally given tremendous flexibility by the United States as to how much territory it is obligated to withdraw from in order to establish these “secure and recognized boundaries,” or what President Ronald Reagan had called “defensible borders.”

In fact, in the immediate aftermath of the 1967 war, President Johnson had said that “an immediate return to the situation as it was on June 4 before the outbreak of hostilities” was not “a prescription for peace, but for renewed hostilities.” He stated that the “old truce lines” had been “fragile and violated.” What, in Johnson’s view was required were “recognized boundaries” that would provide security against, terror, destruction and war.”

This, up until now, had been the view of every successive American administration and characterizes a radical departure.

2.) The fact is that we have always assumed that international peace treaties, such as the one brokered between Egypt and Israel, do not involve outside parties, such as the Palestinian Authority. As the Obama administration always stresses, “that should be left up to the parties themselves.”

Having a continuation of the 33-year-old treaty becoming contingent upon a resolution of the Palestinian conflict (with a return to the pre-1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital), both sets up the Palestinians for failure and threatens to undermine the 33-year-old peace treaty between Egypt and Israel.

For one, the Palestinians have refused to sit down and negotiate with Israel. And even if they were to, one can well understand how, with over ten thousand rockets flying into southern Israel as a result of the Gaza withdrawal, the Israelis remain quite reluctant to withdraw from Judea and Samaria, or the “West Bank,” if you will. Such a withdrawal would bring virtually every Israeli city within target range of Kassam missile attack. It would also put Ben Gurion Airport within easy striking distance from the Palestinian city of Qalkiya. Can you imagine what just one Kassam missile would do to the nation of Israel if it shot at a plane about to descend upon the Israeli airport. All air traffic would be shot down, and the nation of Israel would remain cut off from the rest of the world.

If every treaty were contingent upon regional peace and stability, would the Obama administration pre-condition peace with the Palestinians upon peace with Syria?

In her haste to please the new “democratically elected” leader of Egypt (as we at EMET have so often argued: “one election, does not a democracy make”), the Secretary of State remained uncharacteristically mute.

Underlying all of this is a total lack of understanding by the Obama administration of what the Muslim Brotherhood actually believes, or worse, a case of “willful blindness.”

Another example of this was an invitation issued from the Oval Office by President Obama to meet with Mohammad Morsi. The rapidity with which the invitation was extended, just after the Egyptian elections, even as the elected Muslim Brotherhood President and the Egyptian military continue to maneuver to determine the extent of presidential power, is representative of the support the Obama administration is willing to give the Muslim Brotherhood.  It shows the extent to which they clearly regard the Muslim Brotherhood as a respectable, legitimate institution, and the democratically elected leaders of Egypt.

We are certain that the Obama administration is fully aware that their views of the Brotherhood are most emphatically not shared by most Americans. In an example of “mother knows best,” a survey of American mothers conducted by the Tarrance Group in 2011 showed that just 16% of American moms believed that the U.S. should negotiate with the Muslim Brotherhood.

Those who would attempt to argue that while “they may not like the Brotherhood” the Obama administration has “no choice” but to deal with them, are missing two fundamental points:

1.) Far from “not liking” the Brotherhood, the Obama administration has gone out of its way to ensure a Brotherhood victory. It was the Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, after all, that was invited to Washington and met with key White House staff. No such invitation was extended to any of the smaller struggling liberal parties who might have benefited from Washington’s embrace. And according to sources with contacts in Egypt, it is widely believed within the Egyptian security services that SCAF was warned by the U.S. against announcing victory for their preferred candidate Ahmed Shafiq. Shafiq has since fled the country.

2.) The Muslim Brotherhood simply cannot be regarded as one of any number of legitimate political parties who have successfully been elected, and thus must be met with, regardless of minor differences in political interests. Formed in 1928, only four years after Hitler took over command of the Nazi party, the Muslim Brotherhood is by its very nature a conspiratorial and totalitarian party, entirely dedicated to seizing power and implementing their ideology of political Islam and rule by Sharia law. Those who have read its chief ideologue Sayyid Qutb’s key work, Milestones, will tell you that it reads more like an organizational memo of the COMINTERN then it does a religious document. It is first and foremost a work describing the formation and training of revolutionary cadres for the eventually seizing of political power, although this intent is expressed in religious language. The mere fact that the Muslim Brotherhood has participated, and won, fairly or unfairly, the Egyptian election is irrelevant. As Qutb writes,

Islam possesses sufficient flexibility to enter into any system and mold that system according to its purposes; but this flexibility in the outward forms of Islamic civilization does not mean any flexibility in the Islamic belief, which is the fountainhead of this civilization, nor is it to be considered as borrowed from outside, for it is the character of this religion. However, flexibility is not to be confused with fluidity. There is a great difference between these two.

Nor has there been any deviation from these principles in the 84 years in which the Muslim Brotherhood has been in existence. It can be instituted in stages, or phases, but the basic principles of the Brotherhood do not change. Deputy Guide to the Muslim Brotherhood, Khairat al-Shater, expressed in clear terms that the Brotherhood has not altered itself one iota from the original principles established in 1928. In March of 2011, al-Shater was recorded giving a key address regarding the Brotherhood’s efforts to date:

Naturally, Constants are not subject to developing, hanging, addition or omission; only Variables are. You all know that our main and overall mission as Muslim Brothers is to empower God’s Religion on Earth, to organize our life and the lives of people on the basis of Islam, to establish the Nahda [Renaissance] of the Ummah and its civilization on the basis of Islam, and to subjugation of people to God on Earth.

There is absolutely no obligation in American policy or principles to honor, with high profile public meetings, organizations which fully express their intention to “subjugate.” This is especially true when they are openly understood to use any talks on your part in order to enter into and mold your system according to their purposes. Sadly, it is now widely understood by terrorists and totalitarians of all stripes that with the thinnest veneer of democratic pretensions the United States will treat you with the same recognition and respect which it grants Britain or France. This isn’t to suggest that the Muslim Brotherhood can be ignored. It is now, thanks in large part to the Arab Spring and Obama administration policies, a major player in the region, and it must be recognized as such. But it should be greeted with distrust and distaste, as previous totalitarian parties have been. It would be a worthwhile maxim for this administration, and indeed all future administrations, that if you are embarrassed enough by the party you are embracing that you’d prefer to dissemble to the American people about it, then perhaps you shouldn’t be embracing them to begin with.

Unfortunately, the current administration is willfully blinding themselves to the facts of what Islamism really means.

As Sir Winston Churchill once said, “He who appeases the crocodile is only eaten last.”

Once Again, Hillary Clinton is Silent as Israel Gets Thrown Under the Bus
Sarah Stern

July 19 2012

On November 11, 1999, then First Lady Hillary Clinton paid a visit to Mrs. Suha Arafat in Ramallah. Mrs. Clinton sat by calmly and dispassionately as Mrs. Arafat made an outrageous allegation that the Israelis had been poisoning Palestinian air and water. When Mrs. Arafat finished speaking, what was the former First Lady’s response? A warm embrace and a kiss on the cheek.

This week we saw another reserved, passive response by Mrs. Clinton, as the historical facts of the Middle East conflict became radically dissembled in front of her

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ran to Cairo to welcome in Mohammad Morsi, the new President of Egypt, and former head of the Muslim Brotherhood. Despite the fact that her motorcade was pelted with tomatoes and shoes, the Secretary of State remained unruffled, as she rushed to bestow American legitimacy on the newly elected President of Egypt, who incidentally, in his very first Press Conference stated his intention to free from an American prison Sheik Omar Abdul Rahman, (known as “The Blind Sheik”), and mastermind of the first World Trade Center Bombing in 1993.

Immediately after meeting with Mohammed Morsi, there was a Press Conference with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and the Egyptian Foreign Minister Amr.  At one point, Mr. Amr stated, “I would like to add something about the peace treaty. Mr. President has repeatedly reaffirmed, and on all occasions, that Egypt continues to respect all treaties signed as long as the other party to the treaty respects the treaty itself. And today, he once again reiterated this issue and also reiterated that Egypt’s understanding of peace is that it should be comprehensive, exactly as stipulated in the treaty itself. And this also includes the Palestinians, of course, and its right to – their right have their own state on the land that was – the pre June 4th, 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital.”

Again, the Secretary of State sat silently, and let this radical departure in the meaning of the Camp David Accords be stated.

Israel has had a 33 year period of relative calm based on the Camp David Treaty. It has been an icy cold peace, but a peace, none-the-less. This peace was supposed to have ushered in “a comprehensive framework” of peace between Israel and all its Arab neighbors. It was a paradigm that was supposed to have been modeled by Israel and all of the individual states that have declared war on the Jewish state, since its birth, in 1948.

The peace with Egypt has heretofore, never been predicated on a peace with all of the other Arab neighboring parties. It would be absurd to make that a condition.

If Abu Mazen would suddenly be convinced to start negotiating once again with Israel, would we in the international, foreign policy community say, “No, You can’t negotiate for a two state solution without getting the Syrians involved , as well?”

What makes this so pernicious is that it flies in the face of commitments made from every single president since Johnson that Israel must have “secured and recognized boundaries” or “defensible borders”. In fact, in an iron clad letter of assurance that was written by President George W. Bush, prior to the Gaza withdrawal on April 14, 2004, and given to Prime Minster Sharon stated that,” The United States reiterates its steadfast commitment to Israel’s security, including secure, defensible borders, and to preserve and strengthen Israel’s capability to deter and defend itself, by itself, against any threat or possible combination of threats.”

If Israel were to go back to the pre-1967 lines, she would be nine miles wide in her narrowest waist. It would make every single Israeli city within easy striking distance of a Kassam missile attack. It would endanger the safety and security of every Israeli man, woman and child.

And what of all of the assurances that Americans have heard for years upon years from American Presidents and politicians about the indivisibility of Jerusalem? Did the Secretary of State suddenly have a bout of amnesia, when the Foreign Minister Amr simply threw the division of Jerusalem into the mix as being a condition of a sustained peace treaty between Israel and Egypt?

Again: A deafening silence on the part of the Secretary of State.

Finally, today as we mourn the loss of seven innocent Israelis whose Israeli tour bus was targeted in Burgas, Bulgaria, we are reminded that Israel, unfortunately, has been more affected by acts of terrorism than any single nation in the world.

Yet, Mrs. Clinton has issued invitations to twenty nine Middle Eastern and European countries to her Global Counterterrorism Forum in Madrid. These were all countries affected by terrorism. Which country was glaringly omitted? You guessed it, Israel.

While this administration is running to accord legitimacy to someone who had been, until last week, a leading member of the Muslim Brotherhood, we are forgetting about all the innocent victims of that very organization’s teachings.

Through both her acts of omission and commission, Secretary Clinton is simply throwing Israel under the bus.

The Many Conflicts of Syria
Kyle Shideler

July 10 2012

Since it evolved from the early Arab Spring-style demonstrations in some Syrian cities, to what is now, in the words of Bashar Assad, “a real state of war from all angles,” the Syrian conflict has drawn in nearly every interested party in the Middle East, leading to a confused and tumultuous situation with multiple interests at stake for every party.

Indeed we may be better served to talk about the multiple “conflicts” taking place in Syria, if we want to have any kind of accurate understanding of the situation as it now exists. Not all of them are shooting wars, but there are serious military and political conflicts being played out in Syria which will have consequences for the future of the entire region.

The first and most obvious conflict is that between the Syrian rebels and the regime of Bashar Assad. Taken as a whole the Syrian rebels’ position has improved substantially. Institute for the Study of War Fellow Joseph Holliday suggests that the Syrian opposition is reaching the point where it will control more territory than the regime, and has reduced the ability of Assad’s forces to maneuver outside of the urban territory they control in Damascus, Homs and other key areas. FSA commander Riad Al-Asaad stated in a recent interview that morale in the Syrian army was considered low and that in particular the elite 4th Armored Division, the Syrian Praetorian guard commanded by Bashar relative Maher Assad, had “completely collapsed.” Because of the rapid changes taking places within Syria, a plan for a buffer zone on the Turkish-Syrian border to protect Syrian refugees is now considered irrelevant by the FSA, which considers itself to be on the offensive now against Assad even as it complains of weapon and ammunition shortages.

Another growing potential conflict is between Turkey and the Syrian regime following the downing of a Turkish fighter jet somewhere near the Syrian border. Syrian officials and anonymous members of U.S. intelligence have suggested that the Turkish jet was likely inside Syria proper when fired upon, while the Turks have vehemently maintained that the jet was fired on in international waters. In response, the Turks have reinforced their positions on the Syrian border, including scrambling fighter jets in response to Syrian aircraft on the Syrian side. British papers have reported that the Syrian Air defense may have been assisted in downing the Turkish aircraft by Russian technicians. According to the reports, the downing of the aircraft was intended as “warning” to NATO not to risk intervention.

This hints at another existing conflict – Russia versus the United States.  While it engages in talks in Geneva with Western diplomats, the Russian bear continues to take steps to keep its Syrian client engaged and in the fight. Reports of Russian troops moving into Syria have continued at a steady pace since March, while the U.S. State Department complains ineffectually about the flow of Russian arms to Syria. The U.S. sees distancing Russia from Syria to be the key to solving the crisis. This has resulted in repeated efforts to produce joint agreements, such as the recent Geneva compromise.  This latest effort was promptly rejected by the Syrian opposition since it was watered down to secure Russian cooperation to the point that it failed to call for Assad to leave power despite calling for a “transitional” government. It’s high time the U.S. recognize that its interests in Syria are in direct conflict with Russian interests, and that Russia cannot realistically be expected to act as a partner in securing an Assad-free Syria.

Then there is the struggle for the soul of the Syrian opposition.  As reported by The New Republic, the Free Syrian Army, led primarily by former Syrian officers, is concerned about the growth of jihadist elements in Syria, which led them to execute the “Emir of Homs” Walid al-Boustani, a Lebanese-born jihadist with ties to Al-Qaeda-linked Fatah-Al-Islam.  Fortunately the history of cooperation between the Syrian regime and jihadist groups, including Al Qaeda, means that there is a strong element of distrust for these groups among the Syrian populace as a whole. However if the FSA should prove unable to effectively engage in opposition to Assad, while jihadist forces succeed in taking the fight to the enemy, this support may change.

The New York Times reported on the role of the CIA in Syria, which is seeking to keep arms from flowing to Al Qaeda-linked militants as outside forces, most notably Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, begin to traffic arms to the Syrian opposition. Unfortunately, it seems that the U.S. is intent on seeing arms directed to the Muslim Brotherhood, through its control of the Syrian National Council. The SNC has made clear in repeated statements that it intends to dominate the rebel forces in country by serving as the primary channel for foreign arms assistance. To that end it has established a “military council” to “support, organize and oversee” the FSA, a move backed by the U.S. The SNC has repeatedly stressed, in their own words, ”the importance of the SNC providing the political cover to avoid the uncontrolled distribution of arms as well as be able to control it later on.”

While U.S. pundits may continue to quibble over the role of the Brotherhood within the SNC, the Syrians themselves have largely acknowledged it.  “They are saying that there are weapons in depots here (in Turkey) but they won’t release them to us because we are not pledging allegiance to them. They want us to follow Saudi Arabia or a big organization like the Brotherhood,” said one Syrian arms broker speaking to Time magazine.  “We are refusing this. That’s why the next batch of weapons has been delayed. Either we follow them, and get lots of weapons, or we don’t and die.”

The prominence of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Syrian rebellion has led to yet one more conflict of interests playing out inside Syria, between the Sunni Arab regimes in the region. Currently there is no “upside” for U.S. interests in this crucial conflict, largely because the Obama administration continues to insist that the Muslim Brotherhood is an acceptable regional actor, and has put the U.S. on the side of the Muslim Brotherhood in the regional conflict between the Brotherhood and the old guard Sunni regimes. This is due to a misconception held by the Obama Administration, which views the Muslim Brotherhood as a legitimate Islamist opposition to jihadist forces represented by Al Qaeda. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have both expressed concerns regarding the growth of Brotherhood power in the region, while Qatar and the Turks have largely supported it.  The Saudis and their allies may have an interest in seeing some other force than the Brotherhood winning in Syria, which may lead them to back other forces, particularly if the FSA is subsumed by the Brotherhood-controlled SNC. Of course it is equally possible that they may see a Muslim Brotherhood-held Syria as a better option than Assad remaining in power.

The final conflict is between the Sunni and Shia.  A defeat for Assad would be a defeat for Iran, the leading Shia state, and in that sense the Syrian conflict can also be viewed through the lens of the Sunni-Shia competition and the Sunni states fear of an aggressive Iranian regime.  For many western analysts, this has been the conflict to which many are most attuned. Assad is an ally of Iran, and if Assad goes, Iran is weakened, ergo Assad should fall, whatever the cost.

In sum, the United States’ Syria policy has been deeply confused, in each of the numerous conflicts now taking place around Syria. In the fight for control of the Syrian opposition, the U.S. has backed the Muslim Brotherhood over overt jihadists, which insures an Islamist victor ideologically hostile to the United States over other more preferable actors. It has failed to recognize the interests at play for Russia, leaving the U.S. continuing to seek Russian complicity in a series of negotiations which are ultimately doomed to failure. Its desire for agreement with the Russians has led it to neglect the goal of ousting Assad and dealing a setback to Iran, which alienates the U.S. among the very rebels we seek to support. In dealing with Turkey, The U.S., through NATO, has both supported Turkey, while casting doubt upon its claims at the same time.

Ultimately as we began the piece by noting, the situation in Syria is made up of multiple interwoven conflicts. The U.S. has a coherent policy for none of them.

J’Accuse
Adam Turner

July 06 2012

On July 4, 2012, a 17-year-old Frenchman was the victim of a violent anti-Semitic attack on a train from Lyon to Toulouse.  The teenager is a student of Ozar Hatorah school in Toulouse, where three children and a family were killed by Mohamed Merah on March 19.  A source close to the investigation said that the attackers noticed a chain around his neck.  Aged about 18 years, the two suspects were arrested in an army recruitment office in Lyon.  A police source told AFP that the two men, of North African origin, had no criminal record.

Why anyone is surprised about this attack is beyond me.

As we all know, like much of Europe, France has a long history of anti-Semitism.  As noted scholar Dr. Daniel Pipes has said, “anti-Semitism is not new in France.  France never purged itself of anti-Semitism, it just hid it.”

In 1895, Alfred Dreyfus, a patriotic French Jew, was convicted of treason for supposedly providing secret information to Imperial Germany.  Dreyfus’ trial was a sham, and his conviction was largely based on anti-Semitic feelings among the French elites, the jury and the populace.  Three years after Dreyfus’ exile to the French penal colony of Devil’s Island, on January 13, 1898, French Journalist Emile Zola published an article J’accuse (“I Accuse”) – in the form of a letter to the French President – in which he accused a cabal of high ranking military officers, and other members of the French elite, of making Dreyfus a scapegoat because he (Dreyfus) was a Jew, and even though many of them actually knew who the real traitor was.  Zola published his article at high risk to himself – he could be – and was – prosecuted for criminal libel.  Eventually, as a direct result of Zola’s actions, Alfred Dreyfus was exonerated, and released from Devil’s Island.

The Dreyfus trial may have caused some Frenchmen to reevaluate their feelings towards Jews for the a period of time.  But if so, that was then, and this is now.  Today, anti-Semitism, and violent attacks on French Jews – who number more than half a million – are prevalent.  The French Interior Ministry has detailed that there were 148 anti-Semitic incidents in March and April of 2012, including 43 classified as violent — a huge jump over the 14 violent attacks recorded in the same period in 2011.  The data also demonstrated that there were 69 instances of anti-Semitic intimidation and threats in March and 36 such incidents in April.  Apparently, the vicious murder of three Jewish children and one man, in March by Mohammed Merah in Toulouse actually prompted more violence against Jews, rather than shaming the French populace to oppose anti-Semitism.  In fact, in the 10 days following the Toulouse massacre, there were no fewer than 90 anti-Semitic incidents.  And this anti-Semitic violence has been ongoing for at least a decade – anti-Semitic attacks accounted for half of all racist attacks in France in 2002.

Much of the anti-Semitism, and many of the violent attacks against French Jews, has been initiated by Muslim Frenchmen, the descendants of Algerians and Moroccans who have immigrated to France.  The Muslim population of France is now between four to six million, about 6-10% of the total population.  In 2004, the French government commissioned a report, called the Obin Report, on “the Signs and Manifestations of Religious Affiliation in Educational Establishments,” which showed a deep infiltration by radical Islam into the vast majority of French schools, and the development of a vitriolic hatred for Jews among the Muslim population.  This report was so alarming to the French government that the report was initially buried.  However, the results of this rise in Muslim anti-Semitism cannot be so easily buried.  As a result of this Muslim anti-Semitism, according to the National Bureau of Vigilance against anti-Semitism, nearly four hundred physical attacks against Jews occurred in France in 2011 — more than one a day – and all of these attacks were committed by Muslims.

In addition to the Toulouse massacre, here are some other examples of attacks caused by Muslim Frenchmen against French Jews.  On June 2, 2012, three young Jews wearing skullcaps were attacked in Villeurbanne, a suburb of Lyon, by a dozen individuals who beat them with hammers and iron bars.  The attackers were described as “of North African origin,” and shouted insults against the Jewish religion of the victims before assaulting them physically.  On January 4, 2009, a 29-year old Jewish man was attacked at a Paris subway station by a gang of 20 people who yelled “Palestine will win.” And in 2006, the best known case of French Muslim violence towards Jews, until Toulouse, was the brutal murder of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Parisian Jew.  Halimi had been lured to an apartment, and sadistically tortured to death by Arab and African Muslim Frenchmen.  One gang member later admitted to having put out a cigarette on Halimi’s face “because he did not like Jews.”

Jewish leaders continue to express their concern with the dangerous situation in France, and continue to be ignored by the French government, media, and elites.  Joel Mergui, President of the Jewish group called Central Consistory, has said the country’s Jews are under constant attack. “Not a week goes by without anti-Semitic attacks in France.  I refuse to believe Jews were forced to choose between security and Jewish identity.”  The Chief Rabbi of the Great Synagogue in Lyon, Richard Wertenschlag, called the environment “unbearable.  These incidents are becoming more frequent, so much so, unfortunately, so that they take it for granted,” he said.  And Rabbi Michel Sarfati, who created a Jewish-Muslim friendship group, has lamented, “Don’t tell me French Muslims appreciate Jews – 50 percent of them hate Jews.  Many hate Jews because extremist imams denigrate Jews in their sermons.  They say we’re Israel’s puppets.  Moderate Muslims try to fight this hatred, but they’re being threatened, and they get no support from the state.”  Even former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, in 2004, told a meeting of the American Jewish Association in Jerusalem that French Jews should relocate to Israel because of rising violence against Jews there.

So what are the French government, and the French elites, doing about this?  Like the Rabbi said, pretty much nothing useful.  Indeed, “(t)he work of the French media and academia reveals that a majority of members are not only leftist in their outlook, but anti-American and anti-Israel as well and, elements are allied with radical Islamists.  Official policies of the French government since 1967 show they have sought cooperation with the Arab world at the expense of Israel.  The actions of the media, academia and the government have all contributed to the rise of anti-Semitism.”  Also, politically correct attitudes continue to squelch complaints or even reports of the incidents, even among so-called “anti-racist organizations,” which instead focus solely on the anti-Semitism of the native French extreme-right.

In fact, things are so bad that French Jews are just learning to live with the problem.  Nowadays, most of the Jewish victims of anti-Semitic acts don’t even bother going to the French police anymore, as they know that their complaint is likely to be ignored.  For the few incidents that result in an arrest by the police, the victims actually have to worry that those who were arrested may then seek revenge against those who complained, with the authorities refusing to protect the true victims.  And many French Jewish students of Moroccan ancestry try to pass themselves off as Muslim – with some even going as far as to fast on Ramadan.  Others simply emigrate to Israel or other safer nations.

I don’t think anyone should have to learn to live with this problem.  “I dare (to criticize it).  (I) Dare to tell the truth, for I have pledged to tell the full and complete truth if the normal channels of justice failed to do so.  My duty is to speak out; I do not wish to be complicit.”

Also:

I accuse the French government, the media and the elite of ignoring the rise of French anti-Semitism, which makes fighting it almost impossible.

I accuse the French government, the media and the elite of being afraid – based on politically correct concerns – of identifying the increasing problem of French Muslim anti-Semitism, which makes fighting it almost impossible.  In fact, I have written a whole column on this sad fact before.

I accuse the French government of refusing to crack down on radical Imams preaching anti-Semitism to their parishioners, which makes fighting it almost impossible.

I accuse the French government, the media and the elite of practicing the three D’s against Israel – the Demonization, the use of Double Standards, and the Delegitimization of Israel.  This inevitably leads to anti-Semitism directed against innocent Jews.

I accuse the French government, the media, and the elite of refusing to make a good faith effort to integrate its Muslim population into France, and instead of promoting the discredited cause of multiculturalism.  This has led to the rise of radical Islam, and the rise of anti-Semitism.

“This is the plain truth, Sir, and it is frightful… (But) Do not think that I despair of triumphing in the slightest.  I repeat with the most vehement conviction: truth is on the march, and nothing shall stop it.”

The truth is, anti-Semitism is on the march in France, and the French government, media, and elite are doing nothing about it.  And I – for one – won’t allow the French to ignore this fact.

Never Underestimate the Power of the Ideologue
Sarah N. Stern

June 26 2012

Sunday morning, Egyptian time, Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood was declared the winner in the Egyptian Presidential elections. This is a watershed event.

The Muslim Brotherhood is a radical Islamist group that was founded in 1928 by Hassan al Banna, a devotee of Adolf Hitler. For eighty four years it has been a goal of the Muslim Brotherhood to turn Egypt into an Islamist state, and to be able to spread the flag of Islam throughout the world.

Many people have called this, “A milestone for Egyptian democracy”. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is as much “a milestone for democracy in Egypt “, as the voting in of Hamas is” a milestone for democracy in Gaza”, or the voting in of Hitler was “a milestone for democracy in Nazi Germany.”

Democracy is more than one vote, one time. It is the ability to have a second, a third and a fourth vote. It means that the institutions of a liberal democracy are in place: a free press, freedom of worship for minorities, freedom of assemblage, freedom for women and for gays. Or as the great Soviet dissident, Natan Sharansky had written, “It is the freedom to be able to stand in the town square and criticize the government without fear of one’s very life.”

For the last sixteen months, since the fall of the Mubarak regime, many of my colleagues from other pro-Israel organizations have been on Capitol Hill, lobbying that we have to continue our aid to the Egyptian military, arguing that the Supreme Council Armed Forces, (SCAF) is the most Western of institutions in Egypt.

As tempting as it might sound, it would be a serious misreading of the strength of the Muslim Brotherhood   to believe that because SCAF had dissolved the Islamist dominated parliament on June 17th, and vowed to write their own Constitution, that the building up of the military would act as a counterbalance against the Muslim Brotherhood, and safeguard democracy in Egypt.

The Muslim Brotherhood is as strong as a lion and as sly as a fox. They hung back during the early days of the revolution in Tahrir Square, making it appear that the age of the totalitarian regime of Mubarak was finally falling to the age of the free and enlightened Face-Book and Twitter Generation. The well-intentioned young, educated minority were working to overthrow the Pharonic like suffocation of Mubarak, but most never would have imagined that they were just bartering one sort of state-imposed suffocation for another, mosque-imposed suffocation.

The Muslim Brotherhood was waiting in the wings, knowing full well that the vast majority of Egyptians were neither well educated nor sophisticated, and relied upon the local mosque for most of their information.

According to a February 2011 Pew Poll, a full 95 per cent of Egyptians felt it was “a good thing” for “Islam to play an active role” in politics.  77 per cent felt that “thieves should be flogged or have their hands cut off”; 82 per cent felt that adulterers should be stoned to death; 84 per cent felt that apostates should face the death penalty.

We, at EMET, also have been warning, since the revolution first began eighteen month ago, in Tahrir Square, that is time, once and for all, to cease our American taxpayer’s dollars from flowing into Egypt, at least until we knew the results of the elections, what sort of government would be formed, and whether or not this government would adhere to existing treaties with Israel.

Ever since 1979, we have taken the Egyptian military and we have built it from a C-, Soviet equipped military to an A+, American equipped one.

It is our fear that these sophisticated weapons might be aimed at Israeli soldiers or civilians.

Imagine, if you will, an all too likely scenario:  A barrage of Kassam missiles comes raining down into southern Israel and the Eshkol region from Gaza. Men women and children are developing all sorts of psychological symptoms and are living in fear. They each have approximately 15 seconds to run to shelter.

Israel is then forced to do, what any other nation would do under those same circumstances.  Under article 41 of the United Nations Charter,  any nation has an obligation to defend its civilian population. The Israelis make the decision to re-enter Gaza to protect and defend the lives of its citizens whose lives have become a living hell.

Would the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt then feel it is necessary to defend their brothers in Gaza? Would our American made weapons be used against Israeli soldiers and civilians?

There are many who argue that our 1.3 billion dollars in military assistance buys us a seat at the table. ask you:  What sort of leverage has this “seat” at this imaginary “table” bought us over the past 33 years?

Has is made it more comfortable for American style, Western NGO’s in Egypt? Has it prevented the Egyptian people from attacking the Israeli embassy? Has it prevented them from countless attacks on the gas pipeline to Israel? Has it prevented the cross border raids into Israel, one resulting in the murder of eight Israelis, last summer, and one in another Israeli, just last week? Has it resulted in a modification of the vitriol used against Israel and the United States? Has it resulted in guarantees that the Egyptians will adhere not only to the letter, but to the spirit of the Camp david Accords?

During the Egyptian election season, we have heard everything from spokesmen for the Muslim Brotherhood from,” We will uphold the Camp David Treaty with Israel”, to “We will take it to a referendum, to “We cannot be held hostage by a hollow, outdated treaty.”

My suspicion is that the Muslim Brotherhood might, at least initially pay lip service to the Camp David Treaty in order to secure the continuous flow of money from the United States into their bankrupt economy, but that that these will be simply hollow promises.

I fear that there will always be an abundance of naive American “experts” inside the beltway who will be willing to believe them.  I fear that it will not be too long before they will borrow a page from Yassir Arafat’s playbook, whitewash a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have paid lip service to the Camp David Treaty, bring them to Washington, where their handlers will say: “This is the pragmatic branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, the part that we can deal with.” Probably not before very long, we might find that they will be invited into the White House.

As the old saying goes, “There are none so blind as those who refuse to see.”

'GIs caught in the crossfire in Syria'
Sarah Stern

June 20 2012

This could very easily have been a headline today, if approximately 18 years ago, a tiny group of friends and I had not succeeded in our endeavors. This has truly hit home today, as I opened up this Sunday’s New York Times and read the headline, “U.N Suspending Syria Mission, Citing Violence.”

In the early ‘90s, I had been part of a small campaign, led by Ambassador Yoram Ettinger, former minister of congressional affairs at the Israeli Embassy under Yitzhak Shamir, to prevent the stationing of U.S. troops on the Golan Heights. The rationale behind the strategy of stationing America GIs on that valuable strategic terrain, had been to quietly station American forces there, as a way of sweetening a bitter pill to the Israelis as well as the American Jewish community, as part of an Israeli withdrawal from the Golan Heights.

This was during the heady years of Oslo. Most people then actually believed we could reach a durable peace simply by signing a piece of paper with the likes of a Hafez al-Assad, or a Yasser Arafat. Few, in those days, were thinking down the road. Few questioned whether or not the societal landscapes had been sown for a peace that could endure for generations. Few were asking themselves the crucial questions of what the leaders were teaching their children about Jews, and about Israel.

At that time, negotiators for Yitzhak Rabin had been quietly meeting with representatives of Hafez al-Assad, arguing how much of the Golan Heights Israel was to give up to the Syrians. “We were just a centimeter close to a deal,” said a former Israeli government official.

The overarching tactic of those in favor of stationing U.S. troops on the Golan Heights had been one of a complete blackout of any detail of these plans from public purview. Any time that we had tried to have a complete and open public debate about the ramifications of such a plan, the buzzword used to silence the debate, was “premature.” All the plans were to be made behind closed doors. Then Defense Secretary Les Aspin told us that there had been carefully drawn plans at the Pentagon. The troops were to be stationed as a fait accompli, as part of a “peace package” thrown in, with the giving away of the Golan Heights to Hafez al-Assad.

In October, 1994, under the auspices of former Congressman Jim Saxton, (R-N.J.), I had arranged for a press conference on Capitol Hill with some American generals arguing that America has got to openly and publicly examine the ramifications of such a move. Then Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) came into the room and announced that “The only reason I am here is because my good friend, Jim Saxton, from the Delaware Valley, has asked me to come. As far as I am concerned, this whole issue is premature, and should be left up to the parties, themselves, which are the Israelis and the Syrians. Now I have got a vote I’ve got to go to.”

It was a shame that the good senator had not stayed in the room, because then he would have realized that this plan involved American GIs.

Prior to this, it had always been a cornerstone of Israeli philosophy that the Jewish state defend itself, by itself; that they would never ask foreign power to take a bullet to defend the state of Israel. I knew in my gut, for so many reasons, that this was a lamebrain idea, not the least of which was that if good American Christian boys would start arriving home in body bags, killed in defense of the Jewish state, the door would have been wide open to large scale anti-Semitism in the United States, and, ultimately would be harmful to American-Israeli relations.

An article in the Forward on Oct. 21, 1994, reported, “Although the discussion is ostensibly about sending American troops to the Golan, it will no doubt provide a new battleground for supporters and opponents of an Israeli withdrawal from that area. Meanwhile, though a promise of American involvement in the Golan Heights might help broker an agreement between Damascus and Jerusalem and reassure Israelis wary of a Syrian threat, opponents of the idea argue that it would both needlessly expose Americans and simultaneously fail to provide Israel and Syria with the conditions for a lasting peace.”

In that same article, the then-president of AIPAC, Steve Grossman, was reported as saying, “There is no need to have a discussion” before a detailed request is made by Israel and Syria. And Gary Rubin, then, executive director of American Friends for Peace Now, was quoted as saying, “I don’t believe that the reason this is being brought up is out of sincere concern for the safety of American troops, (but to) impede peace between Israel and Syria.”

In those days, some had called me the “enemy of peace” and “the Jewish counterpart to Hamas”, simply for trying to evaluate the ramifications of such a move and expose it to free and open public analysis. One person told me that his son was in the IDF and that if something happened to him, “I will hold you, Sarah Stern, personally responsible”.

Today, in Syria we are watching the brutal, systematic massacring of more than 12,000 fellow Muslims and Arabs at the hands of men commanded by Bashir Assad. On June 11, 2012, IDF Deputy Chief of Staff, Yair Naveh warned, “If he could, Assad would do to us what he is doing to his own people.”

Many lessons can be drawn from this. Foremost among them, as Judge Louis Brandeis had said, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.” People are not stupid. Plans like this need to be analyzed before they become a fait accompli” and “Think down the road as to whether your negotiating partner is educating his population for a peace that can endure for generations, or whether this will just be a temporary truce, or a hudna, in which to re-arm and re-group. The best way to test for that is to see what the leaders are saying to their own people, in their own language.

Mostly, l remain incredibly grateful to have been a part of this small but intelligent and effective group, and to have played, even a tiny part in preventing what could have been a huge strategic blunder for both the United States and for Israel.

You Cannot Leak Your Way to National Security Credibility
Kyle Shideler

June 12 2012

President Barack Obama’s campaign strategy, at least as it regards foreign affairs, consists almost entirely of boasting of the various covert operation successes that occurred on his watch, and leaking government secrets to buttress these boasts.

This strategy began just days after the successful elimination of arch-terrorist Osama Bin laden in May of last year. Instead of being an operation cloaked in mystery and “no comments,” almost every detail of the raid was almost immediately released, from the unit which conducted the daring operation to the CIA operation to successfully track Bin Laden to his Abbottabad compound. That particular leak cost a Pakistani doctor, Shakil Afridi, his freedom, and may also cost him his life.  Ironically the only secrets that the administration has attempted to protect from that day are the photos showing the deceased Bin Laden, lest pictures of the dead terrorist offend Islamist sensibilities, and which details about the raid the administration provided to Hollywood filmmakers so they could produce the story of the raid, coincidently to get it in theaters before the election.

And there have been plenty other leaks from this Administration.  During the State of the Union speech, President Obama publicly congratulated Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta regarding another Navy Seal operation, even while it was still under way. The Obama administration also surely was behind a leak to the New York Times that exposed the American and Israeli allied efforts to conduct cyberwar against the Iranian regime, in an effort to delay Tehran’s nuclear weapons program. Further, the article in the Times may only a tip of the iceberg—it was an excerpt of a newly released book, “Confront and Conceal: Obama’s Secret Wars and Surprising Use of American Power,” by David Sanger, which has recently been released, once again, coincidently just in time to influence the election.

Not only has this election campaign via leak infuriated our own military and intelligence professionals, but overseas, the United States, which has always been regarded as something of a sieve by allied intelligence agencies, is now considered an open faucet. The Obama administration leaked the role played by a double agent in breaking up a commercial plane bombing plot from Al Qaeda in Yemen, including the fact that the agent in question was recruited in London by British Intelligence, and supported through Saudi Arabia’s extensive intelligence network in the small Arab peninsula state. The British, and the Saudis, were both furious.  U.S. diplomats have also leaked information about alleged Israeli plans to utilize Iran’s neighbors in the event of a strike on Tehran’s nuclear program, following Secretary Panetta’s open speculation about a potential Israeli timeline.  The Israelis, and their friends, are equally angry.

Presumably, it’s not a coincidence that all these leaks are colored in such a way as to make the President appear as heroic as possible.  In the Sanger piece, for example, President Obama is praised for his role in the Stuxnet operation, while an “error,” which spread the virus beyond its original intended target, is blamed on the Israelis.  And the fawning American media showered praise on President Obama for his ability to “compartmentalize” because he was able to cheerfully taking credit for Navy Seal successes in Pakistan, even while men from the same unit were risking their lives in Somalia to rescue hostages.

It is also not a coincidence that in almost every one of these stories, President Obama is merely taking credit for not terminating a plan of action or a covert capability that was established by his predecessor.  In his prior offices, Obama was often criticized for voting “present.”  As President, it seems, he has continued to do that, in this case by simply not interfering with foreign operations instigated by prior Presidents.  The operation which slew Bin Laden was possible only thanks to the Bush Administration’s program of detainment and interrogation, including so-called “enhanced” interrogation, which anti-war left, and indeed, then-Senator Barack Obama, loudly campaign against, and swore to put to an end.

This campaign of leaks on foreign policy is unlikely to be successful in any case.  Let’s consider just the most prominent example.  Are we really meant to believe that previous presidents, or future potential presidents, would not have ordered the raid to capture or kill Bin Laden? This doesn’t pass the smell test.  Virtually every President would have okayed the raid to kill/capture a man responsible for the deaths of over 3000 Americans.

Despite the sycophantic media, these leaks do little to burnish President Obama’s foreign policy credentials.  Americans who would consider themselves national security voters are well aware of the irony of claiming to be the best administration for covert action while simultaneously spilling one’s guts to every reporter with a pen and a notepad.  And in any case, how many voters does it win over to leak the story of tortured agony and gutsiness with which the president dispatched commandos to kill terrorists or rescue hostages? These are decisions from most of Middle America expects its Commanders-in-Chief that to make.  These self-congratulatory leaks only establish how little the President truly has to be proud of on foreign policy.

Similarly, the secret “kill list” which Obama pores over to determine which terrorists will be slain via drone strike, and which was leaked to the New York Times as an example of President Obama’s “principles and will” was only implemented because the Obama administration has utterly abandoned efforts to take wanted terrorists alive, in order to avoid making the political difficult choice of how to detain and interrogate them.

While President Obama would certainly not be the first President to run his foreign policy with an eye on his domestic political advantage, his administration, in a very real way, is undermining the very powers of which they claim to be such judicious stewards. Cyber-warfare, special operation raids, targeting killings of terrorists, intelligence sharing with allies, all these policy tools are weakened, and in some cases effectively neutralized by their public exposure.  Whether President Obama wins or loses the next election, the next president will take office to direct an America whose intelligence and special operations capabilities have been weakened by President Obama’s time in office. An America whose allies will now decline to share crucial information with it, lest this information be leaked merely so that an American politician can take a national security victory lap.

So for the good of the country, and your own election campaign, please Mr. President, plug the leaks.

Read more: http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2012/06/you_cannot_leak_your_way_to_national_security_credibility.html#ixzz1xnDd5X4A

Top 10 Reasons to Kick Pakistan Off the Dole
Adam Turner

June 08 2012

What does it take for a country to be kicked off the U.S. foreign aid dole?  We might soon be learning the answer to that question, thanks to the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, and its consistent efforts to antagonize the United States and oppose our interests.  Recently, the U.S. Congress voted to reduce Pakistan’s aid because of our “ally’s” decision to convict a Pakistani doctor for “treason” for helping the U.S. find Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan.  The doctor is named Shakil Afridi, and he was recruited by the CIA to run a fake Hepatitis-B vaccination program in Abbottabad to acquire a DNA sample from one of bin Laden’s children in the compound where he was hiding.

Interestingly enough, an investigation by a former member of the Pakistani army has concluded that Afridi probably didn’t even know he was helping the CIA find bin Laden specifically, but the Pakistanis still convicted him, and are now busy trashing his reputation.  If the congressional vote stands, the $1 billion going to Pakistan this year in U.S. aid will be $33 million less, one for each year that the doctor was sentenced to.  The Obama administration originally requested more than $2 billion, but Congress eventually cut this in half.  This is small change overall, though, as since 9/11 alone, the United States has given Pakistan a total of more than $20 billion in foreign aid.

As I see it, this is just a baby step.  The U.S. needs to make a complete cutoff of all U.S. aid to Pakistan.  There are so many different reasons the U.S. should stop its aid to Pakistan that it is hard to list all of them.  But, in the spirit of David Letterman, here is my “Top Ten” list of reasons to stop providing foreign aid to Pakistan.

1. At least some of Pakistan’s government officials deliberately and/or knowingly sheltered (see: here and here) Osama Bin Laden, the head of the terrorist Islamist group al-Qaeda and the mass murderer of over 3000 Americans.  This reason alone merits the end of U.S. aid.

2. Pakistan’s cooperation in the U.S.-led “War on Terror” and invasion of Afghanistan has been tepid, at best. See: the case of Dr. Afridi; Pakistan’s decision to cut U.S. supply lines for the Afghan war, unless the U.S. apologizes for drone attacks that have targeted terrorists in Pakistan and pays a hefty ransom; Pakistan’s intelligence ties to Islamist terrorists; Pakistan’s army’s consistent “mistaken” attacks on U.S. and other NATO helicopters, which, considering that the Taliban and al-Qaeda forces have no helicopters, can’t really be written off as a mistake; Secretary Clinton’s admission that Ayman al-Zawahiri, who inherited the al-Qaeda leadership after bin Laden’s death, is also hiding “somewhere in Pakistan”; Pakistan’s imprisonment of an American contractor for murder and blasphemy until more than $2 million in blood money was paid, presumably by the U.S.

3. Pakistan has been the foremost supplier of nuclear technology to such rogue states as Iran and North Korea.

4. Pakistan is a corrupt, authoritarian oligarchy.  It alternates between quasi-democrat rule and military rule.  Many of its more prominent leaders, including its best known democratically elected prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, have been assassinated. Many of them also have enriched themselves while in office.  Its current prime minister, Gilani, was recently held for contempt of court for his willful flouting of court instructions to assist in the investigation of old cases of money laundering against Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari.

5. Pakistan does not respect human rights, especially religious rights.  For one example, look at their use of blasphemy prosecutions to discriminate against religious minorities and settle personal scores, which I have already written about here.  Nothing more really needs to be said, except that things have only gotten worse.

6. Pakistan has become an incubator of terrorism, as its territory has a significant number of Islamist teaching religious schools, i.e. madrassas, and terrorist training camps, which together crank out terrorist after terrorist.  The madrassas are often sponsored by money from Saudi Arabia and – surprise, surprise – teach Wahhabism to the new generation.  There is a reason that many terrorists and would-be terrorist are found to have gone for “vacation” to Pakistan and/or Afghanistan.

7. Pakistan is – as always – belligerent towards its archenemy, the neighboring, more democratic state of India.  The U.S. has an increasing interest in aligning itself with India.  Pakistan is dangerously paranoid about its bigger neighbor.  Elements in Pakistan have already sponsored or assisted terrorist attacks in India, most spectacularly the Mumbai massacre of 2008.  And, of course, Pakistan only developed its own nuclear weapons because of India’s decision to do so.  However, unlike Pakistan, India does not export them to rogue regimes.  Not surprisingly, the U.S. alliance with Pakistan has impeded our developing relationship with India.

8. Pakistan is in bad shape economically, doesn’t have a particularly good economic future, as it is not a good source of natural resources or educated people.

9. Pakistan is likely to become a failed state.

10. Supporting Pakistan makes us look stupid and weak to other states, for the reasons outlined above.

As I stated before, this list is not all inclusive – there are other reasons not to supply U.S. money to Pakistan.  For instance, did you know that Pakistan is a growing participant in the smuggling of opium to the U.S and the world?  Also, the Cold War, which originally prompted our alliance with Pakistan, is long over, but we continue to act as if Pakistan is a crucial ally.

Considering our increasing deficits and debts, does the U.S. really have the money to waste on false friends like Pakistan?  The answer is, obviously, no.  Let’s cut them off now, before they do something else we regret.

Original Article

The Egyptian Election: Why the Western Media Continues to Be “Surprised” by the Inevitable
Kyle Shideler

June 01 2012

The outcome of last week’s Egyptian presidential elections was about as preordained as it gets when it comes to predicting foreign events, yet somehow most of the major media outlets seemed to miss it. The Telegraph, on May 25th after the first round of Presidential voting, described the Muslim Brotherhood candidate Mohamed Morsi as headed to a “surprise” victory. In the end, the M.B. candidate finished with 25% of the vote, former Air force commander and one time Mubarak Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq finished second with 23%, Former M.B. Islamist Abdel Moneim Abol Fotouh held 20%, and leftist Hamdeen Sabahy was at 19%.

Surprise for who exactly?

Eric Traeger wasn’t surprised, pointing to the Muslim Brotherhood’s deep organizational talents and strict hierarchy in an excellent New Republic piece, and comparing it to the complete lack of organization by any other group or candidate.  We at the Endowment for Middle East Truth were certainly not surprised; arguing as we have for months of the inevitability of a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egyptian government.

Nor is it likely that the old autocrats of the Middle East, represented by men like Shafiq, were surprised either. They had long warned that the choice was either military dictatorship (under their rule), or the Muslim Brotherhood. In Mubarak’s case, he knew this to be true since the Muslim Brotherhood remained the only organization which was able to function, despite arrests and harassment from his security services, while secular and liberal parties stood no such chance. He had made sure of it.

Indeed the story of much of the Arab Spring has been that the old dictators once again putting the choice to Washington, “Either us and our tyranny, or the Muslim Brothers and theirs.” Only this time, the Obama administration chose the Brotherhood.

The people of Egypt are presented with a choice between oppressions, autocratic, or theocratic. And once again the Western media can be expected to continue to ignore it. Leading up to the election, the western media continued to cover so-called front-runner Amr Moussa, who managed to place a dismal fifth, his support flocking to late entry Shafiq. They also ran repeated stories about allegedly dissolving Muslim Brotherhood support, supposing that an ex-Brother like Fotouh was likely to unite the secular left, and the Salafists against his former Ikhwan. The reality was that Fotouh left the brotherhood solely in order to violate its ban against running for president (back when the organization had sworn to run no presidential candidates). Never mind that no candidate who takes large portions of the Egyptian Salafist vote ought to be considered a “modernist” or a reformer.

But that is ever the way of Western reporting on the Middle East. Routinely the media expresses little interest in what the relevant players are actually saying, such as the recent report that Morsi has called for Copts to convert, pay the jizya or emigrate, following the support the Christian minority voters are believed to have given Shafiq, preferring instead to remain true to their narrative of both sides being forced to compete for some mythical “middle ground voter,” as if Egypt’s first free Presidential election was a mirror image of a typical American election, where two mainstream parties compete over a long existing political “center.”

Nor will any actual facts be permitted to disrupt the narrative.  This is why a news article from Reuters or the Associated Press can reflect on the appeal of each candidate to supposed mainstream voters, and yet in the next paragraph discuss the riot which burned down the Cairo headquarters of the candidate that finished second.

They will continue to insist, as they did when the Palestinian elections were won by Hamas, and when Hezbollah triumphed politically in Lebanon, that political power moderates the extremist. That somehow hardened ideologues will be so busy managing train schedules and garbage pickups that they’ll forget about their real goals like the institution of oppressive Sharia law and the destruction of Israel. It is nonsense and it has always been nonsense. After all, Mussolini made the trains run on time, and yet still found time to execute his political enemies and impose his totalitarian program. He found time to conduct wars against his enemies abroad. So will the Muslim Brotherhood. As Egyptian philosopher Murad Wahba has warned, “The Muslim Brotherhood is ideologically required to start wars.”

But that doesn’t matter to the western media. Nor are they alone in the delusion that the solution to dictators is to elect them and hope they spring from their beds on inauguration day born-again democrats. This appears to be the deeply held opinion of numerous foreign affairs specialists and bureaucrats, who serve as the media’s experts and sources.  What matters to such men is the process, not the outcome. They are all about the lipstick, never mind the pig.

Nevermind that the Muslim Brotherhood is an 80-year old totalitarian party whose organization has more in common with Corleone family then the Republican or Democratic parties. As long as they agree to participate in the machinery of democracy, our State Department, and the western media is more than happy to consider them moderate, and expresses no concern that they are likely to rule a one-party state, after having successfully participated in an election, one man, one vote, one time.

The process is what matters to them, not the ideologies of those taking part. Its why the State Department merrily provided electioneering training for any Egyptian organization that wished to take part, and ended up providing guidance to Muslim Brotherhood and Salafist campaigners, when it was the secularists, and the youth of Tahrir square which ought to have received our full support, in an attempt to dispel the pre-existing advantages held by the Brotherhood and the military’s preferred candidates.

Real change cannot come to the Middle East if we continue to allow the media and foreign policy specialists to play pretend. To dress up terrorists like statesmen and totalitarians like reformers. To insist that we must be even-handed in distributing our largesse to the secularist and the Islamist both. To pretend that America’s national interest is served by a democratic process, not a democratic outcome.

Unfortunately no such change is likely to come in time for Egypt.

President Obama’s Policy Towards Turkey is a Turkey
Adam Turner

May 17 2012

Recently, the Republic of Turkey barred both Israel, and the European Union, from participating in a NATO summit in Chicago on May 20-21.  Apparently, the Turks were miffed that the member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) were not invited, and they were also still “troubled” about Israel’s legitimate actions to defend its blockade of Hamas ruled Gaza from violently “peaceful,” pro-terrorist blockade runners on the ship Mavi Marmara, who were sponsored by Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), an Islamist Turkish group.  Many of that ship’s passengers were members of IHH, by the way, including some of those who were killed and injured in their attack on the Israeli commandos who boarded the vessel. Several had indicated a willingness to engage in martyrdom prior to the incident.

For some reason, President Obama and his Administration have granted Turkey the power to make decisions like these.  This is probably because President Obama has developed such a good personal relationship with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  In fact, Obama went so far as to name Erdogan as one of the five world leaders with whom he has the closest personal ties.  President Obama has also gone to Erdogan again and again for help in formulating U.S. policies in the Middle East and elsewhere.  Indeed, President Obama is so close to Erdogan that he even goes to him for parenting advice.  This is a big problem, considering the Islamist background and tendencies of Erdogan and his political party, The Justice and Development Party – in Turkish: Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP).

So what information do we have on President Obama’s New BFF (Best Friend Forever) and the regime he leads?  Erdogan is an authoritarian, democratically elected but non-democratic Islamist who is creating a religiously based totalitarian regime.  These days, Erdogan is increasingly cracking down on his domestic Turkish opponents.  Turkey has imprisoned at least 94 journalists for their reporting – the largest number of press imprisoned in the world even higher than communist China’s, which has a population over 17 times larger than Turkey.  The policies of the Islamist friendly government in Turkey have led to an explosion in honor killings of women.  In fact, once again, Turkey is number one worldwide when it comes to this dubious statistic.  The honor killing of gays, lesbians, etc. is also on the increase in the country.  Gay activists have complained that they get little sympathy from Erdogan’s AKP, “which has its roots in political Islam and is known for its socially conservative stance,” and that the police are disinclined to investigate these murders.  AKP-dominated Turkey continues to discriminate against religious minorities, both Muslim and non-Muslim alike.  This discrimination appears to be accelerating – in 2009, Turkey was placed on the “Watch List” of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom, and it stayed there until 2012, when, in “an unprecedented move,” the bipartisan commission recommended that the State Department name Turkey to its annual list of “countries of particular concern,” marking “the first time a NATO ally has been designated as a nation whose government has engaged in, or tolerated, systematic and egregious violations of the universal right to freedom of religion and belief.”  Of course, there is also some anti-Semitism and violence towards religious Turkish minorities.  And, Turkey just wouldn’t be Turkey if there weren’t violence and discrimination against the ethnic minority group the Kurds.  Finally, the regime goes after its secular foes in the Turkish military.  The Turkish press has reported that one in five Turkish generals – who tend to be strong foes of political Islam and Erdogan – are currently serving jail sentences.

Even better than being an authoritarian, non-democratic Islamist , Prime Minister Erdogan is also openly hostile towards our interests and allies.  For example, in Syria, Turkey is currently directing our support to the radical Sunni fundamentalists within the opposition, rather than the more secular groups that we should wish to support.  In Cyprus, “Turkey continues its 40,000-strong troop occupation of a large part of the Republic of Cyprus — an EU and UN member state — despite numerous Security Council resolutions since its initial 1974 invasion calling for its immediate withdrawal.  Turkey does not comply with its legal obligations to Cyprus or to the EU and forcibly interferes with Cyprus’ rights in its exclusive economic zone of maritime jurisdiction.” In the Middle East, the Turkish AKP leadership is a recognized sponsor and enabler of terrorism. In Israel, the government is worried that the Turkish leadership might share Israeli intelligence secrets with the rogue and genocidal regime in Iran.  In the U.S. Congress, Turkey continues to whine and bluster about the U.S. recognizing the Ottoman Turkish genocide of Armenians in the early part of the 20th century.  (It also does that internationally too.)  In Iraq, Turkey continues to threaten the Kurds, who just so happen to be the most pro-American group in that nation.

This is not a comprehensive list, of course.  In addition, I should add that over just the last year, “Turkey has sided with Iran on the nuclear issue, held secret air force war games with China without first informing the Pentagon or NATO, threatened to initiate military action against Israel and Cyprus, and made anti-American rhetoric a staple of the Turkish ruling party’s proxy press.”  And best of all, the Turks are now meddling in the Balkans, but as we all know there is really no downside to that (aside from the occasional World War).

So why not put Turkey in charge of who gets invited to NATO events?

The Obama Administration and the Israeli-Palestinian Issue
Sarah Stern and Kyle Shideler

May 07 2012

Last week, the Obama administration freed up $192 million in direct aid to the Palestinian Authority that had been put on hold by the United States Congress’ Committee of Foreign Operations Appropriations, saying that this money had to be given to the P.A. “because of national security interests.”

The hold had been put on this aid because of the Palestinian Authority’s decision to go outside of the framework that had been agreed for Palestinian statehood, which was supposed to have been decided by direct face-to-face negotiations between the parties, themselves, and by incremental stages in which mutual trust was supposed to have been built up.

In all of the various agreements since the Oslo Accords had been signed on the White House Lawn on September 13, 1993, statehood was supposed to have been earned through a series of stages, rather than delivered on a silver platter, through an arbitrary time line. Fundamental to all of the agreements were that the disputes were to be resolves among the parties, themselves. Equally fundamental and predicating all agreements was the condition that there would be absolutely no incitement to violence or terror.

The last iteration of the peace agreements, The Roadmap for Peace, outlines, in Phase 1 as a condition for the Palestinians:

“Palestinian leadership issues unequivocal statement reiterating Israel’s right to exist in peace and security and calling for an immediate and unconditional ceasefire to end armed activity and all acts of violence against Israelis anywhere. All official Palestinian institutions end incitement against Israel.”

Being well aware of that, when asked in a White House Press Briefing about the freeing up of funds to the P.A., White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor said, that “The PA had fulfilled its major obligations, such as recognizing Israel’s right to exist, renouncing violence and accepting the Road Map for Peace.”

Unfortunately, not only do we, at EMET know this to be patently untrue, but we know as well, that Palestinian Media Watch, who has been monitoring Palestinian incitement in the newspapers, in textbooks, in Palestinian Authority controlled National Television, on the radio and in public speeches in town squares, but we know that White House officials know this to be untrue. Itamar Marcus of Palestinian Media Watch has been keeping the Obama administration regularly informed about the constant and steady diet of incitement to hate and to kill the Israeli, the Christian and the Jew; the constant campaign in P.A. sponsored “public service” advertisements and in the textbooks to reclaim all of Israel as “Palestine”, the glorification and ennoblement of suicide bombers and martyrs and the exhortation for children to follow along in that “noble” path.

The very same week Tommy Vietor made his statement, Palestinian Media Watch issued a bulletin describing how the Palestinian Authority commemorated the anniversary of the death of PLO arch terrorist Abu Jihad. Abu Jihad, (or Kahlil al Wazir), had been responsible for the death of 125 Israeli civilians, which were the result, among other acts. of his masterminding the attack on the Savoy Hotel in 195, which resulted in the death of 11 Israelis, and the coastal road attack which resulted in the killing of 35 Israelis, and an operation to attack scientists in the nuclear plant at Dimona, which resulted in the death of three Israelis and three Palestinians.

The Palestinian Authority had named no fewer than six sporting events after this master-terrorist. In one of these events, on April 16, 2012, the PA TV broadcast the words of Abu Jihad speaking in the 1960′s and 1970′s saying “On one street, for example, we will hold 500 people (hostage) at any moment, he can blow up everyone; blow up their building, or the whole thing, no matter how many people are there…We want to turn the Tel Aviv day black. We want to turn the Tel Aviv day into destruction, Allah willing. We will turn the Tel Aviv day so it will be remembered in the history of Tel Aviv as black Saturday. Black Sunday. Tel Aviv will be closed that whole day with blood and destruction.”

The Palestinian Authority’s national news broadcast extolled Abu Jihad for attacking civilian targets, (notice inside “the Green Line), and depicts the killing of civilians as laudable achievements. In the Palestinian Authority controlled newspaper, Al Hayat , Al Jadida on April 12, 2012,  wrote, “The anniversary of the Martyrdom-death of our people’s legendary leader, Khalil Al Whazir, Abu Jihad, is approaching, and in its honor the sports organizations of Palestine are organizing many tournaments in diverse branches of many sports…”

Or what about this cartoon in the Palestinian Authority daily where a mother instructors her infant that all of Israel is “Palestine”?  Or perhaps the declaration of PA Social Minister Majida Al-Masri who called for unification with Hamas in order to secure “the liberation of Palestine-all of Palestine” meaning also all of Israel?

If glorification of violence and terrorism does not qualify as lack of compliance with the Roadmap, perhaps incitement to genocide does, such as when the Palestinian Authority’s Mufti, Mohammed Hussein, speaking at a Fatah conference cites Islamic hadiths calling for the extermination of the Jews.

Once ignorance might have been an excuse, with the Palestinian spokesmen saying all the right things in English, and then continuing on their jihad against the Jews in Arabic, but in these days of increasing globalization and the internet, it takes only a few minutes of “googling” to put the lie to claims of Palestinian moderation. With translations sites like Palestinian Media Watch and others there’s no escaping the realization that incitement to violence and the rejection of Israel’s right to exist remains the rule, not the exception among the Palestinian Authority.

Indeed, why should the Palestinians be expected to alter their behavior, when time and time again, administrations past and present, have made clear there will be no consequences for not doing so?

With President Obama’s waiver releasing $192 million to the Palestinian Authority, he has blatantly defied Congress’ desire for accountability and reform among the Palestinians. He has certified that by providing the Palestinians with the nearly $200 million for “Sesame Street”, the U.S. congress chose to freeze, is necessary for American national security. Doing so he has made clear, that far from being “the most pro-Israel President in history”, as New York Times columnist Tom Friedman managed to somehow assert without sarcasm, President Obama is a full-throated supporter of the Palestinian cause.

Even those who are passionate supporters of the peace process should be deeply disturbed by President Obama’s lack of neutrality on this issue. His administration ludicrous demands of the Israelis, including the freezing of settlement expansion anywhere beyond the 1967 line, including Jerusalem, have doomed negotiations.

The Palestinian Authority have made these Obama demands preconditions for direct talks. The Palestinians now remain comfortable with refusing even to begin discussions with the Israelis. They have in effect issued demands for unconditional surrender, knowing that the Obama Administration has repeatedly gone to bat for them, applying pressure, and shielding them from all accountability.  This latest decision to release Palestinian funds despite their clear failure to abide by agreements affirms once again that Obama will tolerate no efforts to apply any kind of pressure to the Palestinians.

Pressure is to be applied to the Israelis only.

It is perhaps a great irony that those who may suffer most from Obama’s one-sidedness are the Palestinian people themselves. Abbas’s U.S. funded security forces can continue to crack down on Palestinian freedom of expression without fear that the U.S. may rein them in. They continue to educate their people with a steady diet of incitement, knowing that U.S. executive branch will keep the money flowing, ignoring the will of the American people and their elected representatives who want to see Palestinian violent rhetoric come to an end.

As President John F. Kennedy once said, “Peace does not exist in signed documents and treaties alone, but in the hearts and minds of the people.”

Under the Obama administration,  America has clearly abdicated its role as “Honest Broker” or neutral referee, and has been a coach for one side. What is so nefarious is that the Palestinian Authority has gotten away with this constant and steady diet of incitement to hate and to kill, which has metastasized like a cancer among the body politic of the Palestinians.

It is very clear that the societal groundwork has not been laid for a true, lasting peace, among the Palestinian polity. While the United States looks the other way, or focuses on whether or not an apartment building might be going up in what might or might not be the disputed territories, this cancer of hatred continues to spread.

A complete and total refraining from incitement is truly the one most necessary and essential agreement for a long and lasting peace, or one that will last long after the White House lawn signing ceremony is over.

However, since the Palestinian Authority has been given a pass for such lethal words by the Obama Administration, we are enabling the hatred to continue and to thus poison the minds of countless Palestinian children, spoiling the prospects for a peace for generations to come.

In that way all of our children, both Palestinian and Israeli, are the true losers, here.

DOJ Refuses to Prosecute Palestinian Terrorists
Adam Turner

May 04 2012

In a prior column, I introduced you to Ahlam Tamimi.  Tamimi is a Palestinian terrorist, responsible for the 2001 suicide bombing at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people and injured another 132. Among the American victims of this terrorist act: Judith Greenbaum and Malka Roth, who were both killed; and David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg, and Sara Nachenberg, all of whom were injured. Malka Roth was only fifteen years old at the time of her death, and was one of eight children killed in the bombing. In late 2011, Tamimi was released by Israel as part of the trade of over one thousand Palestinian terrorists for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit, who was being held by Hamas.  Tamimi is now hosting her own television show for Hamas-affiliated Al-Quds TV station from her new home in Jordan.  Tamimi was released even though she has admitted – on television – that she participated in the Sbarro terrorist bombing.  In the interview, she even expressed her delight at the number of children among the dead.

On March 1, 2012, 52 U.S. Congressmen, acting on a bipartisan basis, sent a letter to the Attorney General, and the Department of Justice (DOJ), calling upon the DOJ to “(1) investigate those cases (in Israel or the Palestinian Territories) involving the murder of or infliction of serious bodily injury on American citizens ; (2) where evidence supports, indict those individuals complicit in the deaths of or infliction of serious bodily injury on Americans, (3) seek the extradition of, (4) try in American federal courts, and (5) punish these individuals.”  (Full disclosure – the organization I work for, the Endowment for Middle East Truth, initiated this letter at the behest of many American victims, and their families.)  This letter referenced the 1991 Anti-Terror Act, which allows the United States to prosecute those who commit acts of terror overseas against Americans, and the large number of American victims of attacks in Israel and the Palestinian territories, which stands at (at least) 54 killed and 83 wounded.  It also castigated the Department for its non-existent record of indictment and prosecution of these terrorists, in both successive Republican and Democratic administrations.  The letter made note that this poor record “is particularly disappointing given that, in 2005, Congress specifically created a unit within the DOJ, called the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT), whose entire purpose “is to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks against American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.”  Finally, the letter’s appendix listed several Palestinian terrorists who deserved prosecution, including Ahlam Tamimi.

On April 5, 2012, the DOJ sent its response.  This letter, signed by Assistant Attorney General Ronald Weich, claimed that “there are significant impediments to bringing prosecutions in the United States for attacks that occur overseas.”  The main impediment mentioned was “(t)he crime scenes are located in places that are not under the United States’ control and, therefore, the United States is entirely dependent on the sovereign country where the attack occurred for assistance and cooperation in these investigations.” Therefore, the DOJ could not guarantee that everything would be done by the letter of U.S. criminal law, and that there would be no resulting problems with the chain of custody of the evidence and the admissibility of confessions. 

This DOJ letter echoed a statement that was sent in an email last month to the Parents Forum for Justice, a group of American citizens and parents whose children were killed or wounded by Palestinian terrorists in Israel.  It also echoed what the DOJ and OJVOT have been saying – both on and off the record – to the American victim’s families since 2005, when the OJVOT came into existence.  And it even mirrored the complaints of the DOJ prior to the creation of the OJVOT. Since the DOJ letter never mentioned nor referenced any of the specific terrorist cases that the earlier letter had listed, we have to assume that the DOJ believes it is unable to prosecute all of the Palestinian terrorist cases, including Tamimi’s, for the reasons stated in their response letter.   

Now, I don’t normally give out free legal advice on legal matters. After all, it isn’t considered proper to do so, and, besides which, I am not a practicing attorney. But this Justice Department argument, in reference to the Tamimi case, is patently ridiculous. It is certainly true that Tamimi’s terror attack occurred in Israel, and that the Israelis may not have been as careful with the crime scene, for evidentiary purposes, as the American police would have been. However, remember this video.  Tamimi has actually admitted to her crime!  And under U.S. law, this taped admission is not banned “hearsay” by Tamimi and may be used in court to convict her.  This is because Tamimi, as the defendant in a U.S. criminal prosecution, would meet the definition of a “party opponent,” and thus, under the federal rules of evidence, anything she says would be admissible in court.  See FRE 801(d)(2)(A):

Rule 801. Definitions That Apply to This Article; Exclusions from Hearsay …

(d) Statements That Are Not Hearsay. A statement that meets the following conditions is not hearsay: … (2) An Opposing Party’s Statement.  The statement is offered against an opposing party and: (A) was made by the party in an individual or representative capacity.

In addition, in the video, we can see that Tamimi spends a lot of time smiling when the terrorist attack is brought up, and especially when she learns the true death toll of children from it.  In court, these smiles are not considered “statements,” which may be hearsay, but are instead considered “physical manifestations.”  For this reason, they are admissible even without a hearsay rule exemption or exception.  In a U.S. legal case, all the prosecution would need to do to get all this evidence before the jury is to prove the authenticity of the videotape so that there’s a reasonable basis for the jury to believe that it is, in fact, Tamimi who is making the statement.  The defense will complain about this, but it is not like the tape shows any evidence that Tamimi was forced – by coercion or physical beatings – to admit to her terrorist actions.  Indeed, she was clearly proud of them.

Contrary to the DOJ’s argument in their response letter, there is no credible legal reason that I can see that would bar them from prosecuting Ahlam Tamimi for her 2001 terrorist crime against six American citizens.  And in fact, another American law – 18 USC Chapter 113b Section 2332 – actually demands that they prosecute her:

Sec. 2332. Criminal penalties

-STATUTE-

(a) Homicide. - Whoever kills a national of the United States, while such national is outside the United States, shall - (1) if the killing is murder (as defined in section 1111(a)), be fined under this title, punished by death or imprisonment for any term of years or for life, or both;…

(b) Attempt or Conspiracy With Respect to Homicide. – Whoever outside the United States attempts to kill, or engages in a conspiracy to kill, a national of the United States shall -

(1) in the case of an attempt to commit a killing that is a murder as defined in this chapter, be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than 20 years, or both; and (2) in the case of a conspiracy by two or more persons to commit a killing that is a murder as defined in section 1111(a) of this title, if one or more of such persons do any overt act to effect the object of the conspiracy, be fined under this title or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both so fined and so imprisoned.

The time for excuses is past. The Justice Department needs to bring Ahlam Tamimi to justice for her terrorism against Americans. 

More talk as the Iranian nuclear bomb ticks
Sarah Stern

April 25 2012

There is a very dangerous school of thought throughout the West that was succinctly expressed to me a few years back by a State Department official. “Talking,” he said with, “is always better than not talking. ... After all, what harm can words do?”

Plenty. After the P5 plus 1 talks (The United States, the Russian Federation, China, Great Britain, France, plus Germany), adjourned in Istanbul last Sunday, European Union chief negotiator Catherine Ashton said, “The day-long talks at an Istanbul conference center did not yield an agreement on specific curbs to Iran’s nuclear program, but U.S. and European officials described the negotiations as ‘constructive and useful’ and said a second round had been set for May 23 in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.”

For those who believe in the wisdom of my State Department friend’s philosophy, the Istanbul talks were indeed “constructive and useful,” because it brought about their desired goal: More talks.

After all, according to this line of thinking, as long as the Iranians are talking, they aren’t fighting.

Dead wrong. The Iranians are preparing for war. This most recent round of talk has given the Islamic Republic of Iran a smokescreen of five more weeks to continue to enrich their uranium to the highly enriched level of more than 20 percent and to work on their delivery mechanism.

Time is not on our side. Both the Israelis and the Americans are in agreement on the time frame, and we are dangerously close to looking at the world with an Iranian nuclear bomb.

In fact, the most precious gift we can possibly give to the Iranians is time. We are playing right into their hands.

In March, the German newspaper, Die Welt, reported that Western intelligence agencies detected two nuclear weapon tests in North Korea, and one of them may have been conducted for Iran.

The Iranians also walked away from the Istanbul talks with the perception that these talks are a green light from the international community to continue its work on nuclear technology.

According to an article by the Iranian Fars News Agency, Hossein Salami, senior commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said that as a result of the Istanbul Conference, “despite the efforts by the arrogant powers to prevent a nuclear Iran, you witnessed that all of them have accepted the right of Iran to access nuclear technology.”

“That”, added IRGC Commander Salami, “is a winning card in the glorious history of the sacred Islamic Republic System.”

Why do the Iranians believe that they have been given international consent to produce nuclear weaponry?

Listen carefully to the words of E.U. foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, “We have agreed that the Non-Proliferation Treaty forms a key basis for what must be serious engagement to ensure that all the obligations of the treaty are being met by Iran, while fully respecting Iran’s right for peaceful nuclear technology.”

As Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once said, “We in the West make a great mistake when we transform our values onto the rest of the world.”

It is quite a leap of faith to assume that once the Iranians cross the nuclear threshold, they will abide by any Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

And we are again deluding ourselves if we think this is only about Israel. In March, Iranian Basij Commander, Mohammad Reza Naqi, threatened to “burn the White House as long as America exists” and that Iran would “create the environment for the destruction of America.”

He called America “among the weakest countries with a bankrupted economy and reduced military power. And the international public opinion despises it.” Adding, “It would be naive to show this kind of softness in the face of Satan.”

The Islamic Republic of Iran declared war on the United States as soon as it came to power in 1979, when it seized the U.S. Embassy, taking our officials hostage.

After our military engagement in Iraq and Afghanistan, we in the United States are exhausted and depleted, and are not in the mood for further military engagement.

But Iranian hegemonic and genocidal desires will not go away because we are not in the mood. Mutually Assured Destruction, which worked so well with the rational actors of Russia, does not work with a maniacal theocratic regime that believes that it will bring the “twelfth Imam” by destroying America or its ally, Israel, and ascend to the its rightful place as the leader of the factious Sunni and Shiite Muslim world.

If you would like to know what the world will be like after Iran reaches nuclear capability, think of all the unnamed protesters of June, 2009 who have disappeared from the streets, who have been raped and tortured and are rotting away in Iranian prisons.

In the words of Soviet dissident, Andrei Sakharov, “If you want to understand a nation’s foreign policy, look at the way they treat their own people.”

Turning our backs on the reality of evil does not make it go away. We tried that once, and the Jewish community just commemorated Yom Hashoah to teach us where this thinking can lead us.

Who’s Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood?
Kyle Shideler

April 20 2012

It was billed as a delegation of the Muslim Brotherhood, traveling to America for the first time.  And they were treated like a true diplomatic delegation (i.e., one with diplomatic immunity), despite representing not a government but an eighty year-old totalitarian political party. They paraded before foreign policy establishment gurus at the Council for Foreign Relations, Brookings Institute, and the Carnegie Endowment for Peace like Egyptian Eliza Doolittles, parroting innocuous platitudes to the frustration of Egyptian secular dissidents who did their best to pepper the M.B. delegates with probing questions about the Caliphate, Sharia law, the treatment of women and Coptic Christians, and peace with Israel . But the Western audience was unfazed, and nothing disrupted the M.B. charm offensive as they were hosted at the State Department, and met with White House staff.

They lied seamlessly for Western consumption, saying one thing in English while their less telegenic superiors back in Cairo said the opposite in Arabic. It’s an old Middle East trick from the days of the Oslo accords, and the usual suspects are still falling for it.

You really can fool some of the people all of the time.

But those who know the Muslim Brotherhood best aren’t fooled.  Throughout the Arab states, the remaining regimes are increasingly petrified of the possibility of the Muslim Brotherhood expanding its revolution, and they’re taking whatever steps they can to prevent it.  Consider that only one month after the beginning of the Tahrir square uprising, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia pulled all Muslim Brotherhood literature from their schools and libraries despite having permitted their presence in the Saudi educational system for over three decades. The United Arab Emirates revoked the citizenship of several Brotherhood operatives, claiming the men were involved in terror finance and a threat to the Emirate’s stability.  This sparked a war of words between Dubai’s chief of police and the Muslim Brotherhood with Dubai threatening to arrest the M.B.’s spiritual leader Yusef Al-Qaradawi. The feud even resulted in Arab League intervention.  In Jordan the parliament has taken under consideration a draft law which would effectively ban the Islamic Action Front, the political party of the Jordanian Brotherhood. Recently, the Egyptian election commission appointed by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) banned a number of Presidential candidates, including Muslim Brotherhood leader and businessman Khariat Al-Shater, presumably because of   Al-Shater’s previous conviction for money-laundering under the Mubarak regime. While Al-Shater may yet appeal the ban, the implication is that SCAF, which has previously been accused of cutting a deal with the Muslim Brotherhood to split power, may now believe that the M.B. intends to seek complete control in Egypt, shunting the military to the side.

Of course the Arab regimes have no reason to be surprised by American naivety regarding the Muslim Brotherhood. For decades the Saudis and other Gulf states have spent millions to fund Muslim Brotherhood front groups in America which have orchestrated influence operations to numb the ability of U.S. political elites to speak intelligently about the Middle East and Islam, and millions more in academia to corrupt American scholarship.  The Muslim Brotherhood delegation was hosted by the Prince Alwaleed Bin-Talal Center for Christian-Muslim Understanding, at Georgetown University, the academic wellspring of American foreign policy bureaucrats. As Egyptian secular activist and scholar Essam Abdallah noted in February:

  Why were the bureaucracies in Washington and in Brussels partnering with Islamists in the region and not with their natural allies the democracy promoting political forces?  (…)

  One of the most powerful lobbies in America under the Obama Administration is the Muslim Brotherhood greater lobby, which has been in action for many years. This lobby has secured many operatives inside the Administration and has been successful in directing US policy towards the Arab world.

Not the words of an easily dismissed “right-wing Islamophobe,” but a voice from the region that understands the Muslim Brotherhood for what it is, and knows how it operates. Those who know the Brotherhood best understand that while it may attempt to change its tone for Western consumption, this leopard won’t change its spots. It remains the same organization founded by Hassan Al-Banna in 1928, guided by the same motto, “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” As Irfan Al-Alawi of the Center for Islamic Pluralism points out:

  But regardless of its honeyed words and the slick, updated, Westernized vocabulary of its travelling exponents, the Egyptian MB cannot, in its middle sectors, its base, and its fundamental outlook, change. It is a thoroughly Islamist party with a profoundly retrograde vision of a state based on religious dictates… [A]s soon as the Egyptian MB thinks it is strong enough to prevail, the mask will fall, and the promises it made in Washington and elsewhere in the West will be shrugged aside.

So, to answer the question, ‘Who’s Afraid of the Muslim Brotherhood?”

Those who know them best.

Department of Justice Must Prosecute Palestinian 'Oprah'
Adam Turner

April 16 2012

Meet the Hamas version of Oprah.  Her name is Ahlam Tamimi, and she is the terrorist responsible for the 2001 suicide bomber attack at the Sbarro restaurant in Jerusalem that killed 15 people and injured another 132.  Among the American victims of this despicable act – Judith Greenbaum and Malka Roth, who were both killed; and David Danzig, Matthew Gordon, Joanne Nachenberg, and Sara Nachenberg, all of whom were injured.  Malka Roth was only fifteen years old, one of eight children killed in the bombing. 

Tamimi didn’t realize, at the time, that she had killed eight children until after she was imprisoned in an Israeli jail; when an interviewer told her the true body count, she couldn’t wipe the smile off of her face.

On October 18, 2011, Ahlam Tamimi was released by Israel after serving only ten years of her 16 life sentences in a swap for Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.  (Shalit had been kidnapped by Hamas.)  She was then deported to Jordan.  Now, Tamimi has been given a Hamas-produced, heavily advertised, weekly show on Al-Quds satellite channel, which focuses on the sob stories of other Palestinian terrorists, those still imprisoned in Israel, and those recently released.  Considering the popularity of anti-Semitism in the Arab world, this is probably only the beginning of Tamimi’s career.  Perhaps she will expand her show to include segments that appeal to Palestinian women, like those focusing on Dalal Mughrabi the Martyr, and/or content produced for Palestinian children, like those focusing on Assud the “Rascally” Jew-Hating Rabbit.

As usual, few in the Western world seem to care much what the moral degenerates who rule Hamastan are doing. The Obama Administration is still too busy trying to keep the aid flowing to the Palestinian Authority and Hamas, either directly or indirectly through the United Nations. The U.N. is still too busy condemning Israel for whatever action or inaction the Jewish state is up to.  The European Union is too busy castigating Israel for imaginary offenses in Gaza that somehow are said to be equal the actual terrorist killing of three Jewish children and a Rabbi in France. The U.S. State Department is too busy playing verbal calisthenics to avoid acknowledging that Jerusalem is the Capital of Israel.

And the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is too busy, well… not enforcing United States law when it comes to Palestinian terrorists who have killed or injured Americans.

For example, there is the Anti-Terrorism Act, 18 USC Sec. 2332, which requires the prosecution and punishment, in United States courts, of individuals who murder or maim American citizens in acts of international terrorism. A conspirator in such a crime can get up to 20 years imprisonment, and no statute of limitations precludes prosecution of old offenses.  There is 18 USC Sec. 2332f, which makes it a federal crime to use an explosive bomb “against a national of the United States while such national is outside of the United States.”  There have been (at least) 71 instances of Palestinian terrorism that have resulted in the murder of (at least) 54 Americans and the wounding of (at least) another 83 Americans. However, none of the Palestinian terrorists behind these attacks have ever been prosecuted by the United States.

Some of the terrorists who were involved in some of these attacks were released, like Ahlam Tamimi, by Israel, which was acting under extreme duress to get back its own citizen. Thus, Israeli law can no longer reach out and punish them. But there is no law or treaty that bars the United States from independently prosecuting these Palestinian terrorists.  In fact, the DOJ even has an entire unit – the Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism (OJVOT) – that was created in 2005 and is supposed to monitor acts of terrorism against Americans outside the U.S. and pressure the rest of the D.O.J. to bring to justice those terrorists who have harmed Americans.

Recently, fifty-two U.S. Congressmen sent a letter to the Attorney General, asking him, the OJVOT, and his entire Department to do their job, and prosecute these Palestinian terrorists. In response to the concerns of some of the family members of the American victims, the Washington-based Endowment for Middle East Truth persuaded this bipartisan group of Congressmen to sponsor this letter. But other groups have also pushed for the prosecution of these terrorists, including the Parents Forum for Justice, a group of U.S. citizens and parents whose children were murdered or maimed by terrorists, which is led by Dr. Alan Bauer.

There have already been some small results from this pressure – in an email leaked to the Jerusalem Post, Heather Cartwright, director of the OJVOT, said “the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, the prosecutorial office responsible for these cases, plans to meet with U.S. victims of terrorist acts involving Shalit deal prisoners.” Cartwright also stated that the Department of Justice is “taking the matter of prosecuting terrorists very seriously.”

But apparently, we shouldn’t get too excited about bringing these Palestinian terrorists with American blood on their hands to justice.  Ms. Cartwright has also interjected a note of caution about any future U.S. prosecutions, saying there are “significant impediments to pursuing criminal charges in the United States court system for these particular foreign-based attacks.” These DOJ officials are always realists, you understand.  They recognize that it is not so simple to go after vicious terrorists who kill Americans, like Ahlam Tamimi. After all, in the case of Tamimi, we would have to go to Jordan and demand her extradition! Can we really do that? Yes we can. Then, we would have to prepare a strong legal case against her, even though her act of terrorism is over a decade old. Remember, every legal case requires certain procedures to protect the innocent, and proof beyond a reasonable doubt to convict the defendant. And it’s not like Tamimi is going to admit to the crime, is she?

Oh wait, she already did.

Adam Turner serves as staff counsel to the Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET). He is a former counsel to the Senate Judiciary Committee where he focused on national security law.

Link to Original Article

Why We Must Support the Syrian Opposition
Sarah Stern

April 05 2012

As most of you are well aware, more than 9,000 civilians have been mercilessly killed by the brutal forces of Bashir al-Assad in a human rights crisis of catastrophic proportions.  As a widely circulated Youtube video documents, in just one night, in the town of Homs, twenty -five children were butchered in their beds, and twenty women were taken out and raped in the public square, in front of their husbands’ very eyes.

Amnesty International has compiled a grim catalogue of torture used by the regime in a widespread and systematic attempt to suppress dissent among the civilian population. The human rights abuses detailed within that report are nothing short of egregious, and almost too revolting for most people to read.

Hospitals and sources of medical supplies have been cut off. The government of Bashir al-Assad has savagely shelled out entire cities. Food and water are in short supply. The country has been closed off to journalists.  Just this past Saturday, March 31st,  Ali Mahmoud Othman, a citizen journalist who had been covering the conflict in Homs and who had assisted in evacuating journalists out of the city had been seized by the government of Bashir Assad, and is most likely undergoing severe torture.

These human rights abuses against people who are demonstrating for their freedom, should, alone, be sufficient grounds for American involvement.

If America, which is still the world’s democratic leader, allows this sort of brutality to continue, without eliciting anything more than a few feeble protests from us, what sort of values do we represent? Are we abdicating our responsibilities as the leader of the free, Western world?

People have been speaking for some time now about an age of American decline.  If we behave in such a fashion, we are certainly going to help bring about such an age.

I am aware that identifying who the true, secular democrats are within the chaotic mix of opposition in present day Syria is no easy task, but it is not true to say that the opposition is inscrutable. For more on that, I would recommend “The Institute for the Study of War’s” excellent analysis on the subject.

I am also well aware that in this cynical age, of “realism” human rights and preventing a massacre do not seem to be sufficient motivation for meaningful American assistance. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the American populace is exhausted from two depleting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and we have no appetite, what-so-ever, for further military intervention.

Equally unfortunate, Americans always tend to generalize from the last instance, “Fighting the last war,” as the saying goes.  Watching the images of celebrating Libyan jihadists, who now dominate Libya thanks to NATO air cover, or the overwhelming election wins for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, the assumption is that Syria will be the same, a triumph for radical Islam. But the reality is that this outcome is not prevented by American inaction, but guaranteed by it.  And the choice in Syria is not between Al-Qaeda and a cowed dictator like Qaddafi, or between the revolutionary Muslim Brotherhood and an ageing authoritarian “ally” like Mubarak.

Syria is located in an extremely vital geostrategic region of the Middle East. It borders on Lebanon, which was once home to the proud Cedar revolution, but currently under the crushing foot of Hizballah, and it borders on Israel.

With Assad in power, Syria and Lebanon remain a vast plateau from which Hizballah and other jihadists take easy aim at Israel, from which they can launch thousands of rockets whenever their Iranian paymasters give the word.

We know that for approximately twenty years, Boeing 747’s have been landing in Damascus airport,  in direct flights from the Islamic Republic of Iran, filled with ammunition and equipment for the government of Bashir al-Assad, and before that his father Hafez al-Assad,  to hand directly over to Hizballah, which they supplement with military training.  The IEDs that wound and kill so many American GI’s on the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan were made in Iran, and frequently detonated by jihadists transported through Syria.  The Syrian capital of Damascus houses the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the PKK and practically every other terrorist group that is listed with the State Department. The Bekka Valley has been a haven for both the narcotics and counterfeiting industries for generations.

Syria is Iran’s only ally within the Sunni Arab world, and is its foothold in the fourteen-century old conflict that is now being played out between Shiites and Sunnis.

Because Iran is the most dangerous and reckless nations in the world today - anything that weakens the hand of the Islamic Republic of Iran is to the advantage of America’s national security. The toppling of Assad is in our national interest.

Syria is not a monolithic Islamic nation. Its people are a diverse mosaic of ethnic groups and political affiliations. Some of them are Salafists, and some are Muslim Brotherhood, that’s true. But other elements of the opposition are not.  It is these opposition elements which must be found and supported. Making that determination should be one of the primary goals of the U.S. intelligence community in this conflict.

If we do not act, there are many nefarious players on the world’s stage that are more than ready, willing and able to swoop in and to fill the void.  And it will be to the benefit of Assad, or the worst among the opposition.  The presence of Al Qaeda has already been noted on the Syrian battlefields.  The dictatorial regimes of Russia, China and North Korea have not been shy with providing Bashir Assad’s regime with weapons. The Sunni regimes of Saudi Arabia and Qatar can be expected to back Salafist elements with money and weapons.

Syria today is a vitally important battlefield in determining how the Middle East will emerge, not just in 2012, but for many decades to come.  Where goes Syria, there goes the rest of the Middle East.

It is my belief that without American involvement, we will almost certainly see the triumph of the radical Islamists.  And our involvement should be sooner, rather than later. Hardly a person in Syria is not related to, or knows of a friend or neighbor, who has not been slaughtered by the regime.  It has been over a year now since the uprising began.  After watching so many of one’s neighbors and family members routinely and systematically tortured and killed, one is grateful for help, no matter where it comes from. And that gratitude would be much better directed towards America, rather than the radical Islamists, currently on the ascent throughout the rest of the Middle East.

While I am aware that The United States recently pledged $25 million dollars in aid, and offered communications equipment during the most recent “Friends of Syria” summit in Istanbul, what is lacking is American direction and leadership. And that may not be enough.

The window of opportunity to get assistance for the besieged Syrian dissidents is rapidly closing. I am certain that by now, watching all of the daily bloodshed and torture within their communities, and waiting patiently for the aid of the leader of the free, Western, democratic world, many of them are becoming soured at the United States.

As the Sage Hillel famously said, “If I am not for myself, who am I for? And if I am for myself alone, what am I?”

Or, as Walter Laquer has written in his wonderful article, “The Perils of Wishful Thinking”, “If there are no certainties in world politics, there remain possibilities that can be ignored at great peril.”

Global March to Jerusalem: Iranian “Invasion”
Kyle Shideler

April 04 2012

(Ed. Note: As some times happens, events overtake the publishing cycle, and the March to Jerusalem is now underway. We publish this piece as is, because we believe it contains useful information regardless. Updates will be provided below, as time and circumstances permit, in chronological order.)

The International Global March to Jerusalem (GM2J) appears, at first glance, to be the usual collection of Palestinian activists and leftist useful idiots who typically gather on supposedly “symbolic days” (This Friday is “Land Day” which commemorates an Arab protest in 1976), in order to conduct so-called “humanitarian” missions or formal protests to publicly excoriate the Jewish State, if on a very large scale, featuring demonstrations on the Jordanian, Syrian, Lebanese borders and within the disputed territories and Gaza.

But as we learned from the Mavi Marmara incident, beneath the surface of such protests frequently lays the hard-edge of jihad. In the case of the Flotilla, it was the Turkish group IHH, with backing of the ruling Turkish AKP party, which sprang a trap which injured Israeli soldiers, and undermined Israel’s public relations campaign.

The Global March to Jerusalem is another ambush in waiting, although it’s an Iranian hand guiding the attempt.

According to the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Center, Iran is heavily invested in supporting the GM2J movement, using its propaganda outlets as well as supporting the movement through various proxies. An Iranian, Hossein Shaikhol-Eslam, senior advisor to the parliament speaker for international affairs of Iran, sits on the global coordinating board for the GM2J, as well as being head of the Iranian GM2J board established by the Iranian government. Other Iranian members on the global board include Seyed Saleem Ghafuri, the head of the executive board of the GM2J.

Internet Haganah, a internet forum maintained by American computer professionals who track Jihadist activity online, reported that the Global March website was hosted and maintained by an organization known as AhlulBayt Islamic Mission (AIM), a Shiite missionary organization in Britain, suspected of being an Iranian front organization. Internet Haganah postulated that the organization volunteered the use of their webspace during a GM2J planning session conducted in Beirut attended by Salim Ghafouri, and another Iranian Roohulla Rezvi. Roohulla Rezvi appears to maintain ties both with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Muslim Brotherhood.

Other Muslim Brotherhood activists are also tied to the GM2J at the International Advisory Committee level, according to the website CIFWatch. The British blog cites M.B. members involved in organizing GM2J as including

Maan Bashour who heads a Muslim Brotherhood organization in Lebanon, Mohammed Kassem Sawalha, with ties to the M.B. and the IHH responsible for the Flotilla incident. Saud Abu Mahfouz, is from the Islamic Action Front, the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood’s political party.

Other activists maintain ties to the IHH, Jaamat Islami, a Pakistani organization with M.B. links, and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), a leftist pro-Palestinian organization which maintains close ties with Palestinian terrorist organizations.

Iranian terror proxies Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Hamas are also expected to take part, with their members participating in coordination meetings which took place in Beirut. The Israeli open sources intelligence website, DEBKA reported that Iranian Al Quds forces have been training demonstrators in tactics to breach the Israeli border, and arranged for “thousands” of demonstrators to take part along the Syrian border.

Indeed, the Global March to Jerusalem is evidently so infested with terror ties that the North American expedition GM2J-NA, established itself as a separate organization, and specifically notes on its websites that it did so to avoid legal repercussions.  Even Palestinian organizers are attempting to provide themselves with some degree of separation from the events to come, reporting to Haaretz and Al Arabiya that they expected violence on the Syrian and Lebanese borders because of Iranian involvement.

For their part, Israel remains publicly confident that it can handle this latest challenge to its sovereignty and security, by bolstering their border security and providing extra training in non-lethal crowd control, comparing it to previous attempts to breach the border which Israel has repulse. Given the cast of characters assembled however the probability of lethal violence from the GM2J side is high, and Israel must be prepared also to win the resulting public relations battle. So far they have downplayed the event publicly, with one Israeli government official suggesting that probably not many protestors would actually show up, “It’s going to be between 12 and a half and 100,000 — probably closer to 12 and a half.”

While there’s some advantage to attempting to depress turnout by proclaiming a lack of excitement (a common preemptive P.R. tactic), Israel would do well to publicly and repeatedly highlight the Iranian role, and the role of terrorists and extremist organizations involved in the event. This way, Israel has prepared the media for the possibility of violence, rather than scrambling to explain the terrorist ties of organizers after the event, as took place following the assault on Israeli naval commandos aboard the Mavi Marmara.

On a more global scale, the international community has allowed for an atmosphere which fosters this kind of violence, by pretending that the issue of Jerusalem is still open for negotiations and discussion. It results in the kind of embarrassing word play associated with discussing Jerusalem, evidenced in a State Department press briefing this week, where the State Department spokesperson was forced to jump through a series of verbal hurdles to avoid answering the question, “What does the U.S. consider to be the capital of Israel?”

This creates the impression that Jerusalem is a prize yet to be won, rather than recognizing the simple fact that it is, and will remain the Israeli capital, and that no negotiations can be expected to change that. The American people understand this fact, the American congress understands it, but the refusal of the State Department to recognize such a basic reality leaves room for exploitation by entities like the GM2J.  Thereby we leave Israel exposed to attacks and delegitimization, resulting in events like the upcoming Iranian “invasion”.

Update #1: Jerusalem Post reports of some clashes breaking out near Kalandiya with protestors throwing rocks and molotov cocktails. Several protestors “lightly injured” in Ramallah, according to Israel Radio.

Update #2: The United West.org reported an hour ago, of the security forces in Jordan are holding back protestors from approaching the border, and Iranian flags have been spotted in Lebanon.

Update #3: The IDF has published a video of Palestinians throwing rocks and fire bombs at an border watchtower in Bethlehem.  Israel Hayom reports that Lebanese security forces intend to keep protestors North of the Litani river, outside of the UNFIL operating area. However they report Lebanese media as indicating that Iranian Revolutionary Guards were operating in the area, and expected to incite violence.

Update #4: Al Jazeera English reports (citing the AFP) that 15,000 protestors were conducting a “Sit-In” on the Jordanian border with Israel, consisting of Islamists and trade union members.  Israel National News cites Jordanian press putting the number at 20,000. One thing to keep an eye on, will be whether protestors attempt to establish “camps” along the border, in “Tahrir” protest fashion. This is expressly described as part of the plan in the Beirut GM2J planning meeting, according to the notes made available by Internet Haganah:

  Thus let us not assume that we will be stopped, but we are prepared for contingency plans if we are. Also we need to plan & coordinate the mobilizations across all the four borders & each of the four countries will require a different plan due to the different & contrasting political realities in each of them. Thus each of the teams in these countries will have to prepare a feasibility study & submit the same within the next 2 weeks.

  Thus we will proceed till we are asked to halt & our endeavour will always be to get as close to the borders & after that we will set up Camps, like little Tahrir’s to demand our right to go to occupied Jerusalem.

  The number of days that we will continue to protest peacefully will be determined later & as per the existing political situation.

Update #5: While some media is reporting that PA parliament member Moustafa Barghouti was injured when struck by a tear gas canister, the IDF says that Barghouti was injured in a brawl between Palestinians over who would lead the protest.

Update #6: YNet News reports that Hamas forces violently disrupted protests using clubs, and one Palestinian protestor was killed in Gaza.

Syrian Options
Kyle Shideler

March 16 2012

The crisis in Syria is now into its second year, and the death count, now nearing 8,000 according to rebel sources, continues to rise.  Despite public declarations by the Obama administration that Bashar Assad’s regime was at an end, it remains unclear exactly what the U.S. is prepared to do, other than conduct diplomatic initiatives, which have been rendered useless by Russian intransigence.

While policymakers, and indeed the general public, continue to debate the role of the United States, the Syrian regime continues its bloody work driving rebels from a handful of urban strongholds.  Both private-sector assessments (such as the one conducted by the JCPA) and U.S. officials, such as head of U.S. Central Command Maj. Gen. James Mathis, have concluded that Assad’s forces are in the ascendancy against an ill-equipped “Free Syrian Army” (FSA), which is really a disparate group of militias united only by a commitment to Assad’s overthrow and by a brand name.  Some FSA units have proven effective, while others are largely ineffectual or exist essentially in name only.

The president has requested that the DOD consider available options, including humanitarian airlifts and no-fly zones.  Other basic military plans are being prepared, and 10 million dollars in humanitarian assistance was pledged on March 7.  All air-based contingencies must take into account that the Syrian air defense network is substantially more robust then the Libyan one, and the U.S would likely need a widespread campaign against air defense, radar, and command-and-control installations in order to safely control the skies above Syria.

Most of Assad’s military advantage so far has come from using artillery to shell the lightly armed defenders, so a mere no-fly zone would probably be of minimal value without also targeting Assad’s forces on the ground, in the same manner as eventually occurred in the Libyan campaign.  Strikes from aircraft, or a no-fly zone, while helpful to the Syrian opposition, also do not provide the U.S. with any ability to influence which elements of the Syrian opposition play the leading role in a post-Assad Syria, nor to insure that a post-Assad Syria is more likely to support U.S. interests in the region.  Additionally, an air campaign would not provide the force on the ground necessary to secure Syria’s stockpile of chemical and biological weapons, one of the largest in the region.

An air campaign, unaccompanied by some form of assistance to the rebels, is in some ways the most public, most expensive option, with the smallest ability of the United States to insure a desirable outcome.

To reach the most desirable outcome may require arming elements of the Syrian opposition, an option which so far appears out of consideration.  General Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs said, “If we ever do reach a decision to arm the opposition, it can’t simply be arming them without command and control, without any communications, because then it becomes a roving band of rebels.”

There is also a concern, voiced by critics of intervention, regarding the presence of Islamist and jihadist elements—including al-Qaeda-linked elements, and notably the Al Nusrah Front, which claimed responsibility for a series of suicide car bombings.  The Abdullah Azzam Brigades and al-Qaeda in Iraq also have a presence in Syria.  The armed opposition does contain Salafist elements, which would be a natural fit for cooperation with al-Qaeda, and the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood has a great deal of influence among the political opposition.  There are also, however, secular political and armed opposition members, particularly represented among those who have defected from Assad’s armed forces.  Additionally, the Syrian regime’s intelligence apparatus has its own al-Qaeda ties and may be utilizing them in an effort to dampen the West’s enthusiasm for intervention.  It’s worth noting that some in the administration who have noted the possibility of al-Qaeda in Syria, such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, downplayed the role of AQ-affiliated groups in Libya (such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group).

If the United States and its Western allies do not participate in arming and training the Free Syrian Army, it is almost certain that the armed opposition will turn to the Gulf States, most notably Saudi Arabia, which have already given indications that they intend to see the opposition armed.  They will almost certainly choose to support Islamist and especially Salafist elements at the expense of secular ones.  Additionally, the Syrian insurgency may choose to turn to al-Qaeda and other jihadists for training and tactics, if it cannot find assistance elsewhere.  This does not bode well for the United States.

If the United States should choose to engage in arming, training, and supplying elements of the opposition, we should do so with our own eyes on the ground in Syria and in the Syrian refugee camps so we can make the determination as to which elements of the Syrian opposition are most advantageous for the United States to support.  It would be a grave error for the U.S. to provide funding for arms only to allow regional powers like Turkey or Saudi Arabia to direct who the recipients are.

The United States may decide to forgo providing arms but supply humanitarian supplies and possibly communications equipment to the rebels.  While this would be of some value, without some force to provide security for Syrian civilians, it becomes difficult to see how the U.S. will ensure that its supplies reach the affected populace.  Assad has already shown a willingness to deny access to international humanitarian organizations, or to delay their entry in order to buy time to conduct his violent reprisals against protesters.  Additionally, with the Gulf States still assuredly providing arms assistance, the U.S. is still likely to be faced with its least favorite option among the Syrian opposition in control of Syria, in the event the Syrian opposition should in fact triumph.

In conclusion, the regime of Bashar Assad is determined to literally kill its way to victory, through a brutal suppression of the uprising.  The Syrian opposition is widely diverse, with both effective and ineffectual units made up of both secular and jihadist elements.  If the United States does not provide arms to the elements of the Syrian opposition which seem most favorable to U.S. interests, other regional powers will certainly intervene with arms on their own, to their benefit and to the U.S.‘s detriment.  If the U.S. provides arms, it has some ability to determine who the recipients will be, allowing the U.S. to minimize the role of jihadists in the Syrian uprising.  Additionally, it provides for contact within the militias who can provide intelligence and security to help ensure that Syria’s stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons can be accounted for.  These abilities are lacking from a policy which would either provide just humanitarian aid and no arms or be based solely on the air campaign option.

Certainly, with the administration having already declared that Assad is finished, the United States is not served by failing to take action to see that declaration come to fruition.  If Assad should succeed, the U.S. loses credibility, as well as an opportunity to weaken the greater strategic adversary in the region, Iran.

http://www.americanthinker.com/2012/03/syrian_options.html ” target=“_blank”>Link to Original Article

Nobody is Blustering but Obama
Sarah N. Stern and Kyle Shideler

March 08 2012

Bluster (n): loud, aggressive, or indignant talk with little effect

-Oxford English Dictionary

The take away from President Obama’s speech before AIPAC this week has been primarily focused on his stated rejection of “containment” as a strategy against Iran. Some on the President’s left were distraught over this apparent policy position, fearing it made war with Iran “certain,” while much of the mainstream media seems to be supporting the position as a careful and successful threading of the needle between Obama’s desires for diplomacy while assuaging Israeli concerns.

President Obama however has asked to be judged not by words but deeds. In doing so, we note that while President Obama openly stated, “that I do not have a policy of containment,” in reality there is little to distinguish the administration’s present policy from a containment policy. In his AIPAC speech the President called for sustaining international coalitions, maintaining pressure and isolating Iran while preserving diplomatic options, and hoping Iran makes the choice to abandon nuclear weapons. These efforts are effectively the basis of a containment policy regardless of what the President chooses to call it. And while the media may give President Obama credit for his statement, “I will take no options off the table…” the reality is that this trite and largely meaningless phrase has been part of the American lexicon on Iran for a decade.

The Iranians are unlikely to be as impressed as the American news media with President Obama’s reiteration of the Bush-era policy from 2003 under which Iran dramatically expanded its nuclear work. Indeed the day after President Obama gave his speech, the IAEA announced publicly what they had known confidentially since last month, that Iran has tripled its monthly production of uranium enriched to 20%. Such Highly-Enriched Uranium (HEU) is only a short step from being processed into weapons-grade. And even as President Obama took the podium at AIPAC’s conference hall, the German-language newspaper Die Welt reported an analysis suggesting that a North Korean nuclear weapons test conducted in 2010 may have been conducted on behalf of the Iranians.

So while President Obama’s words constructed a rhetorical vision of an Iran increasingly isolated by crippling sanctions and international pressure, events conspire to show the reality, which is that Iran remains unbowed, despite pressure, moving inexorably towards the bomb.

Judging President Obama by his deeds, as he requests, one sees a President who, when timing matters critically, has always been a step or two behind.

President Obama takes credit now for sanctions currently wracking the Iranian economy, when the reality is that he opposed, and sought to delay and water down these same sanctions when they were proposed. In fact on March 1st, the Times of Israel reported that the Obama administration had “side-stepped” the new Kirk-Menendez sanctions, choosing not to impose the required penalties, despite that enforcement was supposed to begin 60 days following the law’s passage. We now, on the President’s insistence, have to wait until July until the new sanctions go into effect. That gives the international community more time to figure out routes for still engaging in trade with the Iranians, and of course, gives the Iranians more time to complete their nuclear weapons program.

President Obama also congratulated himself for his 2009 attempts at diplomatic engagement with Iran. Ironically President Obama takes credit for the failure of his policy since the doomed effort at engagement allegedly helped “rally the international community.” What President Obama did not mention in his AIPAC speech was that while he was extending his hand to the Islamic Republic of Iran, the people of Iran were taking to the streets in a desperate attempt to shake off their dictators. Michael Ledeen, a renowned scholar with long ties to the Iranian dissident community, recently published a memo, purportedly from elements of the Green movement leadership. The memo called out for western assistance, at the exact time the Obama administration insisted that the Iranian people did not want our help, and that our support would be a hindrance. Another time-sensitive opportunity missed by President Obama.

The most strident and aggressive posture taken by President Obama in his speech was directed not at the Iranians at all, but against an army of straw men whose “loose talk of war” was allegedly emboldening and bolstering the Iranian regime by driving up oil prices. In this dizzyingly convoluted formulation, it is apparently the words of unidentified pro-Israel hawks which are driving up the price of oil, rather than the terror attacks and provocative military exercises being conducted by the Iranians themselves.

President Obama stated that, “for the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster.”

He could not be more right.

Unfortunately, of all the parties involved, it is President Obama’s policy which consists primarily of “indignant talk with little effect.” The Israelis have certainly made clear, as evidenced by Prime Minister Netanyahu’s own AIPAC speech that they are not merely talking. They are prepared to enforce their stated red lines with action against Iran. The Israeli position has been strident and clear.  Nor is there any indication that the Iranians are bluffing. They have stated an intention to see Israel, and indeed America, wiped from pages of history, and all of their activities are orchestrated to see that goal take effect.

It is only President Obama who is obligated to declare he is not bluffing, largely because his deeds do not match his administration’s actions. It is President Obama who publicly takes credit for sanctions he privately declines to implement. It is President Obama who publicly backs Israel’s right and ability to defend itself, while his advisors, notably Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta pooh-poohed Israel’s ability to stop Iran in the media. Publicly undermining your ally’s deterrence is not an effective strategy for avoiding war. Nor does having an Iran policy which has scarcely evolved from 2009 and the days of the “unclenched fist,” despite Iranian nuclear advancement, help to convince Israel that America intends to honor nuclear red lines.

President Obama is right. It is time for the bluster to stop. Unfortunately following his speech at AIPAC it is increasingly clear, that nobody is blustering but Obama.

Peter Beinart’s Less Than Convincing Arguments on Iran
Adam Turner and Kyle Shideler

March 01 2012

Peter Beinart has written a particularly disappointing column on the (non)danger of Iranian nukes.  His column is titled, “Experts Say Iran Attack Is Irrational, Yet Hawks Are Winning the Debate.”  Confusingly, it was also advertised by the Daily Beast website as “The Crazy Rush to Attack Iran.”

The latter is the title that initially attracted us to it, as we wondered how a decision making process can be “rushed” when it has been ongoing since the mid-90’s.  But it turns out that neither of these titles are representative of what Mr. Beinart is actually writing in his column.  (Of course, we realize that sometimes the title is chosen by the editors, and not by the author.)

In his piece, Mr. Beinart makes the following argument: 1) Iran’s government leadership is collectively a rational actor; 2) as a rational actor, they would not use nuclear weapons, or give them to irrational terrorist groups that might use them; 3) besides, Israel cannot actually bomb away the problem – but the U.S. could; 4) if either Israel or the U.S. did bomb, this would destabilize the region by starting a regional war and also “guarantee that which we are trying to prevent: an Iran that will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon;” 5) therefore, neither the U.S. nor Israel should bomb Iran; 6) considering these facts, it is mystifying that Republicans and/or conservatives – who are the same people who rushed us into war in Iraq – are pushing for a strike and forcing GOP candidates to be hawks and President Obama to be more hawkish.

If Mr. Beinart’s thinking seems somewhat convoluted to you, you will be happy to know that you are not alone.

The major flaw in his op-ed involves his claim that the leaders of Iran are “rational.”  First of all, as many others argue, this is far from an uncontested fact.  Certainly, when one nation’s leadership routinely promises death to another nation as part of an End of Days scenario, people should be forgiven for believing the opposite.

econdly, Mr. Beinart, and presumably his experts assume that if the Iranian government acts rationally, it cannot and will not use a nuclear bomb, or give the bomb to a terrorist group. For this reason, he seems to believe that it is sufficient to provide supporting evidence quoting “experts” describing the Iranian leadership as “rational.”

The problem is, of course, that it is possible for a “rational” Iranian leadership to decide to use a nuclear device in the Middle East.  As David Goldman has written, the Islamic Republic of Iran is a national basket case, with a corrupt government, a dangerously plunging birth rate, and a bankrupt economy.  Further, the Iranian leadership is certainly religious, and it has frequently voiced its beliefs that the End of Days is coming, that this is a good thing, and that they can and should act to hasten Armageddon if they can. Considering these facts, it may even be likely that to the Iranian leadership it would be entirely rational – as Goldman argues –to establish Iranian strategic power, and usher in the End of the World by starting a nuclear war with Israel (or the U.S., or with Saudi Arabia). To achieve their strategic and ideological goals the time may literally be now or never.

Another major problem in this column is that Mr. Beinart does not really compare alternative scenarios involving Iran.  Instead, he simply quotes his chosen experts as asserting that it is unwise for the U.S. or Israel to conduct a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities because it will “destabilize” the region, by starting a “regional war,” and thus “guarantee that … Iran … will spare nothing to build a nuclear weapon,” but does not bother to compare this picture with what would happen if Iran is allowed to achieve its nuclear desires.  At best, thus, this column is half of the picture.  Mr. Beinart should have also spent time considering what would happen if Iran went on to develop nuclear weapons.  Would a nuclear Iran stabilize or destabilize the region?  Would a nuclear Iran lead to a regional war?  We, and others, believe it would.  (See here and here.) But he doesn’t bother to pursue these questions.

We also have to wonder about the expertise of the “experts” whom Beinart has chosen to quote. Many of them seem almost blissfully out of this world in their naivety.  After all, aren’t these experts implying that the Middle East is now stable? By what metric can the current situation in the Middle East be considered stability, considering the continuing after effects of the Arab Spring and the Iraq war?  By what evidence do these so-called “experts” suggest that Israel attacking Iran will result in a uniquely destructive regional war?  History does not support this conclusion. Most relevant are the two previous Israeli strikes against potential nuclear threats – against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 –neither of which resulted in the entire region erupting into a major war.

And even if an Israeli strike did lead to a particularly destructive war, how is this historically unusual for the Middle East?  Here is just a partial list of the Middle East’s many major conflicts: the four major Arab-Israeli wars, the Iran-Iraq war, the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, the two Lebanese wars (both Syria and Israel have invaded), the two American invasions of Iraq, and the war between Israel and Hezbollah and Hamas.

There are some other flaws in the piece as well.  The title, “Experts Say Iran Attack Is Irrational, Yet Hawks Are Winning the Debate,” is simply not a title that can be supported by the facts. The experts he quotes never come close to saying that an attack on Iran is, itself, “irrational.”  For that matter, Mr. Beinart barely brings up the “Hawks,” let alone discussing why they are winning the debate.  The alternate title also makes no sense, as I mentioned before.

Further, Mr. Beinart spends a paragraph quibbling about the difference between what is an “existential” threat to Israel, what is a “serious” threat to Israel, and what is simply a threat to Israel.  According to his experts, Iran is the latter two, and not the former.  Mr. Beinart then makes the leap that a “serious threat” or a threat does not merit an Israeli, or U.S., strike against Iran.  Based on what evidence?  If Iran acquires a nuclear device, and it detonates said device in Israel (as Iranian leaders have explicitly said they seek Israel’s destruction, and would use nuclear weapons if available). What would the impact really be?

According to a 2009 Study by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, if a 20 Kiloton (KT) nuclear device (slightly smaller than the bomb dropped on Nagasaki in 1945) exploded over Tel Aviv, one could expect 27,420 dead and 111,660 wounded within one week as a result of the blast and radiation. By the end of one year, that number could be expected to rise to 150,000 dead. That’s 2% of the Israeli population dead, not counting those who will almost certainly die from injuries and the lack of medical treatment, or future deaths from cancer and related illnesses. If the Iranians were able to detonate a 100 KT device, the most powerful weapon the Iranians are expected to possibly be able to produce, the number jumps to over 600,000 dead within a year, roughly 8% of all Israelis. These numbers are from a single nuclear weapon. As of September of 2011, the IAEA estimated that Iran had enough low-enriched uranium to produce three to four nuclear weapons. A similar report by the CSIS from 2007 estimated that in a general nuclear exchange, between 200,000 and 800,000 Israelis would die within the first 21 days.

While the CSIS report notes that the continuation of Israeli society is “theoretically” possible, one feels required to ask how many dead the Israelis should be expected to endure before Mr. Beinart will entitle them to term a threat “existential?”

Even if nuclear-armed Iran does not strike, how much bolder and more aggressive will Iran become? Consider that Iran already engages in the murder of American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and plots terrorist attacks from Baku and Bangkok to Buenos Aires and from New Delhi to Washington D.C. That it imperils U.S. warships, and kidnaps British sailors. What will Iran do when protected by a nuclear deterrent? How much more aggressively will it destabilize the region?

Mr. Beinart also argues that Israel is unable to act to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran, by citing such luminaries as Director of National Intelligence James “The Muslim Brotherhood is secular” Clapper, Air Force General David Deptula and former CIA director Michael Hayden, who were quoted in the New York Times as saying only the United States had the capability to set Iran back substantially. But what of Hans Ruhle, a German intelligence expert who published an analysis which suggests Israel could set Iran back “a decade.” Or Professor Austin Long, formerly of the Rand Corporation who agreed that an attack is difficult but feasible. Or Eli Lake who published last year in the same publication as Peter Beinart, pointing out that an Israeli attack would likely consist of a wide variety of non-conventional methods, including electronic jamming and cyber-warfare.

We understand that Peter Beinart has an agenda to push on Iran.  And we understand that he is paid for his opinions.  There is nothing wrong with that.  But we do expect a better final piece – more researched, more thoughtful, and better written – than what he has produced here.  The debate concerning Iranian nuclear weapons is too crucial to our country, and too crucial for our world, for anything less.

Let’s have this debate, let us do so with a full view of the facts, including the facts about what the Iranians themselves have said and evidentially believe, what they have done, and with a careful weighing of what the consequences of a nuclear-armed Iran really are.

Iran-The Gathering Storm Clouds
By Sarah N. Stern and Kyle Shideler

February 24 2012

It seems like all the elements are coming together for a perfect storm coming out of Iran. Here in the United States, we are exhausted after two wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and weary of any further military intervention.  We, at EMET, are on Capitol Hill constantly, and, unfortunately, have encountered an atmosphere of fatalism and defeatism which has infected far too many of our policy makers.  This is precisely the wrong emotion at absolutely the wrong moment in history.

The civilized world as we know it is being confronted by a brutal, maniacal theocracy with hegemonic ambitions which does not value the sanctity of human life.  Hashemi Rafsanjani (often regarded as one of the “saner” regime leaders) has already said that he is willing to sacrifice fifteen million of his own civilians in an attack on Israel. The Iranians have proved their disregard for human life, during of the Iran-Iraq war, when they had their own children and adolescents clear the mine fields.  They were willing to sacrifice 700,000 of them, urging children forward on a promise of the “72 black-eyed virgins”, equipped only with little plastic keys to open the gates of paradise.

This is a regime cares not a whit for human life. If they are willing to sacrifice their own children like that, how can many in the west continue to believe that the Iranian regime will make rational choices once they cross over the nuclear threshold?

That is why, despite what some pundits inside the beltway have been arguing, Mutually Assured Destruction, (MAD), which worked against the former Soviet Union will never work with the Iranians. The Judeo-Christian value of the sanctity of human life holds not sway in the regime’s thinking. They are playing out a fourteen century old religious struggle as to who will be the rightful heirs of the throne of Islam and usher in the reappearance of the Mahdi. As Middle East Doyen Bernard Lewis has said, for religious zealots MAD is not a deterrent, it is an inducement.

Last week Iran conducted a series of terror attacks, targeting Israeli embassies in Azerbaijan, New Delhi and Thailand. They were largely foiled; with no one killed and only a handful injured, thanks to a mixture of bumbling by Iran’s would be assassins, and good intelligence. Additionally Iranian officials have spent the past three months issuing a wide variety of bellicose threats, from targeting U.S. military bases in the region to threatening to close the vital Strait of Hormuz. Iran recently upped their rhetoric threatening preemptive action against the western powers.  “Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran’s national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions,” said deputy head of the armed forces Mohammad Hejazi.

Meanwhile Iran loaded its first home-made uranium fuel rod into its reactor at Tehran, unveiling publicly for the first time a fuel rod enriched to the critical 20% mark, and has installed new equipment in its mountain bunker nuclear complex at Fordo which will enable it can rapidly increase its capability to produced highly enriched uranium with only a minor conversion.

Like most abusers, Iran follows up its violent and unacceptable outbursts and behaviors with offers to talk, to be reasonable. The Islamic regime has proposed to restart talks on its nuclear program with the western community.  And like many of the serially battered, the Western powers seem prepared to accept that this time things will be different. Indeed, we continue to make excuses for the behavior of the Iranians, and urge our friends and allies to tolerate Iranian behavior just a little while longer. We maintain the fiction that the Iranian leadership hasn’t officially decided to make a nuclear weapon, when even the IAEA, not an organization known for institutional hawkishness, has said that much of the Iranian program makes little sense outside of use in a weapons program.

Iran’s policy makes sense if you understand their underlying motivations, The Obama administration’s does not.

Yes, sanctions are having an effect on the Iranian economy, with an effort to cut Iran off from SWIFT, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication being the most recent and effective sanction currently under discussion. This is an option that should have been used, ten years ago.  Moreover, we know that Russia, Red China and North Korea are not going to abide by any crippling sanctions. In order for sanctions to be truly effective, they have to be universally adhered to and universally enforced.

For Iran, the primary question becomes whether they can buy enough time to reach the stage of no return on their nuclear weapons program, before the Israelis or the Americans or some combination thereof, decide to act. That’s the logic behind Iran’s small-scale terror attacks along with the blood-curdling threats (which also help by driving up oil prices), mixed with offers of talks. It’s a shotgun approach aimed at doing anything possible to delay further action, and survive sanctions long enough to acquire the bomb.

But why has the Obama administration played along?  Despite that officials concede that sanctions are doomed to failure and military action is probably inevitable, the administration’s public statements have been primarily focused on deterring not Iran, but Israel.  A Wall Street Journal editorial makes that assertion, backed by statements from the public appearances of Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey and Elliot Abrams in the Weekly Standard reading of the congressional testimony of Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and head of the Defense Intelligence Agency Gen. Ron Burgess concurs.  In all cases, the representatives of the White House seem anxious to reassure the public and the Congress, that Iran is a rational actor which had not yet made a final decision on nuclear weapons.

The administration refuses to take a hard line with Iran, despite repeated threats to wipe Israel off the map, bomb U.S. bases and disrupt global trade. It refuses, despite attacks against American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan, an indisputable nuclear weapons program, and terror attacks plotted in Washington D.C., Buenos Aires, Baku, New Delhi and Bangkok. The same administration which now pleads for time for sanctions to work repeatedly attempted to water down and delay implementation of the sanctions prior to their passage.

We are confronting one of the most critical moments in history. Once Iran crosses the nuclear threshold, we will not be looking at the same world. They can then act with total impunity.  They can give a wink and a nod to Sheik Hassan Nasrallah of Hezbollah to activate their many terror cells throughout Europe, Central America and within the United States, and launch attacks throughout the Western world.

Aside from that, both the Department of Defense and Israeli Intelligence Agencies agree that it is only a matter of two to three more years before Iran has the ballistic missile capability to reach the East Coast of the United States, so that they can attack “The Great Satan”, the major target of their hatred.

Even though America is war-weary and fatigued, this situation will not go away by sweeping it under the rug—or focusing our foreign policy on another subject, like the Far East. This is not some reality show that we do not like, and can just change the channel.

This is reality. The question is: Is this generation of Americans adult enough to be able to confront realities we do not like? Or are we a far cry from “The Great Generation” of our parents, who saw the menace arising in Europe and ultimately did the right thing.

As Winston Churchill once said, “The Americans always do the right thing—-once they have exhausted every other possibility.”

The question then remains:  Will the Americans do the right thing in time to stop the Iranians from crossing over the nuclear threshold?

On The Crisis in Syria and Historical Inevitability
Sarah Stern

February 16 2012

Lately, I have been hearing a great deal of talk inside the beltway about the inevitable decline of America.  The buzz is that all great powers, from that of Rome to Great Britain, have inevitably risen and fallen, and that the United States, because of a series of severe miscalculations in recent years, is in a period of rapidly spiraling decline.  They argue that the age of the current domination of the United States over the world order, at least since the fall of the Soviet empire, is over, and feel that this is a perfectly acceptable option.  I would like to assert that if this were the case, then this would be tremendously tragic for all people of good will throughout the world.

As I write these words, the Syrian opposition is in its eleventh month of a bloody struggle against the brutally repressive government of Bashar Assad.  The people in Syria have been seen for months desperately crying out for help on You Tube videos and often within the mainstream media.  Recent reports coming out of the United Nations put the most recent death toll at 5,400, as of January 10th, more than a month ago, but according to several Syrian dissidents I have spoken with, the death toll is by now, close to 8,000. In the meantime, 20,000 to 30,000 people have been summarily disappeared from the streets, including children.

Today, the western city of Homs suffered its eleventh day of bombardment of its pro-opposition neighborhoods. On this day alone, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that another twenty people have been killed.  Navi Pillay, the UN Commissioner of Human Rights, spoke at the United Nations yesterday, and said that “the suffering of Syrian civilians will continue as long as the international community fails to take action.

The way in which the Obama administration has been behaving, however, in regards to this urgent situation indicates that:  a.) nature abhors a vacuum and b.) without the moral leadership of the United States, there is a danger that the very most egregious and despotic powers threaten to step in and to fill the void.

On February 4th, Russia and China vetoed an Arab League Resolution calling on the government of Bashar Assad to step down.  This led to a statement from the Arab League on February 12th, calling for the formation a joint UN Arab-League Peacekeeping force to support the Syrian opposition. The British Foreign Secretary, William Hague, supported the idea, saying ,”Such a mission could have an important role to play in saving human lives.”

Unfortunately, our own Secretary of State Hillary Clinton remarked, “I don’t know that it is going to be possible to persuade Syria. They have already as of today, rejected that.”

This would be akin to Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, under Franklin D. Roosevelt, first calling to ask Adolf Hitler’s permission before landing troops on the beaches of Normandy.

Where is the moral clarity coming out of our own nation?  Even without committing troops on the ground there is a great deal more that we can be doing to help the Syrian opposition, such as providing them with money, weapons, ammunition, and communication devices to organize themselves and to reach the outside world.

By ignoring this tremendous human need, we are only strengthening the genocidal hands of Iran and that of Hizballah. It has long been known that there is a great “axis of evil” between Iran, Syria and Hizballah, that goes back for at least the last thirty years. Iran has long been importing weapons to and training Syrian backed Hizballah. This has then been exported to Lebanon, which has become a puppet state of Hizballah.

So, if we abandon the people that are crying out for our help in Syria, who will swoop in to fill the void?

Last week, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahari said that “The brave, jihadi Syrian people rose and will never accept anything less than victory over the criminal butchers.”

Al-Zawahari is obviously trying to seize this opportunity for Al Qaeda to profit from the chaos that has been sweeping throughout the Arab world, from Egypt to Yemen.

I understand that people in the State Department and the Obama administration are tired of the mess and confusion of the current Middle East. They want to switch the channel to the Far East. The growing crises in this region of the world, however, will not wait for us to suddenly regain interest in them.

As I said, nature abhors a vacuum. If we do not step in and do what is moral and right for the good people of the Syrian opposition, than there are plenty of other players on the world scene who are more than willing to sweep in and to fill the void with their nasty agendas.

Wishful Thinking: Negotiating With the Taliban
Kyle Shideler

February 10 2012

“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.”
– Vice President Joe Biden, December 2011

“Dreamers tell us dreams come true, it’s no mistake. Wishes are the dreams we dream when we’re awake.”
–The Glenn Miller Orchestra, Wishing (Will Make it So), March 1939

Wars do not simply end. They are won or lost. There are a host of strategic, moral, and political consequences for having been defeated on the field of battle. Yet this simple truism appears to run utterly counter to the declared policy of President Obama.

During his state of the union speech, President Obama declared, “Most of Al Qaeda’s top lieutenants have been defeated.  The Taliban’s momentum has been broken, and some troops in Afghanistan have begun to come home.”

False.

The Taliban believe they are poised to retake the country when the U.S. withdrawals, according to a U.S. military report compiled from interviews with recent Taliban detainees. The Afghan forces with whom we are purported allies against Al Qaeda and the Taliban are selling their weapons, signing cease-fires, and turning over territory to the Taliban in preparation for our departure, according to NATO. And that’s when our “allies” aren’t shooting our people in the back. As Army Lt. Colonel Daniel Davis reports, “there is an absence of success…on every level.”

Not content to follow the advice of the late Senator George Aiken who when speaking of Vietnam reportedly said, “the best policy is to declare victory and leave,” the Obama administration intends to do one better and declare that there is no enemy and then leave. Thus, administration officials came to the support of Vice President Biden, insisting that his statement about the Taliban was not in error.  Indeed the administration’s effort to create a non-existent division between the Taliban and Al Qaeda (which they falsely claim to have defeated) serves an obvious purpose since it seems unlikely that even a war-weary public is willing to countenance negotiating with terrorists who openly and repeatedly declare themselves affiliated with those who murdered nearly 3,000 Americans on a fateful September day.

Yet the Administration continues to agree to concessions, including a demand to release hardened terrorists from Guantanamo Bay, and permit the opening of a “Taliban Embassy” in Qatar,  for the mere pleasure of beginning negotiations.

And the Taliban has yet further conditions, insisting that, “ … (4) no ceasefire will be demanded before, during or after the talks; (5) Taliban will not accept any condition contrary to Shariah; (6) whenever desired, the Taliban will disassociate from the talks.”

In other words, the Taliban’s preconditions for negotiations are the right to continue their jihad to establish Shariah in Afghanistan. They have, in effect, asked for a complete acquiescence to all of their goals, as a pre-condition for talks. By comparison, what were once American preconditions, of respecting the Afghan constitution, renouncing Al Qaeda, and laying down their arms, have now become mere “necessary outcomes.”

How did we reach this piteous position?

It is not the fault of America’s valiant soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines who have shown time and again that they can and will win on the field of battle despite restrictive rules of engagement, never mind the naysayers who spout platitudes about the “graveyard of empires.”

It is not the fighting skills of the Afghan tribes, or the treacherous terrain, both of which confronted all previous occupiers of Afghanistan, which have placed us within a hair’s breadth of defeat. It is instead policy-makers in the United States, who have repeatedly failed to comprehend the threat doctrine of the enemy or the ideology upon which it is based, and through that comprehension devise a strategy which results in victory. Can any member of the Obama administration articulate what negotiating conditions might be contrary to Shariah? Do they understand the concept of a hudna, a tactical peace which exists only until the Muslim side is strengthened and jihad can once again be waged successfully? Do they recognize that any other proposed peace with a non-Muslim power would itself be a violation of Shariah, and thus a violation of Taliban’s preconditions?  It is the same view of Shariah which prohibited the Taliban from turning Osama bin Laden over to an infidel power for his act of jihad in 2001, when that ultimatum was presented to them by then President George Bush.

This failure to comprehend the nature of the enemy has come about not because our policy makers are incompetent or foolish, nor simply because they are politically correct, although this is a factor. Instead it is a matter of a deliberate campaign of misinformation conducted by those who share the Taliban’s doctrine of Shariah, even if they disagree tactically about its violent methods. This campaign, principally conducted by members or supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood, is one which we have opined on previously, and at some length.

So it came as little surprise to us to learn that the spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood Sheik Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, serves as a mediator for these ill-conceived negotiations with the Taliban. Nor can we be surprised by Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony which judged the Muslim Brotherhood a useful bulwark against Al Qaeda. How can an organization which shares the exact same ideological roots and objectives as Al Qaeda serve as a bulwark against it? This concept is as preposterous as maintaining that by supporting Communist parties throughout Western Europe we might have undermined the Soviet Union.

If the United States and its allies depart Afghanistan under a cloud of defeat, whether granted a fig leaf of negotiations or not, it is a victory for global jihad and will be understood as such. It may be the case that military necessity will dictate a retreat from Afghanistan. That is something which the military planners will have to determine. But that determination should be made with a crystal clear understanding of the enemy, not clouded by muddle-headed pabulum that disguises the Taliban as anything other than the hardened jihadists they are.

It may have been alright to believe that “wishing will make it so” in March of 1939, but by September 1939, it became time to put away such light-hearted fare and recognize implacable enemies for what they were. Yet here we are, ten years into our war with global jihad, and the Obama Administration continues to tell us that dreams may yet come true.

A return to Andalusia
Yoram Ettinger

January 27 2012

The collapse of Israeli-Palestinian agreements from the 1993 Oslo Accords until today stems from the fact that both Israeli and U.S. leaders ignore the real root of the conflict. The heart of the conflict is the denial of the existence – and not the size – of any non-Muslim entity on land, that, in the eyes of Muslims, is Waqf – and inalienable religious land endowment.

On Jan. 9, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem Muhammad Ahmad Hussein, a close associate of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, stressed that all Israeli territory was Muslim Waqf land, had been since 637 C.E., and would be forever. The mufti made his comments at a rally for Fatah, which Abbas heads, that was broadcast on the official state television station. The mufti also called for the killing of Jews to hasten the Islamic Resurrection. His sentiments have become rooted in the Palestinian consciousness, with the help of the Palestinian Authority educational system, as a poll from July 2011 shows. Conducted by liberal-democratic American pollster Stanley Greenberg, an associate of former President Bill Clinton and former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the poll found that 73 percent of Palestinians viewed killing Jews as a springboard to Judgment Day. On March 27, 2010, Abbas declared: “Jerusalem and all its surrounding areas are holy lands promised by Allah. We must do everything we can to save them from the Jewish threat.”

This principle of “holy land” is permanent, and is stronger than any leader or passing policy, and it applies to any land that was ever under Islamic control. It is an inseparable part of the legacy of Muhammad and Islamic law, especially at this time of the surge of the trans-national Muslim Brotherhood, which views Allah, the Koran, the Prophet Muhammad, jihad and martyrdom as the goal, the law, the leader, the way and the exalted aspiration. Their loyalty to the “holy land” obligates Muslims to “holy war” and the restoration of sovereignty in the Philippines, Thailand, parts of China, Kashmir, Chechnya, Israel, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Spain, Portugal and elsewhere.

The centrality of “holy land” in the Muslim experience can be understood from the example of Andalusia, the Arabic name for most of the Iberian Peninsula, which was under Islamic rule from 711-1492 C.E. The Muslim Golden Age did not take place between the Jordan and the Mediterranean Sea, but rather in Andalusia, especially in the Alhambra palace/fortress in Granada. At the beginning of the 8th century, the Muslims conquered the Iberian Peninsula, southern France, Sicily and the Italian coastline and declared it “Abode of Islam.” In 1492, Spain was liberated from the control of Muslims, who today still view “Andalusia” as their “holy land.” Muslim terrorist plots in Madrid in March 2004 killed 191 people and wounded around 1,800. The attack intended to correct the “injustice of Andalusia.” Saudi Arabia is constructing the second largest mosque in the world in Cordoba, the former capital of Andalusia, while mosques are springing up like mushrooms all over Spain.

Professor Efraim Karsh, head of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Studies at King’s College in London, in his book “Islamic Imperialism” (Yale University Press, 2007), says: “In 1980, there was a huge map of Afghanistan on which large parts of what was then Soviet Central Asia and China’s Xinjiang Province were labeled ‘Temporarily Occupied Muslim Territory.’ Dr. Yusuf Qaradawi, a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brothers [said] the city of Hirqil [Constantinopol] will be conquered first … The other city Romiya, Rome ... we hope and believe that it too will be conquered … That means that Islam will return to Europe as a conqueror.”

Recognition of foreign sovereignty over Muslim “holy land” amounts to humiliation, betrayal and servitude for Arabs and Muslims. The Treaty of Hudaybiyya from 628 C.E. set a precedent for the “phased plan,” or for signing tactical agreements that temporarily relinquish “holy land,” but never abandon the overarching, permanent strategy of reclaiming it all at a later stage.

Continuing the policy of negotiating “land for peace” plays into the hands of our enemies and dooms us to repeat past mistakes. It ignores the roots of Arab hostility, raises Arab expectations and exacerbates violence and terrorism in the region.

White House Exhibits No Urgency as Muslim Brotherhood Takes Power
Valerie Greenfeld

January 19 1970

Egypt’s final round of elections earlier this month confirmed our greatest fear: victory by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party (FJP) received 41% of the parliament. Together with other parties, Islamists dominate two-thirds of the new Egyptian legislature, and elected a strong Brotherhood leader Mohamed al-Katatni, as Speaker of the Parliament.

The Muslim Brotherhood’s election victory indicates strong support for Islamism and for Sharia law. Sharia law does not tolerate free speech or protests against the government, and it exploits and suppresses minorities.  Muslim Brotherhood has expressed their goal to see the newly-formed government, “evolv[e] into a rightly guided caliphate.”

This naturally alarms Israel because the Brotherhood is closely allied with the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which has claimed responsibility for murdering hundreds of civilians, including Americans, in Israel. Ismail Haniyeh, Hamas’s prime minister, has described his organization as the “jihadi movement of the Brotherhood with a Palestinian face.” Haniyeh stated recently that “our presence with the Brotherhood threatens the Israeli entity.”

The parliamentary elections will soon be followed by a rewriting of the 1971 constitution which will take place prior to the presidential elections.  That will ensure that the power will reside in the Islamist-dominated parliament. In any case, most of the current presidential contenders have a similar agenda to the Brotherhood, calling for imposing Sharia law in Egypt and modifying the country’s peace treaty with Israel.

The 1979 peace treaty was negotiated by Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and Israel is rightly concerned about whether the document will be honored.  Odds are slim, since the ruling military junta, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF) plans to put the Camp David accords on the ballot for a national referendum. The Brotherhood has vowed never to recognize Israel as legitimate.

As Islamists were swept into power throughout the Middle East, what was the White House doing? It was standing shoulder to shoulder with the Islamists. As the revolution in Egypt evoked Western fears (now proven to be prescient) of a Brotherhood rise to power, the administration dispatched Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to announce that the Islamist group was “largely secular.” The U.S. government provided election training to Egyptian Islamist parties.

The N.Y. Times reported that the Obama administration accepts the Muslim Brotherhood’s assurances that it will build a democracy that respects individual rights, free markets and free speech. On January 4, the administration began to “forge closer ties to the Muslim Brotherhood that once was received as irreconcilably opposed to U.S. interests,” the newspaper said.  The White House is giving the Brotherhood international legitimacy, based on the platitudes the latter expresses in English, while in Arabic it has demanded the expulsion of the Israeli ambassador and called for preparations for war against Israel.

At the same time, the White House has represented the Egyptian military as a pro-Western and secular force which will restrain Islamist elements. In reality, the Egyptian military has used deadly force against civilian protesters. In response to a Coptic protest in the Cairo neighborhood of Maspero, SCAF unleashed armored vehicles, which deliberately ran over protestors. Protestors were assaulted and beaten as Egyptian troops yelled “Allahu akbar” at those they called “Christian sons of dogs.”

These recent attacks by the military and their Islamist allies against Coptic Christians (who make up 10 percent of the 82 million Egyptians) give us a preview of what is to come when the Islamists impose Sharia law:

  “The Islamists have been unleashed,” says Nasri, a Copt pharmacist who is hoping to leave Egypt.  “You’re talking about no rights for women.  No rights for Coptic Christians.  They’ll make us more of a minority.  It will be like living centuries ago.”

Red lights are flashing and sirens are blasting, but the Obama administration does not sense the threat. That is not for lack of information. EMET predicted early-on that the Brotherhood would take power and that the Egyptian military would not stand for democracy and minority rights. Unfortunately, President Obama believes that America’s role in the world is far too aggressive and arrogant in promoting democracy. As a result, he apologizes for our supposed failure to understand others, our alleged selfishness in pursuing U.S. interests instead of global interests and showing far too much concern for U.S. independence and freedom of action.

Perhaps Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) sees the danger in Obama’s support for Egypt’s incoming government. Traditionally, Washington appropriates $1.3 billion a year to Egypt, plus additional support from the U.S. Agency for International Development. Senator Leahy has sponsored a bill in the Appropriations Committee that calls for restrictions in military aid to Egypt. Leahy also calls for funds to be earmarked to promote democracy and limit military power there. The Egyptian military has lobbied aggressively against the Leahy legislation, and it upped the ante by raiding Western pro-democracy Non-governmental organizations.  According to The Washington Post, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also opposes these restrictions, and the State Department has proposed an additional billion dollars in debt relief, to provide funds for the Egyptian government’s “transition.”

The seismic wave of change in Middle East has swept Sharia advocates into power, and the Obama Administration has been a contributor to that outcome. Now, freedoms of speech and of minority rights are threatened. So is Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel, which long has stood as the only democracy in the region. The White House has settled for the democracy of “one man, one vote, one time,” thus bringing even worse regimes to power than had previously ruled in the region. Who will take a stand and promote real democratic values?

Able and Willing: Iran And The Strait Of Hormuz
Kyle Shideler

January 13 2012

U.S. officials have vocally opposed the maneuvers and have warned Iran against any attempt to prevent free navigation of the strait. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta called its possible closing “a red line.”

The Iranian threats began in late December, as the U.S. Congress sent to President Obama new legislation sanctioning the Iranian central bank. The White House attempted to water down the bill when it was being considered bycongress, and perhaps the Iranians calculated that bluffing over Hormuz would push the Obama administration to back away from the bill or undermine its implementation. This is a reasonable assumption, considering that the White House’s objections, economic instability and a rise in oil prices, are exactly the consequences expected from of a prolonged crisis over the strait.

Some pundits have argued that Iran’s threatened closure of the Strait of Hormuz has more to do with its domestic policy. Iran may be attempting to raise the price of oil to buoy its own economy and blunt the increasingly damaging effects of international sanctions.  The Iranian Rial has already been severely impacted by the sanctions, which led to skyrocketing prices. The European Union agreed to extend its efforts to curtail the import of Iranian oil, and China, which normally shirks anti-Iran sanctions, extended an import cut that more than halved its import of Iranian oil.

Setting aside the question of true motivation, analysts have focused on two questions of supreme importance: Are the Iranians able to close the strait effectively in the face of American military might? If so, are they willing to do so, considering the damage such closure does to their self-interest?

How one answers the first question depends on what one considers to be “effective.” In 2005, Vice Admiral Lowell Jacoby, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, testified to Congress that Iran could “briefly close” the strait. Other experts have stated that an Iranian closure might last a few days to a few weeks. These projections seem overly optimistic. Consider that the two most recent examples of American mine-clearing operations took place in 1991 and 2003, in response to Iraqi mine-laying operations. In both cases, the United States was clearing static moored contact mines in areas no longer at risk of enemy contact. They averaged 18-20 mines cleared a day under ideal conditions. By contrast, Iran possesses approximately 2,000 mines, at least a percentage of which are likely influence contact mines, which are more difficult to sweep. Additionally, Iran can utilize its surface-to-surface missiles, and its fast-attack boats to make any mine-clearing operation extremely hazardous without a substantial military action against shore-based Iranian facilities. Such attacks would greatly delay mine-clearing operations, thus prolonging the strait’s closure to commerce. Despite that the Iranians have crafted their military doctrine around this scenario; some analysts believe that Iran would not be able to resist a U.S.-led naval campaign to reopen the strait for very long, and that an Iranian attempt to close the strait would be playing to American strengths.

But in a paper he prepared in 2010 for the Naval War College, “Rethinking the Strait of Hormuz: A Recommended Course of Action that Establishes Operational Advantage,” Commander Daniel Dolan warns,
Inherent with this school of thought is the risk of seriously underestimating the true capabilities and determination of the Iranian forces. To present Iran as the kind of war the United States excels in fighting ignores the lessons of the Iran’s new style of hybrid warfare demonstrated in Lebanon 2006. When the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) entered Southern Lebanon, they were prepared to fight the type of war they excel in fighting, but as the popular adage of military strategy states, “the enemy gets a vote” and Hizbullah did not choose to fight on Israel’s terms. The [Commander Naval Forces] would be naïve to think that Iran will fight on ours.

Notable in the 2006 campaign was Hezbollah’s use of a C-802 anti-ship missile to damage the INS Hanit, killing four Israeli sailors. Hezbollah frequently serves as a test for new Iranian weapons and tactics. Despite Israel’s intelligence on Hezbollah’s possessing such weapons, and, indeed, warnings that the weapons were likely to be deployed against the Israeli blockade; Jerusalem did not take the threat seriously enough. The United States ought not underestimate Iranian capabilities.

Iran’s reliance on martyrdom units as a linchpin of its strategic capability also should not be ignored. As Dolan writes, “The inclusion of martyr squads, when combined with Iran’s burgeoning arsenal of conventional weapons equates to a potent hybrid force that would be difficult to defeat or deter.”

This is especially true with Iran well aware of America’s strong aversion to suffering casualties. The Iranians may calculate that sinking or severely damaging a U.S. capital ship would be an enormous political and psychological victory, even if their own loss of life and naval assets are completely disproportionate by Western standards.

Using these metrics, the Iranians can almost certainly close the Strait of Hormuz in a manner requiring substantial U.S. military action to dislodge them, probably taking a month or more to accomplish. Additionally, the Iranians may be able to create such U.S. casualties that even after reopening the strait, the United States would be sufficiently humbled so as to shy away from future military conflict. That would constitute a strategic victory for Iran.

We now must still address the question of whether Iran is willing to close the strait.

The pundit Walter Russell Mead wrote last week that Iran’s stance against sanctions conjures up “the defiance of a cornered animal rather than the insolence of a rising power.” He cited rising economic distress, the results of the Arab Spring, and the current uprising against Syria, which is Iran’s chief ally and major client — combining, he said, to create an image of Iran in retreat and in need of economic stability and security more than it desires to pursue its ideological revolution and global confrontation.

But the Iranian leadership likely doesn’t see the situation this way. The Iranians can claim to have defeated the United States in Iraq, with U.S troops departing as Iran solidified control over Baghdad’s government. Iran is attempting a similar maneuver in Afghanistan, with success there, too. Tehran maintains close relationships with radical leftist leaders in South America, moving freely in America’s backyard. One of its major regional opponents, Egypt, is now headed by Islamist factions with more in common with Tehran than with the United States during Hosni Mubarak’s rule. And while Syria is under pressure due to its slaughter of domestic protestors, the West has barely intervened against Bashar Assad; Iran seems to calculate that Assad will cling to power. Despite killing U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, and even conspiring to kill a Saudi diplomat (and undoubtedly American civilians) in Washington, Iran has not suffered any overt retribution from U.S. forces.

In other words, Iran sees itself to be a rising power, and the United States to be a waning power with increased reluctance for confrontation.

While international sanctions undoubtedly increase pressure on Iran, the Islamic regime has spent its entire existence under sanctions of one degree or another, and has never put its economic well-being before its revolutionary aspirations. Iran may calculate that while it will suffer additional economic hardship, it is well-positioned to endure, compared to the West, which struggles with bad economic conditions that will be exacerbated by an Iranian closure of the strait. Additionally, if sanctions are truly having such a deleterious effect, Iran may calculate that it has nothing to lose from inflicting comparable economic pain upon its enemies.

If Iran will risk the economic hardship of closing the strait, is it willing to risk providing the United States with an opportunity to engage, and destroy, both Tehran’s naval forces and its nuclear program? One argument against Iran’s closing the strait postulates that it would be foolish to risk its nuclear program when it has continued to make progress — such as by successfully bringing a better-shielded, more efficient enrichment facility at Fordo online, despite covert attacks against Iranian facilities and personnel.

Arguing that Iran will not risk its nuclear program by provoking the Americans puts the cart before the horse. The nuclear weapons program is a means, not an end to itself. Its purpose is to grant Iran a kind of immunity from regime change and to better enable the Islamic Republic to pursue its strategic goals.

If Iran believes that implemented sanctions will weaken the regime to an extent that it risks being overthrown by domestic opposition or that it would be unable to continue its strategic campaign to establish regional dominance, then safeguarding its nuclear capability may cease to be a priority. The comparable historical example is to Japan’s decision to attack the United States in 1941 in response to the U.S. oil embargo. Doing so meant engaging the sleeping giant and its superior industrial and military capability. But not doing so meant Japan’s abandoning its China campaign and not seizing the regional hegemony perceived as theirs by right.

Iran’s ability to close the strait and risk military confrontation with the United States doesn’t mean that it will do so. However, analyses that make assumptions about Iranian will or capability, based on a Western misconception of Tehran’s worldview, would be a serious error with potentially grave consequences.

The Middle East Policy of Rep. Ron Paul
Kyle Shideler

January 06 2012

EMET does not, as a matter of policy, support or oppose political candidates or any political party. However, we feel it appropriate to comment substantively on a political figure’s foreign policy positions, especially those jeopardizing the national security of the United States and her allies, including Israel.

With Republican Congressman Ron Paul coming in a close third in the Iowa presidential caucus, we must look seriously at his foreign policy views, particularly on the Middle East and Israel, and ask whether such views are suitable for a commander-in-chief charged with the security of the United States during a period of conflict with a determined Islamic enemy.

Much attention has been paid, since Paul’s strong showing in Iowa, to statements issued in Rep. Paul’s newsletter publications. Many of these newsletters contain material on domestic matters (such as race relations) that may be objectionable, but one of the most troubling statements on the foreign policy front relates to credence given to a conspiracy theory blaming the Mossad for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. From an April 1993 edition of the newsletter:

  It was only a matter of a few days after the World Trade Center bombing before Mohammad A. Salameh was arrested. Is he guilty? Who knows? Recall that shortly after the Kennedy assassination, Lee Harvey Oswald was apprehended and accusations were made. Whether it was a setup by the Israeli Mossad, as a Jewish friend of mine suspects, or was truly retaliation by the Islamic fundamentalists matters little.

This statement shows a susceptibility to conspiratorial thinking, which, while contrary to any good analysis, is particularly dangerous when considering the Middle East. The Arab world is fraught with all manner of ludicrous and delusional conspiracy theories about the Jews and Israel, and that a potential American Commander-in-Chief would give them any credence is deeply troubling. Even if, as Rep. Paul claims, he was not the author of the newsletters in question, then at the very least he hired and supervised, or failed to supervise, individuals who maintained these beliefs. Anyone who genuinely considers the possibility that Israel would intentionally bomb an American civilian building for the sole purpose of framing Islamic terrorists, cannot ever be an ally of or, indeed, even neutral in regards to Israel.

The other interesting element of the quote is the use of the word “retaliation.” The assumption that any act of terrorism committed by Muslims must be the result of U.S. behavior, and, therefore, justifiable is a hallmark of Paul’s policies and is deeply troubling. A perfect illustration occurred in Paul’s remarks during the December 15th Iowa Republican debate. “… [T]o say all Muslims are the same is dangerous talk,” he stated. “They don’t come to kill us because we are free and prosperous. Do they go to Switzerland and Sweden? I mean that’s absurd.”

Of course all Muslims are not the same. No one is suggesting that they are. Paul’s claim that Muslims want to harm us “because we are bombing them” ignores the reality that Islamists have deeply-held religious and ideological beliefs that mandate jihad against non-believers, the spread of Sharia, and the dominance of an Islamic caliphate. We know this because not just Islamic terrorists, but Muslim jurists, thinkers and policy-makers say so routinely, as evidenced by a wide collection of Arabic-language video and transcripts available from translation services like MEMRI.

Ironically the Swiss Federal Department of Justice and Police recognizes better than does Rep. Paul the reality of jihadist motivations, writing in a 2006 report summary, that Switzerland was both home to, and a target for, Islamist terrorists.

Furthermore, which Muslims exactly does Paul claim the United States bombed prior to the 1993 “retaliation” bombing?

Paul blames Israel for much of the faults of the Middle East and, according to former Paul staffer Eric Dondero, has privately expressed his wish that Israel not exist. Dondero writes,

  He wishes the Israeli state did not exist at all. He expressed this to me numerous times in our private conversations. His view is that Israel is more trouble than it is worth, specifically to the American taxpayer. He sides with the Palestinians, and supports their calls for the abolishment of the Jewish state, and the return of Israel, all of it, to the Arabs.

Paul has attempted to create the impression that his stance on Israel is motivated not by anti-Zionism, but, rather, by a principled position on independent national sovereignty. He points to his voting against condemning Israel for the 1981 Osirak reactor bombing, and claims that our “interference” with Israel is to their detriment. Said Paul in a November presidential debate in Washington,

  We interfere with them when they deal with their borders. When they want to have peace treaties, we tell them what they can do because we buy their allegiance and they sacrifice their sovereignty to us. And then they decide they want to bomb something, that’s their business, but they should, you know, suffer the consequences. When they bombed the Iraqi missile site, nuclear site, back in the ’80s, I was one of the few in Congress that said it’s none of our business and Israel should take care of themselves.

EMET believes that a close American-Israeli security alliance is to the benefit of both nations, but we understand that one could make the opposing argument that Israel is burdened by its American alliance in good faith. However Paul’s stance is disingenuous, as evidenced by his remarks on the House floor on Israel’s Operation Cast Lead invasion of Gaza that began in December 2008. Paul claimed that Hamas was “encouraged by and really started by Israel,” much as he blames the U.S. for the rise of Al Qaeda. In interviews with Iranian state television, Press TV, he described Gaza as a “concentration camp.” Far from wanting to free Israel to see to its own national security, Paul seizes upon occasions when Israel acts to ensure its security, as in Operation Cast Lead, to condemn it and, by extension, the United States.

Paul prefers pat answers that blame America and Israel to conducting serious investigation of the motivations of our self-declared enemies. Indeed Paul’s belief in American-centric grievance terrorism denies agency to other countries and cultures. He refuses to take into account any historical, cultural or political developments prior to America’s rise to superpower status. Paul’s only solution is a return to American isolationism as a foreign policy.

Paul believes that if Washington ceases to support and ally itself with the Jewish state, then a large number of America’s problems with the Muslim world will disappear. But suppose that a President Paul initiated a foreign policy in which the U.S. government didn’t defend Israel in the United Nations Security Council, recognized “Palestine” as a nation, called on Israel to negotiate with that state, and stopped the sale of American weapons or technology to the Jewish state. Would these actions prompt the Islamist or Muslim worlds to reward us with better behavior?

Certainly, there is plenty of evidence to suggest they would not, just by examining the past three years. President Barack Obama is markedly less supportive of Israel than was President George W. Bush. Obama made improved relations with the Muslim world a cornerstone of his foreign policy, as delineated in his Cairo declaration in 2009. Based on the Paul logic, positive results should come from the Muslim world, but we see no evidence of its becoming more supportive of the United States. Have the Palestinians been more willing to compromise? No. The Palestinian Authority seems to be approaching the even more extreme and radical group, Hamas, with which it now plans to merge. Also, the PA has unilaterally pushed for statehood recognition by the United Nations, an effort the Obama Administration has opposed. And has the rest of the Muslim world become more cooperative with the United States? Not at all. Pakistan hid Osama Bin Laden until we found and killed him, and it continues to support the Taliban in Afghanistan. Saudi Arabia still produces textbooks and religious materials filled with anti-Christian and anti-Jewish bigotry. And Iran still pushes ahead with nuclear weapons production.

We have every reason to suspect, therefore, that the Middle East’s reaction to an even softer Ron Paul approach to diplomacy would be greater intransigence.

Paul pretends that this reality does not exist or that it does not matter. Osama bin Laden should not have been killed, under Paul’s reasoning. Iran is not trying to acquire a nuclear bomb, he claims, and if it were, that’s Teheran’s choice. “If I were an Iranian, I’d like to have a nuclear weapon, too, because you gain respect from them,” he told Iowans.

Paul’s foreign policy has a seductive attraction. If all the troubles America endures are because of her actions, then ceasing these actions is a cure-all. But this is simply not so. A retreat to some mythical isolationist foreign policy is as impossible as it is undesirable. It would cede regional hegemony to national and non-state actors who have their own innate motivations for wishing death to those they label “infidels,” and make the world, America, and Israel, infinitely more insecure.

Looking Back at 2011, The Year of the Regional Cataclysm
Sarah Stern

December 30 2011

Turning and turning in the widening gyre,
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;Things fall apart;
The centre cannot hold,
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world …

— William Butler Yeats

By all accounts, 2011 has been a cataclysmic year in the Middle East. What began with a government official’s harassment of Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian street vendor, and ended in his self-immolation on December 18,2010, sparked riots that led to what has been dubbed “The Arab Spring” but that we at EMET have more appropriately entitled “The Arab Tsunami.”. The events in Tunisia resulted in a wave of protests that has shaken up the Arab and Muslim worlds, stretching all the way from Morocco to Yemen.

As anyone who has not been asleep for the greater part of this year is aware, what transpired in the region in 2011 has been more dramatic than anything to occur in the Middle East since the days after World War I, when French diplomat Francois Georges Picot, together with British diplomat Sir Mark Sykes, carved up the region for their countries.

What has happened since last December 18 has awakened the populations throughout the region to protest their countries’ poor economic conditions and total lack of human rights, as well as corruption within the region’s leadership. That then led, among other astonishing developments, to the resignation of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia; the end of the 33-year reign of Yemenite President Ali Abdullah Saleh;  the overthrow and death of Libyan strongman Muammmar Gaddafi and, most astonishingly, the end of the 30-year, iron-clad reign of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

As of now, more than 37,000 people have died in these protests, and the region is still awash with blood. What will be the final outcome of these cataclysmic events is difficult to predict. Sometimes, revolutions result in more freedom, as defined from the liberal, Western point of view. The French Revolution took decades and finally resulted in more freedoms. A revolution, however, might result in a more oppressive regime within an overarching system, such as occurred in the Russian Revolution of 1917, or the Iranian Revolution of 1979.

We at EMET have long seen the rising tide of radical Islamism and have expressed the fear that what began with the Facebook generation by a few young, freedom-loving activists (in the Western sense of the concept) would lead to elections ushering in Islamist regimes. That is because the people who truly have the political power and infrastructure control the mosques.

We are witnessing now, as in Germany in 1939 and in Gaza in 2006, the reality that one election does not a democracy make.

EMET has stressed throughout this year that democracy entails the chance to have second, third and fourth elections, and that the institutions that allow a person to dissent without fear of one’s very life must already be in place: a free and independent press, a free and independent judiciary, freedom of assemblage. And, as Natan Sharansky has written: the freedom to scream from the middle of the public square and criticize those in power, in the government.

So, where are we today? Just looking at this week’s headlines, I’d like to present an overview of a few hot spots in this troubled region.

Syria

More than 6,200 people have been murdered by the brutal boot of the repressive regime of Bashar al-Assad within the last several months of the uprising, including hundreds of children. Hundreds, if not thousands, more have disappeared from the streets, perhaps languishing in jail, where God only knows the abuse to which they have been subjected, if they even remain alive.  The Syrian government claims that the uprising was orchestrated by “foreign terrorists.” As I write these words, residents of the besieged city of Homs cry out for the world to come and witness the endless bloodshed, which has killed more than 100 residents over the past few days. Videos posted throughout the Internet show blood-soaked streets in that city, with bodies lying about. Homs has been cut off from food and electricity, and, in a scene reminiscent of the film Schindler’s List, the regime’s soldiers take pot shots at people leaving their homes during certain hours. The brave dissidents there, despite, the level of brutality that this oppressive regime has stooped to, have not given up.

EMET has been urging strong American sanctions against Syria, as well as covert or overt help for the dissidents. Replacing the Assad government has got to be better than the current situation. Furthermore, Syria is part of the Iranian constellation, and anything that weakens Teheran’s sphere of influence is a good thing.

Egypt

The results of the long-awaited second of the three rounds of parliamentary elections are finally in, and no surprises occurred. As EMET predicted, the Islamist parties received more than 75 percent of the vote. The highest percentage of votes went to Salafist parties that are even more extreme than the horrific Muslim Brotherhood. This all but paves the way for a radical Sharia state to Israel’s immediate west and the continuation of an open smuggling corridor of goods, weapons and fighters into Hamas-controlled Gaza. The eight million Coptic Christians in Egypt have long endured persecution, but since Mubarak’s overthrow, this minority has endured massacres and unspeakable abuses.

The Egyptian military that has maintained control since the ouster of Mubarak has been exceedingly brutal, particularly in abusing female protestors, who, when arrested, have endured humiliating and painful “virginity tests,” which the army claims protects the women from the charge of prostitution.  This week, millions of viewers were stunned by the YouTube video of a female demonstrator savagely beaten by the Egyptian military; her abaya (cloak) was opened, with her bare midriff and her blue bra appearing as an Egyptian officer prepared to stomp on her with his boot.

I am certain that when the Tahrir Square demonstrations began earlier this year, none of the organizers thought it would have come to this.

Israel has no assurances that there will not be a radical, Sunni Islamic state along on its border or that Egypt will — despite public pronouncements due to diplomatic and economic factors — uphold the fragile 1979 Camp David peace treaty with Israel. In fact, both of the major Egyptian parties have stated that the treaty has to be reexamined.

Since the Camp David Accords was signed, America has elevated the Egyptian military from a C-, Soviet-equipped force to an A+, American-equipped one. EMET has been alone on Capitol Hill in arguing, ever since the demonstrations began in Tahrir Square last winter, that America should withhold further military aid until the results of the elections are known. The results show that, as predicted, Sharia has swept through the region. EMET calls for an immediate cessation of all military funding and weapon shipments to Egypt.

Palestinian Authority-Hamas

Taking a cue from the success of its Islamist brothers in Egypt, Hamas decided this week to enter into the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary elections in the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, if you will), which are due to take place in May. Hamas leader Mahmoud Zahar has expressed every confidence in winning the elections.

Beyond that, last Thursday, the Palestinian Liberation Organization — which many world bodies, including the United Nations, feels has the sole legitimacy for representing the Palestinian people — held a historic meeting in Ramallah, where an accord was reached to open up its umbrella group to “activate and reconstruct” it to include organizations that do not currently belong. This paves the way for Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad to join the PLO.[1]

Just as the Salafists participated in the Egyptian elections not to share power, but to dominate, Hamas is now entering into a relationship with the PLO to dominate it.

I am certain we will soon hear pundits inside the Washington Beltway saying that now is the time for Israel to make dramatic concessions for peace, to buoy Fatah’s chances of winning in the upcoming elections.

Yes, you heard it right: Israel will be asked to sacrifice her own strategic depth, once again, in this tumultuous and rapidly growing Islamist region of the world, for the sake of internal Palestinian politics and to inject a transfusion into the moribund peace process.

Or, borrowing a page from Yasser Arafat’s and Abu Mazen’s playbook, it will not take long before we begin to hear the talking heads telling us that there is a “moderate faction” to talk to in Hamas.

Do not be fooled: Osama Hamdan, Hamas’s newly dubbed foreign minister, told the Al-Quds newspaper: “Anyone who thinks Hamas has changed its positions and now accepts the PLO’s defeating political position is living under an illusion. Hamas cannot make a mistake that proved to be a failed one. … By moving toward reconciliation with the PLO, we are reconstructing the organization and reconsidering its failed program.” So as not to be misunderstood, he added: “Hamas’s goal is first and foremost the liberation of our lands from the sea to the river and achieving the right of return.”[2]

Or, as Khalil Abu Leila, another Hamas official, stated, “Hamas will not join the PLO political program. Rather, a major task of the Hamas provisional leadership will be to bring the PLO back to its correct path and the goal for which it was established, mainly, the liberation of Palestine.”[3]

Iran

Against this rising tide of Sunni Islamist fundamentalism throughout the region is the Iranian quest for hegemony and for the reclamation of the triumph of Shiite Islamism.

One particularly horrifying way Iran has engaged in this quest is through its pursuit of nuclear weapons. None of us was surprised when the International Atomic Energy Agency reported last November that Iran now has the ability to create nuclear weapons, having mastered the “critical steps involved in the process.” The report further stated that a Soviet scientist tutored the Iranians about detonation reactions, and that North Korean and Pakistani nuclear scientists were also available to lend their knowledge and expertise.

This of course totally refutes the National Intelligence Estimate of 2007, which stated:

We judge with high confidence that in the fall of 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program. …We judge with high confidence that the halt, and Tehran’s announcement of its decision to suspend its declared uranium enrichment program and sign an Additional Protocol to its Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Safeguars Agreement, was directed primarily in response to increasing the international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran’s previously undeclared nuclear work.

First lesson: Do not trust any accord signed by a despot or a dictator. One barometer of whether or not a ruler means what he says is how he treats his minorities and his dissidents. It is all directly related to an underlying premise of one’s respect for the dignity of human life and the basic rights of man.

Speaking of dissidents: There was a moment of opportunity, when the brave, young Iranian dissidents were out on the streets, en masse, and the leader of the free world, President Obama, said nothing in their support for a full two weeks, while skulls were being crushed and people were disappearing from the streets. Most people in Iran are under 30. They were born after the Islamic Revolution of 1979, despise the theocracy and are feeling suffocated by its choking stranglehold.

The Iranian prisons are bursting with such protestors.  Taking a page from the Soviet Jewry movement, in which names like Natan Sharansky became household words in the West, we should all know the names of people like 26-year-old Hossein Ronaghi Malkhi, a blogger and human rights activist, who was arrested for fomenting the demonstrations in June 2009. He was sent to the notorious Evin Prison, where he has beaten and tortured and needs a kidney operation.

The Iranian nuclear program has led to a more rigorous pursuit of nuclear weaponry within such Sunni Arab states as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. They, of course, have the petro dollars to buy scientists, technology and nuclear material.

All of this adds to the destabilization of an already volatile and unpredictable region, where human rights abuses are on the rise along with Sunni and Shiite Islamism.

Lessons for 2012

This has been a traumatic year for the entire region. It is a time of chaos and instability, in which we should have learned:

1) The United States has only one stable, reliable ally in the Middle East — the State of Israel, which .should be strengthened against the rising tide of radical Islamism. It is also time we learned that, whether we like it or not, radical Islamists perceive of America as the Great Satan.  As British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher once warned, our projection of our values onto the world simply does not work. We must understand the sociological and tribal structure of the Middle East before we enter into any further agreements with governments of the region.

2) Appeasement and groveling to despots and dictators have not enhanced America’s standing in the region, but has weakened it immensely.  America’s outstretched hand for dialogue has not prevented Iran from reaching its goal of nuclear capability and regional dominance one iota.

3) The United States appears like a sleeping giant that unconditionally dishes out our precious and rapidly dwindling resources — foreign aid — to unfriendly, unreliable parties in the region without any leverage, making us appear even more embarrassingly pathetic there. This applies to our aid to Pakistan and certainly has been the case with the Palestinians. Ever since the signing of the Oslo Accords in 1993, we ostensibly conditioned our aid to the Palestinians on very basic principles, all of which they have continuously ignored. Rather than doing away with U.S. aid to the Palestinians, we have done away with enforcing the funds’ conditionality.

4) This is the time to finally stop our military aid and weapons shipments to Egypt, or we will be forced to confront these American-made armaments’ possibly use in attacking our one ally in the region, the State of Israel, or American soldiers and sailors on the Sixth Fleet.

5) Now, in the midst of all this regional chaos, is precisely not the time to pressure Israel to take more risks for peace. The growing radical Islamism is a time for stability, at least in one tiny sliver of the region, the State of Israel.

6) We should be helping and propping up the voices of the dissidents within Iran, and those within the Iranian constellation of power, such as the brave, besieged Syrian dissidents. Not to do so will strengthen the menacing hand of Iran and is nothing short of immoral.

Equal Justice Under Law
Sarah Stern

December 22 2011

As I write these words, my heart is heavy with pain.  A convoy of buses is now making its way from Ayalon Prison, carrying 550 Palestinian prisoners due to be released as part of Israel’s deal with Hamas that has freed the captured Israel Defense Forces soldier, Gilad Shalit. These prisoners make up the second wave, following the 440 who were released in October, and will be returning home to Jerusalem, the West Bank (Judea and Samaria, if you will) and Gaza, where they will, no doubt, receive a hero’s welcome.

I have been told by an Israeli official that all have been involved in acts of terrorism and that some, no doubt, were involved in the murder and maiming of American citizens. This is beyond infuriating to me, not because American blood is any redder than Israeli blood, but because American laws for dealing with such matters have been completely ignored.

The United States’ anti-terrorism statute, passed in 1990, states that any time an American has been killed or wounded in a terrorist attack anywhere around the globe, the federal government has the right to seek out the suspect, and bring him or her to these shores to face justice.

Among the first wave of released prisoners in the Shalit deal was Ahlam Tamimi. On August 9, 2001, Ms. Tamimi planned and helped to execute the bombing of the Sbarro’s pizzeria in the center of Jerusalem. We know that at least two American citizens were killed during this attack: Judith Greenbaum, 31, from Passaic, New Jersey, and Malki Roth, 15, from Queens, New York.

In a taped interview that Ms. Tamimi gave while in prison, she confessed to the crime and said that if given the opportunity, she would not hesitate to do it again. When told that her act was responsible for the deaths of eight children, a smile of deep satisfaction came across her face.

Ms. Tamimi is currently in Jordan, where she is widely recognized as a hero and is on the lecture circuit. The United States has an extradition treaty with Jordan, and should demand her extradition.

On September 8, 2003, an emergency room doctor at Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem, David Applebaum, originally from Cleveland, Ohio, took his daughter Nava, out for a father-daughter dinner at Café Hillel in the capital’s trendy Emek Refaim neighborhood. The dinner was special: Nava was to be married the very next day. David was known to be a quintessential mensch, always the first to arrive in the emergency room after a disaster or suicide bombing, even when he wasn’t “on call.”  When the suicide bomber entered Café Hillel and blew himself up, everyone wondered why David hadn’t come running immediately to the emergency room to help out. That was because David and Nava were among the dead. Ibraham Dar Musa, who planned the Café Hillel bombing,  was one of those released last October.

There are approximately 54 cases of American citizens who have been killed and 83 of Americans who have been injured by Palestinian terrorists since the singing of the Oslo Accords. The United States government seems to be treating them as invisible, disposable Americans, mere pawns on a political chessboard.

On May 8, 2001, my friends Sherri and Seth Mandell, originally from Silver Spring, Maryland, suffered an unspeakable loss. Their son, Koby, and his friend, Yoseph Ishran, decided to play hooky from school. When they did not return home that evening, their families were incredibly worried. Koby’s and Yoseph’s bodies were found the next day, brutally dismembered, in a cave outside their families’ community of Tekoa, Israel. The boys had been stoned to death.

In those days, I had been working on a law to give the Justice Department primary responsibility for rendering justice on terrorists who had killed American citizens overseas. Prior to that, the State Department had handled such matters. I felt that the State Department was primarily concerned with politics and diplomacy, not justice. By changing the address, we had felt there might be a greater chance of securing justice for victims and their families that wasn’t contaminated by diplomatic or political factors.

I had called Sherri Mandell while she was sitting shiva. What do you say to a woman who has just lost her first-born son, her bechor, so brutally? So, I told her about the bill that I was working on, and asked if she would like it to be named for Koby.

I will never forget her response. In fact, her voice is still ringing in my ears. She said, with a tinge of joy, “I could just see Koby jumping up and down in heaven to have a law named after him.”

I thought to myself, “Sweetheart, it is a long way before a bill becomes a law.” I vowed to myself that I would not rest until it happened. The bill was signed into law by President George W. Bush in December 2004.

In May 2005, the Office of Victims of Overseas Terrorism was opened in the Department of Justice. The office lists on its website that it was established “to ensure that the investigation and prosecution of terrorist attacks that result in deaths and/or injuries of American citizens overseas remain a high priority within the Department of Justice.”

The office takes special credit for the seizure and indictment of an Indonesian murderer of one Christian missionary. However, when reading the law, it is clear that the legislative intent of the bill was to address a specific population of Americans who were either studying in, touring in, or living in Israel at the time, the office has not brought a single Palestinian terrorist to justice on these shores. Vicki Eisenfeld of West Hartford, Connecticut, — whose son Matthew, a Yale University graduate, was killed together with his girlfriend, Sara Drucker,  a graduate of Barnard College, on Jerusalem bus number 18 — once confided in me, “It makes me feel that my son’s blood is less American.”

I spend a great deal of time on Capitol Hill, and when I walk between the House side and the Senate side, I see the Supreme Court. Etched on top of the beautiful building are the words, “Equal Justice Under Law.”

Therein lies my profound indignation and sadness.

We Are Running Out of Time on Iran
Sarah Stern and Kyle Shideler

December 15 2011

This past Friday, at a policy conference in Washington, Puneet Talwar, Senior Director for Iran, Iraq and the Gulf States at the White House National Security Council addressed the group. In his “on the record” remarks, Mr. Talwar calmly stated, “We have a three legged stool in our policy toward Iran: The first leg of the stool is engagement. The second is sanctions. And the third is our military option. We are keeping all of the options on the table.”

This is eerily familiar. It is precisely the same statement we had heard from then candidate Obama when he came to address the AIPAC policy conference while running for office in 2008.

Since then, almost four years have elapsed, and the centrifuges have been assiduously spinning uranium to the highly enriched grade necessary for a nuclear bomb. It is said they now have enough enriched uranium for at least one nuclear bomb, and that they are hard at work at a delivery mechanism. As these words are written the Iranians are launching yet another atomic facility, deeply underground, beneath the mountains near the holy city of Qom.

One of the most chilling elements of the policy debate regarding the Iranian nuclear program is the bizarre time stasis in which those who oppose action against Iran exist. Warnings of an approaching nuclear deadline date back at least as far as 2004, when European experts warned Iran could be between five and six years away from a bomb. Even the widely panned and inaccurate 2007 National Intelligence Estimate which incorrectly claimed that Iran had halted production in 2003, set the earliest possible date for Iran to possess enough highly enriched Uranium for nuclear weapons at some time between 2009 and 2010. More recent assessments, such as that of Israeli military intelligence, put Iran is six months to one year away from producing a bomb. Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told CNN Iran was less than a year away from being “unstoppable” in its nuclear effort. Weapons inspector David Albright put the Iranians within six months of possessing enough nuclear material if they conduct a crash program, while a more hawkish estimate placed it as low as 62 days.

Yet none of this fazed the Obama Administration, which spent a substantial amount of energy in arm-twisting Congressmen in an effort to push back implementation dates for a new round of Iranian Central Bank sanctions proposed by Senators Mark Kirk (R-IL) and Robert Menendez (D-NJ) from two months (already quite a long time) to half a year.  The Obama Administration had also been seeking wider latitude and discretion in applying the proposed sanctions.

According to one report, by Reuters, the Administration has received at least some of those demands, although Sen. Mark Kirk has said the Congressional negotiators resisted “most” of the administration’s attempts to weaken sanctions. A press release from the Armed Services Committee indicates that the implementation timeline survived Administration pressure, a positive sign.

But in what bizarre dimension of time and space does this administration reside where sanctions, implemented six months from now can halt a nuclear program that could potentially be completed, or at least “unstoppable” by the time they take effect?  And yet the officials from the same administration expect to have their cake and eat it too by the claim that “all options” including the military option are on the table, as did Mr. Talwar, or as referenced by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in his speech to the Saban Center.

One must doubt very seriously that anyone in the administration believes that boilerplate response, and for certain the Iranians do not considered it a credible threat. Are the Iranians expected to believe, that an administration which refuses to recover its own downed aircraft for fear of the reaction, will take a full scale military option against it? The same “military option” that has been “on the table” for the past decade, as Iran continued to pursue its nuclear ambitions?

The reality is that while American policy, focused on its table full of options, has remained static for the past ten years, Iran has quietly, persistently marched forward. All policy options, whether they are sanctions, or military force, or even diplomacy, are perishable goods. The longer you wait, the less valuable they become.

This is not to say that the sort of covert attacks against Iranian nuclear installations which appear to be underway , are not helpful, and that they have not bought us time. They are and they have.  But however much time such actions buy, it is not all the time in the world. We must stop treating the Iranian nuclear bomb as though it is some kind of desert mirage, which remains just out of reach, regardless of how much time is spent moving towards it.

The Kirk-Menendez Amendment was a noble and bipartisan move, of the kind all too rare in Washington. It is disturbing the amount of pressure the administration was willing to bring to bear against elected legislators, in the name of NOT bringing pressure against Iranian thugs. It stands also as evidence that American legislators can still come together and produce innovative and useful policy legislation, but only if they are willing to stand up to an administration which expends momentous energy to insure that nothing effective gets done.

There is a fourth option which neither President Obama or Mr. Talwar has discussed, or used, at all, but it is worth discussing briefly.

In June of 2009, after the elections, there were thousands of brave dissidents on the streets. Most people in Iran are under age 30. They despise the mullahcracy in which they have been raised. These people were crying out for a word of support from the leader of the free world, and nothing was said in their behalf for nearly two weeks, while skulls were being crushed and people have summarily disappeared from the streets.

During the era of the Soviet dissidents, we worked with one the “refuseniks”, and everyone knew some of their names.  But few known the names of those like Sa’id Malikpur, a 35 year old web designer from Canada who went to visit his sick father in Iran in 2008, and was arrested by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Prior to his incarceration, he had been developing a web site, which the regime says he used for posting pornographic images, but which Mr. Malikpur claims no knowledge of. He has been held in the notorious Evin prison, where he has been held in solitary confinement for over a year, and human rights groups say he has been routinely tortured. Mr. Malikpur has been sentenced to death.

It is absolutely unconscionable that we are not empowering the brave dissidents of Iran, and widely distributing these dramatic stories of human rights abuse. The window of opportunity was wide open in June of 2009. We must try, using the new technologies of the internet; Facebook and Twitter to see if we can pry open the window once again, and help these brave people overthrow this despicable regime.

And in terms of the other three options:  Despite the complacent assurances of some people in Washington, we are quickly running out of time.

Wake from the Fantasy: Palestinians Do Not Want Peace
Adam Turner

December 12 2011

  MORPHEUS: You take the blue pill, the story ends. You wake up and believe…whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill… and I show you just how deep the rabbit hole [i.e., the truth] goes.

  Remember…all I’m offering you is the truth, nothing more.

  –Morpheus, The Matrix, 1999

I remember exactly when I took the “red pill” regarding the Palestinian Arab-Israeli conflict. It was 2000, after then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak offered then-PLO Chairman/PA “President” Yasser Arafat exactly what he (Arafat) had so recently claimed to want (in English) – a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza consisting of 95% plus of that area, land to live in peace with the Jewish state of Israel – and Arafat walked away from the offer without countering it, then proceeded to incite his people into yet another terrorist war directed primarily against Israeli civilians. At that exact moment in time, I knew the “peace process” between these two parties was complete and utter bunk (actually, another word comes to mind here, but is too crude for use at this website) because one side – the Palestinian side – did not really want to have peace.

Prior to 2000, I, like many of my religious group – I am Jewish – in the U.S., was taken in by the usual propaganda put forth by the chattering classes in the U.S., especially the State Department, Europe, and the New York Times. Israel was at fault for the lack of peace in the Middle East, they said, because its “right wing governments” led by Menachem Begin and Yitzhak Shamir refused to give up on the idea of a “Greater Israel” that included all of the West Bank areas. For this reason, I cheered when Labor Leader Yitzhak Rabin finally and conclusively defeated the Likud in the 1992 elections, assuming that a real peace was finally at hand. I especially respected the fact that Rabin was strong and responsible enough to get over his distaste of the despicable terrorist Arafat and “do what was right for peace” by agreeing to the Oslo Accords in 1994. When Rabin was assassinated and Benyamin Netanyahu had his first stint as Prime Minister, I mourned the loss of all my hopes. But then, in 1999, Ehud Barak led Labor back to victory, and once again, peace in the Middle East seemed right around the corner.

And then Arafat walked away from the negotiating table.

That was when I finally took the red pill and saw the truth. The truth was – and is – that the Palestinians and their leadership – both the PLO and Hamas – simply didn’t, and still don’t, want peace. If they did want peace, Arafat wouldn’t have walked away in 2000. If they did, Arafat’s successor Abbas wouldn’t have also walked away in 2008, when then-Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert offered a similarly generous peace offer. But that is not all. If the Palestinians truly wanted peace, they would – for lack of a better term – fix their “deviant society.” Specifically, the PA/Hamas/Palestinians would:

  • Stop utilizing their various cultural, educational, and media sources to undermine the peace process with Israel.
  •  
  • Stop using their children’s shows and elementary schools to incite Palestinian children to kill Israelis, including women and children, and Jews (regardless of their positions on the Arab-Israeli debate) in general.
  •  
  • Stop producing government officials, from the President down to their diplomatic envoys, who spread anti-Semitism throughout the world.
  •  
  • Stop naming streets, buildings, and squares after terrorists who have killed Israelis and Jews.
  •  
  • Stop selling and teaching such trash including Mein Kampf and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
  •  
  • Stop smuggling arms and rockets and explosives into the West Bank and Gaza to be used to attack Israeli cities and farms.
  •  
  • Stop praising, paying for, and otherwise honoring Palestinian terrorists, and their families, who kill Israelis, Jews, and even Americans.
  •  
  • Stop saying they want peace in English but saying they want war in Arabic.
  •  
  • Stop denying the Holocaust, while calling for another one,  and stop allowing Holocaust deniers to serve as their leaders, like Abbas, and others.

These demands – and that is what they are – should be non-negotiable. There can be no peace without them being satisfied. Unfortunately, many in the West are still ingesting the blue pill. These people are still stuck in the imaginary world of the Matrix.  Time after time, like clockwork, these delusional persons demand more concessions from Israeli governments, of both left and right, regardless of what is happening in the Middle East or what the Palestinians are doing. In 2005, they demanded, and they got, a full Israeli withdrawal from the Gaza strip by the supposedly arch-conservative then-Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon. No peace followed. In 2008, they persuaded then-Prime Minister Ehud Ohlmert to reiterate the Barak proposal from 2000. No peace followed. Now, the unelected Palestinian “President” Abbas is demanding that the world grant the Palestinians a state without any compromise or peacemaking on their part, as a reward for their violence and their bad faith.

The answer to this demand should be “no.”  It is long past the time for President Obama, members of the U.S. Congress, and even the world community, to take the red pill.  The truth is waiting for them.

 

Something Rotten in Washington
Sarah Stern

December 07 2011

This past Friday at the Brookings Institute, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta excoriated Israel for the lack of progress in the peace process.  Sandwiching his remarks between the usual boilerplate platitudes, our Secretary of Defense made it absolutely clear that he and the administration feel that the responsibility for the sorry state of affairs between Israel and the Palestinians, let alone between Israel and the rest of the Arab world in which it is forced to survive, lies, at least partially, at Israel’s doorstep.

Mr. Panetta said that he “believes security is dependent on a strong military, but also on diplomacy,” and he added, “Unfortunately over the past year we have seen Israel’s isolation from the traditional security partners in the region grow and the pursuit of a comprehensive Middle East peace has effectively been put on hold.”

The Secretary of Defense then demanded that Israel reach out, not only to the Palestinians, but to Turkey, Egypt and Jordan, her past traditional allies.

First of all, as has been documented in an article by Khaled Abu Toameh in this Monday’s Jerusalem Post, chief Palestinian negotiator, Saeb Erekat has rejected the demand by the Quartet (the United States, Russia, the European Union, the UN), for direct negotiations between the two parties.

The Palestinians refuse to sit down and talk to the Israelis, man to man. Why? Because they refuse to recognize the nation for what it is: a Jewish state. How do Obama and Panetta expect the two nations to live together in a peace that will endure for generations if the Palestinians cannot even accept Israel for what it is, and call it by its name?

What’s more:  PA negotiator Saeb Erekat expressed “surprise” that State Department’s Mark Toner has even asked the Palestinians to sit down in direct face-to-face negotiations with Israel.

In his worldview, the United States is out of line to ask anything of the Palestinians. He believes it is the Palestinians alone who have the right and power to do the demanding and set the rules.

The answer lies in the history of the way this administration has coddled the Palestinians since assuming office and has not acted as an “honest broker” or a referee between the sides, but as a consistent coach and cheerleader for the Palestinians.

As soon as Obama entered office, he quickly demanded that the Netanyahu government stop construction anywhere in the territories that Israel captured in its defensive war of 1967 and retained when attacked again in the war of 1973. Astonishingly, his demand included any building in the city of Jerusalem, the eternal capitol of the Jewish people. The actions of the President and Secretary of State gave the Palestinian Authority a new feeling of invulnerability and entitlement.  This was brought out in a now-famous interview that Lally Weymouth of the Washington Post had with P.A. Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas shortly after President Obama assumed office.  Abbas claimed all he had to do to achieve his Palestinian state was to wait for Obama to deliver the state and the land from the Israelis.

Now, Abbas has developed such a heightened sense of entitlement that he said he will not sit down with the Israelis unless first, they deliver on everything on the Palestinian wish list, including a return to the 1949 armistice lines, which UN representative Abba Eban of the Labor Party had realistically dubbed “the Auschwitz” lines because they were simply indefensible.  The 1948 lines would put every single Israeli city within easy range of an Arab Kassam missile. The Arab town of Kalkilya could easily launch Kassam rockets at Ben Gurion Airport. Just one Kassam rocket launched at the airport and the entire country would be closed off from air traffic.

Right of return of all Palestinian refugees.

As far as the right of return is concerned, the Palestinians have a very creative, ingenious way of accounting. The demographic rosters have been infinitely inflated. Every time a woman in Ramallah has an appendix attack, she is listed as giving birth to a child. Any unlimited Palestinian “right of return” would be a demographic nightmare that would signal the end of Israel as both a Jewish state and a democracy.

This growing listing of Palestinian hubris runs contrary to the iron-clad assurances that American President George W. Bush gave to the government of Israel.

In a letter dated April 14, 2004, given to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and signed by President George W. Bush, he stated: “As part of a final peace settlement, Israel must have secure and recognized borders, which should emerge from negotiations between the parties in accordance with UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338. In light of new realities on the ground, including already existing major Israeli population centers, it is unrealistic to expect that the outcome of final status negotiations will be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949, and all previous efforts to negotiate a two-state solution have reached the same conclusion. It is realistic to expect that any final status agreement will only be achieved on the basis of mutually agreed changes that reflect these realities.”

What happened to these American iron-clad assurances to the Jewish state when President Obama assumed office? Do American guarantees last only until the administration that gave them is out of office? And what does that make of American credibility and trustworthiness?

Furthermore, the Secretary of Defense seems to feel that it is Israel’s responsibility to make peace with Turkey, whose Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogen refuses diplomatic ties with Israel and has called Israel the “military threat to the region.” Or with Egypt, who just voted in an “Islamist” Parliament last week. Islamists who have historically viewed both Israel and America as adversaries. And Jordan, whose king finds himself at high risk as Islamist fever and revolution overturn both monarchies and dictators across the Middle East.

It is interesting how a great deal of attention has been given recently to the subject of bullying. We have suddenly noticed that there are kids in the classroom and on the playground who for one reason or another are singled out as vulnerable and everyone piles on them. In the Middle Eastern playground, Israel is cast as the vulnerable child, because she is different and because she is Jewish. The Arab world has never accepted her existence; not in 1929, not in 1948, not in 1967 and not in 2011. And no one in the neighborhood wants her on their team.

We have grown to expect that sort of bullying from the Arab world. It is sad and tragic, however, to see it come from spokesman of the United States.

That is because the kids in this neighborhood play with toys that are all too lethal, and when they sense that the United States is pulling away from Israel, they feel emboldened — and the neighborhood becomes that much more dangerous.



Caroline Glick

Chicago-born Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of the Jerusalem Post.

read more
 
 
other board members>
 
Home About Emet Articles Analysis EMET TV Blog In the News Events Contact
Copyright © 2006-2010 Endowment for Middle East Truth (EMET) All Rights Reserved