Canadian Institute for Jewish Research
L'institut Canadien de Recherches sur le Judaisme
Strength of Israel will not lie

Tag: Egypt

NORTH AFRICAN ISLAMIST “ENCLAVES OF TERROR” EMERGING AFTER FAILED “ARAB SPRING”

A Bloodbath for Christians, No Response from Egypt: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 11, 2018— On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt.

Libya in Chaos: Where To?: Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Col. (res.) Dr. Dan Gottlieb, BESA, Sept. 30, 2018— On August 15, 2018, Tripoli’s Appeals Court sentenced 45 convicts to death by firing squad for opening fire on August 21, 2011 on residents abandoning Tripoli while it was falling into the hands of anti-government insurgents.

Tunisian Ennahda’s ‘Secret Apparatus’ Draws Comparisons to Brotherhood Origins: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Nov. 9, 2018— A lawsuit accusing Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement of plotting the assassination of two political opponents poses the most serious challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group since its 1981 inception.

The Open Secret of Israeli-Moroccan Business is Growing: Sebastian Shehadi, Middle East Eye, Nov. 5, 2018— “Secret” Israeli-Moroccan business is increasingly visible, despite the North African country sharing no official relations with Israel and growing calls in Morocco against “economic normalisation”.

On Topic Links

Egyptian Sentenced to Death in Killing of Christian Doctor: New York Times, Nov. 17, 2018

Turkey Stabilizing Libya? Think Again.: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 22, 2018

Why Do Terrorist Organizations Use Women As Suicide Bombers?: Nikita Malik, Forbes, Nov. 2, 2018

The Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule: Ruthie Blum, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2018

 

A BLOODBATH FOR CHRISTIANS, NO RESPONSE FROM EGYPT                                    Raymond Ibrahim                                                                                                                             

Gatestone Institute, Nov. 11, 2018

On November 2, heavily armed Islamic terrorists ambushed and massacred Christians returning home after visiting the ancient St. Samuel Monastery in Minya, Egypt. Seven pilgrims — including a 12-year-old girl and a 15-year-old boy — were shot to death. More than 20 were left injured with bullet wounds or shards of broken glass from the buses’ windows. “I pray for the victims, pilgrims killed just because they were Christian,” said Pope Francis after the attack. Pictures posted on social media reveal “bodies soaked in blood and distorted faces of men and women.” In one video posted, a man can be heard crying, “The gunshot got you in the head, my boy!” and repeating, “What a loss!”

After the first and largest bus had passed the ambush point, the terrorists emerged in black 4x4s and opened fire with automatic weapons on the second bus; six pilgrims were injured, including a small child. Fortunately, the bus driver managed to escape and speed away, at which point the terrorists fired on the third and smallest bus as it approached. After the driver was killed, they surrounded the stalled minibus and opened fire on all sides. The bus carried 20 people — 14 adults and six children — all from one extended family who had visited the monastery to baptize two of the children.

The terrorists first opened the hatchback and looked to see who was still alive. They then shot all the men in the head and all the women and children in the ankles or legs. One of the female survivors who was shot in the legs recalls, in a video, only that an explosion of gunfire suddenly opened on all sides of their bus; by the time she could register what was happening, she saw pieces of her brother-in-law’s brain splattered on her lap.

Another woman, after realizing that her husband and daughter had been killed, begged the jihadis to kill her, too. They said, “No, you stay and suffer over your husband and daughter.” Then they shot her in the ankles so she could not move away. In a separate report, another survivor said the terrorists told her, “We will kill the men and children and leave you to live the rest of your lives in misery.” Virtually all of the survivors have “had a nervous breakdown of what they have seen and they are in the hospital.”

Coptic Bishop Anba Makarios of Minya confirmed that “The pilgrims were killed in such a savage and sadistic way, as if they were enemy combatants, when they were just simple Christians come to get a blessing from a monastery.” Reactions among Egypt’s Christians echoed those from earlier incidents. “Oh God, these children were students in my school!” wept one local teacher. “I can’t imagine they are dead now!”

The day after the attack, the Egyptian government created more questions than answers. It announced that it had killed 19 terrorists believed to be complicit in the November 2 attack. As one report noted: “With the suspects now dead, it is impossible to confirm whether they were indeed involved in Friday’s attack. Fear continues to permeate the Christian community in Egypt.” Another report stated that government photos of the purported slain terrorists “appear staged in a manner which mirrors past examples of Egyptian security forces executing suspected terrorists.”

The attack was a virtual duplicate of another that occurred on May 26, 2017. Islamist gunmen ambushed buses full of Christians returning from the same monastery. Twenty-eight Christians — ten of whom were children, including two girls, aged two and four — were massacred. According to accounts based on eyewitness testimonies, the terrorists had ordered the passengers to exit the bus in groups: “… as each pilgrim came off the bus they were asked to renounce their Christian faith and profess belief in Islam, but all of them — even the children — refused. Each was killed in cold blood with a gunshot to the head or the throat.”

Discussing the recent massacre with Bishop Makarios, a television interviewer said, “this is a duplicate of the same event and same place that happened a year and five months ago — how can this be? What does it mean?” Makarios replied, “Honestly, those best positioned to answer this question are the state authorities…. I add my voice to yours and ask the same questions.” “That the same attack occurred in the same place only means that, despite all the talk, protecting Egypt’s Christian minority is not on the government’s agenda,” Magdi Khalil, Egyptian political analyst and editor of the Egyptian weekly Watani International, told Gatestone by phone.

Despite Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s many conciliatory and brotherly words to the nation’s Christian minorities, they have suffered more under his rule than any Egyptian leader of the modern era, partially because ISIS arose during his term. In December 2017, a gunman killed 10 worshippers inside a church in Helwan. One year earlier, 29 Christians were killed during twin attacks on churches. On Palm Sunday in April 2017, a suicide bombing of two churches killed nearly 50 people and injured more than a hundred.

While it may be understandable that Sisi cannot eliminate terrorism entirely, there is evidence that the government itself participates in the persecution of Egypt’s Christians. According to the World Watch List (2018), Egyptian “officials at any level from local to national” are “strongly responsible” for the “oppression” of Egypt’s Christians. “Government officials,” the report adds, “also act as drivers of persecution through their failure to vindicate the rights of Christians and also through their discriminatory acts which violate the fundamental rights of Christians.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

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LIBYA IN CHAOS: WHERE TO?

Lt. Col. (res.) Dr. Mordechai Kedar and Col. (res.) Dr. Dan Gottlieb

BESA, Sept. 30, 2018

On August 15, 2018, Tripoli’s Appeals Court sentenced 45 convicts to death by firing squad for opening fire on August 21, 2011 on residents abandoning Tripoli while it was falling into the hands of anti-government insurgents. The 45 are all ex-members of Muammar Qaddafi’s security forces.

On the same day, August 15, 2018, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague issued an arrest warrant for Mahmoud Werfalli, a senior commander in the Libya National Army (LNA). According to the indictment, Werfalli “appears to be directly responsible for the killing of, in total, 33 persons in Benghazi or surrounding areas, between on or before 3 June 2016 and on or around 17 July 2017, either by personally killing them or by ordering their execution.” Armed groups have been executing civilians in Libya with almost complete impunity ever since the toppling of Qaddafi’s government in 2011.

As of 2018, after the demise of ISIS in Libya due to its defeats at both Sirte and Benghazi (an unknown number of currently inactive ex-ISIS fighters remain in Bani Walid and south of Sirte), the country remains divided between two governments: 1) the Tripoli-based Government of National Accord, which is backed by the UN and headed by Fayez Sirraj; and 2) the Benghazi government, which is based on Libya’s national army, headed by General Khalifa Haftar, and backed by some Arab governments (Egypt, the UAE).

Oil plays a dominant role in the competition between the two rival governments. The UN and its affiliate in Libya, UNSMIL (UN Support Mission in Libya), arranged for Libya’s oil to be re-exported through the Tripoli-based National Oil Corporation, oil exports being the main pillar of Libya’s exports. In the last year of Qaddafi’s government, 1.6 million barrels of oil per day were exported. Oil exports were heavily slashed due to the conflict in Libya, but by the end of 2017, they had regained a level of 1.2 million barrels per day.

But through an understanding between the Haftar government and the UAE, 850,000 barrels per day are exported directly by the Benghazi government through UAE companies based in the Benghazi part of the country. (In 2017, the UN accused the UAE of supplying military equipment to Haftar’s forces in violation of an international arms embargo.) In June 2018, the Ras Lanuf and Sidra oil fields were seized by Haftar’s forces and their production taken away from the national oil company of Tripoli. As a consequence, oil exports from the ports of Zweitina and Harija were stopped.

An attempt in July 2018, supported by the UN, to reconcile the two rival governments failed over Haftar’s demand that he remain chief commander of the united army. The conflict continues. The consequences of all this are detrimental to the chances of finding any reconciliation between the two governments in Libya. The state is divided, and there are no prospects of a solution in the foreseeable future.

The chaotic situation enables the emergence of enclaves of terror, inspired by the ideology of ISIS and al-Qaeda. The world should make sure that Libya does not turn into another pre-2001 Afghanistan-like state on the doorstep of Europe. Since there is almost no power on the ground in Libya with which the EU can come to an agreement to stop the influx of illegal migrants from the sub-Saharan states through Libya to Europe, this migration route will probably continue to be a gateway for many more thousands of Africans into Europe. The consequences for the EU are complex and difficult.

The question that Europe, the US, Canada, and the UN should deal with is this: in what situation will the world intervene in Libya once again to contain the domestic chaos before it spills out to other parts of the world? The sooner this question is answered, the better.

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TUNISIAN ENNAHDA’S ‘SECRET APPARATUS’

DRAWS COMPARISONS TO BROTHERHOOD ORIGINS                                                               Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, Nov. 9, 2018

A lawsuit accusing Tunisia’s Ennahda Movement of plotting the assassination of two political opponents poses the most serious challenge to the Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated group since its 1981 inception. Mohamed Brahmi and Chokri Belaid were killed in separate 2013 shootings involving the same gun. Both men opposed the Ennahda Movement, which was in power at the time. Investigators blamed a jihadist cell and identified a 30-year-old French weapons smuggler as one of the killers. Subsequent investigations by attorneys for the dead men uncovered a massive amount of evidence which was presented to the Tunisian prosecutors. They opened a formal investigation into Ennahda’s secret apparatus on Oct. 10. The attorneys gave the same evidence to a Tunisian military court, which deals with terrorism and national security. The lawsuit alleges the murder plots were hatched by Ennahda’s secret security apparatus, which the attorneys claim was created by the Egyptian Brotherhood.

Described as an Arab Spring success, Tunisia has made social and economic reforms that collide with Islamist desires represented by the Ennahda Movement. In September, Tunisia’s secular incumbent President Beji Caid Essebsi dissolved an alliance with Ennahda .

The attorneys who brought the suit provided Tunisian authorities with evidence implicating Ennahda in the assassinations, said attorney Ridha Raddaoui. That includes a document titled “Motorcycle Fighting skills,” which was found in Interior Ministry archives. It details the training methods for assassinations using motorcycles, which were used in Brahmi’s and Belaid’s murders.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood introduced this type of training in the 1940s as part of its own “Secret Apparatus.” According to the Brotherhood literature, it was formed to execute military operations and train Egyptian citizens militarily to defend against foreign invasions. However, it wasn’t long before it was turned into a political tool of assassinations and terrorism. The assassinations targeted high profile Egyptian officials, including Prime Minister Mahmoud Al Noqrashy Pasha in 1948.

Interior Ministry documents show that Ennahda set up a similar apparatus based on a Muslim Brotherhood proposal, Raddaoui told a press conference. One document released as part of the lawsuit includes communication between Mustafa Khadr, chief of Ennahda’s secret apparatus, and the Brotherhood in Egypt. The contents of those conversations have not been released. Two unnamed Egyptian MB officials came to Tunisia posing as agricultural experts to help Ennahda set up the apparatus, Raddaoui said. He also accused Khadr of planting two Tunisian spies inside the American embassy in Tunisia.

Ennahda’s spy network allegedly wiretapped civilians, celebrities and key political and judicial figures, tape recordings released by Tunisian lawyer and radio presenter Dalia Ben Mbarek indicate. In one tape, Khadr is heard claiming that the head of the Tunis court is in working to serve the Ennahda apparatus’ agenda. Khadr, the alleged leader of Ennahda’s secret apparatus, is a former Tunisian officer who was dishonorably discharged from the army. He is serving eight years in prison for hiding evidence and documents related to the murders of Brahmi and Belaid . The lawsuit alleges that Khadr has direct ties to Ennahda founder Rachid Ghannouchi and Nourerddine Bhiri, who was justice minister from 2011-2013.

Tunisian MP Mongi Al Rahoui, who is part of the group that filed the lawsuit, also accused Khadr of having ties to al-Hakim, the alleged assassin. Al-Hakim confessed in a 2016 interview with ISIS’s magazine Dabiq to killing Brahmi. He said he had hoped the killing would “facilitate the brothers’ movements and so that we would be able to bring in weapons and liberate our brothers from prisons,” and had targeted Brahmi because he worked for the “apostate” government. Al-Hakim was killed in a November 2016 U.S. airstrike targeting ISIS in Syria. “Ennahda has connections to known terrorists including Abu Ayyad al-Tunsi, Boubaker al-Hakim and Samy al-Awadi,” Al Rahoui said.

A separate lawsuit, filed in June, claims that between 2011-14, the Ennahda-dominated government helped facilitate travel to Syria for jihadists hoping to fight with ISIS. More than 6,000 ISIS terrorists came from Tunisia, constituting the largest number of fighters from a single nationality. “We presented the documents [showing Ennahda’s secret apparatus] to all Tunisian journalists, researchers and even Tunisian Intelligence” to prove their authenticity, said Salah Al Dawodi, one of the lawyers involved in the lawsuit. They include archived messages, audio and video recordings and other intercepted communication involving Ennahda officials. That evidence has been presented to Tunisian courts, he said.

“The Tunisian Ennahda Movement is a branch of the Muslim Brotherhood,” said Egyptian MP Mohamed Abu Hamed, “and therefore adopts all the same mechanisms, strategies and ideologies adopted by the mother group. That including the establishment of a secret armed apparatus or a military wing.” This was created to hurt Ennahda’s foes ” through assassinations and violence,” Abu Hamed said. He fears a sharp escalation in violence if the military court rules against Ennahda, comparing it to the violent Muslim Brotherhood reaction after it was forced from power in 2013.

“Al-Ennahda is now cornered and all the political players demand that it should be prosecuted for its crimes in Tunisia,” said Tunisian Salvation Front leader Monder Guerfach, who is circulating a petition in the country calling for Ennahda to be banned. The Ennahda movement’s fate is in the hands of Tunisian the military court.

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THE OPEN SECRET OF ISRAELI-MOROCCAN BUSINESS IS GROWING         

Sebastian Shehadi                                              

Middle East Eye, Nov. 5, 2018

“Secret” Israeli-Moroccan business is increasingly visible, despite the North African country sharing no official relations with Israel and growing calls in Morocco against “economic normalisation”. Recent statistical discrepancies are a good start. Although Morocco’s official trade data has never made mention of Israel whatsoever, Israeli records shows $37m worth of commerce with Morocco in 2017, according to data released by the Israeli Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) this year.

This means that, out of Israel’s 22 African trading partners, Morocco is among the four top nations from which it imports, and ninth in terms of exports, according to CBS. However, with $149m worth of trade between 2014 and 2017, this partnership is not new.

More unusual is Israel’s first overt foreign investment into the Arab world, with Israeli agricultural technology giant Netafim setting up a $2.9m subsidiary in Morocco last year, thereby creating 17 jobs, according to fDi Markets, a Financial Times data service that has monitored crossborder greenfield investment worldwide since 2003. Greenfield investment is when a company builds its operations in a foreign country from the ground up. This development may fit into broader regional trends. Arab-Israeli relations are improving, for one, due to a growing alliance against Iran. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent visit to Oman is a good example of these warming relations.

Netafim’s investment is the most visible example of the longstanding and “clandestine” economic ties between Israel and Morocco, two countries that have shared historically warm ties compared to other Arab-Israeli relations. However, public opposition in Morocco against normalisation with Israel keeps these ties under wraps.

For example, in 2016, government ministers denied any trade or investment links with Israel. Mohamed Abbou, then the head of foreign trade at the Ministry of Industry, Trade, Investment and the Digital Economy, told parliament: “Morocco has no commercial relations with this entity [Israel] . . . and is keen to fight the entry of all Israeli goods to Morocco.” “The government has never granted any license for anyone to import dates or any other Israeli products,” he added. This is despite the fact that Israel’s Netafim has operated in Morocco since at least 1994 through an affiliate, Regafim. Today, under its own name, its Moroccan Facebook page currently has more than 26,000 likes.

Founded on an Israeli kibbutz in 1965, Netafim is the global leader in drip-irrigation systems, a technology that it pioneered. According to its website, it has 4,300 employees and provides equipment and services to customers in more than 110 countries. In February, the company sold 80 percent of its shares to Mexichem, a Mexican petrochemicals group, for $1.5bn. Kibbutz Hatzerim retains 20 percent and Netafim remains headquartered in Israel.

“The opening of the new subsidiary [in Morocco] is part of growth in the market and our desire to improve the quality of our service and our assistance to our customers and partners in Morocco,” Shavit Dahan, Netafim’s director for North and West Africa, told the French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce. The company declined further requests to comment on its investment in Morocco.

The unabashed visibility of Netafim’s investment is unusual since most Israeli-Moroccan trade appears to be conducted secretly. “However, [economic relations] are often hard to [prove] as trade and investment deals are either kept quiet or routed through intermediaries,” said Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, an expert on Moroccan-Israeli relations at Tel Aviv University.

The French-Israeli Chamber of Commerce noted last year that “many Moroccan and Israeli companies are resorting to increasingly complex commercial channels… The Israeli media regularly reports the signing of trade agreements, financial transactions or co-operation programmes with government authorities or the private sector… The most visible Israeli-Moroccan experience is that of Netafim”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]                

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Egyptian Sentenced to Death in Killing of Christian Doctor: New York Times, Nov. 17, 2018—An Egyptian man accused of supporting the Islamic State was sentenced to death on Saturday in the fatal stabbing of an 82-year-old Christian doctor in Cairo.

Turkey Stabilizing Libya? Think Again.: Uzay Bulut, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 22, 2018—Turkey was miffed. A Turkish delegation, including Vice President Fuat Oktay, stormed out of a recent two-day international conference in Palermo, Italy, held to deal with the crisis in Libya, on the grounds that it was not included in an unofficial meeting.

Why Do Terrorist Organizations Use Women As Suicide Bombers?: Nikita Malik, Forbes, Nov. 2, 2018—The news earlier this week that a woman in Tunis blew herself up in front of a shopping center came as a shock to many. This is the first attack in the Tunisian capital since 2015. While the attack has yet to be claimed, instability in bordering Libya remains a concern, as do claims by authorities that Islamic State and Al Qaeda continue to recruit extremists in Tunisia.

The Jews of the North Africa under Muslim Rule: Ruthie Blum, Gatestone Institute, Nov. 14, 2018—Exile in the Maghreb, co-authored by the great historian David G. Littman and Paul B. Fenton, is an ambitious tome contradicting the myth of how breezy it was for Jews to live in their homelands in the Middle East and North Africa when they came under Muslim rule.

MURDER OF SAUDI JOURNALIST DAMAGES RIYADH’S REPUTATION AND THREATENS M.E. “FAULT LINES”

Khashoggi Disliked Israel, But His Brutal Murder Puts Jerusalem in Tough Spot: Raphael Ahren, Times of Israel, Oct. 23, 2018— Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was brutally murdered in Istanbul earlier this month, was not fond of Israel, to say the least.

What the Khashoggi Murder Means for the Middle East: James M. Dorsey, Algemeiner, Oct. 24, 2018— The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the premises of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul threatens to upend the fault lines across the Middle East, and severely disrupt the US-Saudi alliance that holds together many of those fault lines.

Egypt’s War on the Muslim Brotherhood: Dima Abumaria, The Media Line, October 18, 2018— Egyptian police released the 25-year-old son of former president Mohammed Morsi Wednesday after he spent less than 24 hours in detention on charges of joining an outlawed organization and publishing “fake news.”

Rumors Stoke Islamist Attacks on Egyptian Copts: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Oct. 9, 2018— Islamists and jihadists in Egypt have targeted the Egyptian Coptic minorities for decades with bombings and mob attacks on Coptic churches, businesses and homes.

On Topic Links

Canada Can’t Just Avoid the Regimes it Doesn’t Agree With, like Saudi Arabia: Dennis Horak, National Post, Oct. 24, 2018

The Ugly Terror Truth About Jamal Khashoggi: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 17, 2018

The Kingdom and the Power: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Oct. 20, 2018

Egyptian Christians, at Home and Abroad: Lofty Basta, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2018

 

                                        KHASHOGGI DISLIKED ISRAEL,

          BUT HIS BRUTAL MURDER PUTS JERUSALEM IN TOUGH SPOT                                                                                    Raphael Ahren

Times of Israel, Oct. 23, 2018

Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist who was brutally murdered in Istanbul earlier this month, was not fond of Israel, to say the least. “The Jews are without history in Palestine. Therefore, they invented the Wailing Wall, which is a Mamluk structure,” he tweeted in 2015. Khashoggi also opposed Saudi Arabia’s covert cooperation with Israel, arguing that Riyadh did not need it and that any ties with the Jewish state would unnecessarily tarnish his country’s reputation in the wider Arab world, according to Professor Joshua Teitelbaum, an expert on Saudi Arabia at Bar-Ilan University who knew Khashoggi well.

“He wasn’t a friend of Israel, but he had no problems meeting with and speaking to Israelis,” recalled Teitelbaum, who last saw the slain writer last year, when they had coffee on the sidelines of a conference on the Middle East in Washington.

In one of his last public appearances, Khashoggi, who had ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, confirmed that Riyadh had grown closer to Jerusalem. But he added that the kingdom had “backtracked on some of the more recent pro-Israeli positions it has taken,” according to Middle East Monitor, which hosted him at a conference in London less than a week before he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul where he met his death.

Khashoggi’s cruel murder, and the regime’s amateurish attempts to cover it up, have caused immeasurable damage to the international prestige of Saudi Arabia and its de facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The fact that the US and other Western countries are considering punishing Riyadh — Germany has already frozen scheduled deliveries of arms to the kingdom — casts a deep shadow not only over Israel’s clandestine relationship with the kingdom but also over international efforts to keep Iran in check.

For one thing, American and Israeli leaders hoped that MBS — as the crown prince is known — and his ostensible pro-Israel disposition could help force the Palestinians into concessions necessary for peace. Furthermore, the erosion of Riyadh’s international standing may negatively affect its role as one of the main regional powers standing up to Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and other belligerent behavior. Mutual enmity toward Tehran, it is worth noting, brought Israel and Saudi Arabia closer in the first place.

“Israel is in a very difficult situation,” said Dan Shapiro, a former US ambassador to Israel. “It wants and needs Saudi Arabia to be a reliable anchor of this regional coalition to confront Iranian aggression, and it’s faced with a reality that the current Saudi leadership has been proven unable to fulfill that role.” No other Arab country could replace Saudi Arabia in the region’s anti-Iran coalition, but MBS has proven to be “extremely reckless, impulsive and untrustworthy,” added Shapiro, who today is a fellow at the Institute for National Security in Tel Aviv.

Khashoggi’s gruesome murder and the ongoing lies about it are only the last in series of bad decisions made by the crown prince, Shapiro said, which include bombing Yemen without concern for civilian casualties, imposing a siege on Qatar, detaining Lebanese prime minister Saad Hariri, picking a fight with Canada over a Tweet about human rights, and rounding up dissidents. MBS “frequently acts on limited knowledge and poor judgment,” and the various scandals he has dragged his country into weaken the kingdom and undermine its relationship with its allies, Shapiro charged.

The US should not sever its relationship with the kingdom, as it plays a vital role in America’s efforts to rein in Iran, he said. However, “until there is a change of Saudi leadership, or at least a change in the style of Saudi leadership, the country’s ability to play that role is significantly weakened.” It remains to be seen how US President Donald Trump reacts as more and more details about Khashoggi’s killing come to light, though he seems determined not let the affair get in the way of what he said was $450 billion worth of Saudi investments. “But we’re going to get to the bottom of it,” he vowed Monday.

For Israel, the situation is somewhat trickier. On the one hand, it does not want to see Riyadh’s position in the region diminished in favor of Tehran, or Ankara. (Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is believed by some to be seeing the Khashoggi murder as an opportunity to replace Saudi Arabia as the leader of the Sunni Islamic world.) On the other hand, Israel should be careful not be regarded as Riyadh’s mouthpiece in the US and Europe, several analysts interviewed for this article warned.

“It would have significant negative reputational impact on Israel to be seen as the defender and as the explainer and as the advocate on of MBS after this brutal performance, which was followed by several weeks of lying — which actually still continues — about what happened in Istanbul,” Shapiro said. Rather, all that’s left for Jerusalem to do is quiet diplomacy in a bid to try sustain “whatever can be sustained” regarding security cooperation with Saudi Arabia, he added. But there can be no doubt that the Khashoggi affair “has weakened a central pillar of Israel’s strategic concept in the Middle East in a way that Israel can’t do very much to repair it. That’s the damage in having such an unreliable Saudi leadership as we currently unfortunately have.”…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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          WHAT THE KHASHOGGI MURDER MEANS FOR THE MIDDLE EAST                                                                     James M. Dorsey                                                                                                                                      Algemeiner, Oct. 24, 2018

The death of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the premises of the Saudi consulate in Istanbul threatens to upend the fault lines across the Middle East, and severely disrupt the US-Saudi alliance that holds together many of those fault lines.

An investigation into Khashoggi’s fate mandated by members of the US Congress and a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and the journalist’s Turkish fiancée, Hatice Cengiz, could result in a US and European embargo on arms sales to Saudi Arabia, which would also impact the kingdom’s brutal proxy war with Iran in Yemen, portray Saudi Arabia as a rogue state, and call into question US and Saudi allegations that Iran is the Middle East’s main state supporter of terrorism.

Those allegations were a key reason for the US withdrawal — with the backing of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Israel — from the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran’s nuclear program, and for the re-imposition of crippling economic sanctions on Tehran. An investigation into the role of the Saudi leadership in the death of Khashoggi would also undermine the 15-month-old economic and diplomatic boycott of Qatar, a country that Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Bahrain accuse of supporting terrorism.

Furthermore, a condemnation and sanctioning of Saudi Arabia by the international community would complicate China’s and Russia’s efforts to avoid being sucked into the Saudi-Iranian rivalry. Those two countries will be at a crossroads if the Saudi government is proven to be responsible for Khashoggi’s death and the issue of sanctions is subsequently brought before the UN Security Council.

So far, both Russia and China have managed to maintain close ties to Riyadh despite their efforts to defeat US sanctions against Iran, and Russia’s alliance with Iran on behalf of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad. A significantly weakened Saudi Arabia would also undermine Arab cover provided by the kingdom for Trump’s efforts to impose a settlement to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that would favor Israel at the expense of the Palestinians. Finally, a conclusive determination that Saudi Arabia was responsible for Khashoggi’s death would likely spark renewed debate about the wisdom of the international community’s support for Arab autocracy, which has proven unashamedly brutal in its violation of human rights and disregard for international law and conventions.

Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman has suffered significant damage to his reputation, raising the question of his viability if Saudi Arabia is condemned internationally. This raises the follow-up question of the stability of the kingdom, which is a key tenant of US, Chinese, and Russian Middle East policy. The damage suffered by Prince Muhammad embarrasses UAE Crown Prince Muhammad bin Zayed, who, together with his aides and representatives in world capitals, has worked hard to project his Saudi counterpart as the kingdom’s future.

Saudi Arabia did itself few favors by initially flatly rejecting any responsibility for Khashoggi’s disappearance; asserting that claims that it was involved were fabrications by Turkey, Qatar, and the Muslim Brotherhood; seeking to defame Khashoggi’s fiancée and supporters; and refusing to fully cooperate with Turkish investigators. Saudi reluctance to cooperate, as well as the US investigation and Ms. Cengiz’s possible meeting with Trump, complicate apparent Turkish efforts to find a resolution of the escalating crisis that would allow Saudi Arabia to save face and salvage Turkey’s economic relationship with the kingdom.

Turkey, despite deep policy differences with Saudi Arabia over Qatar, Iran, and the Muslim Brotherhood, has so far refrained from releasing the evidence it claims it has proving that Khashoggi was killed by Saudi agents inside the consulate. The release of gruesome details of the killing by anonymous Turkish officials appears designed to pressure Saudi Arabia into complying with Turkey’s demands and efforts at managing the crisis. The death of Jamal Khashoggi is reshaping the political map of the Middle East. He paid a horrendous price for sparking the earthquake that is now rumbling across the region.

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EGYPT’S WAR ON THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD                                                                        Dima Abumaria

                                                The Media Line, October 18, 2018

Egyptian police released the 25-year-old son of former president Mohammed Morsi Wednesday after he spent less than 24 hours in detention on charges of joining an outlawed organization and publishing “fake news.” Abdullah Morsi Mohammed Morsi, a graduate business student, posted a bail of 5,000 Egyptian pounds [about $280] according to a statement by Attorney General Nabil Sadek. “The Attorney General decided to release Abdullah until further investigations take place into the charges against him,” said Abdel-Moneim Abdel-Maqsoud, a member of Morsi’s defense team.

Abdullah frequently posts updates on social media about his father’s condition at the Tora maximum security prison, about eight miles south of downtown Cairo, as the family seeks more visitation rights and better health care for the jailed Brotherhood leader. The London-based Arabi21 website published an interview with Abdullah just days before his arrest detailing the conditions of the family’s September visit at the prison.

Morsi is challenging a death sentence and 48 years in jail for five separate cases including espionage for Hamas, Hezbollah and Qatar as well as insulting Egypt’s judiciary. The charge of joining a terrorist group refers to the Muslim Brotherhood, which was outlawed in 2013. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, an Egyptian general who then became president, led a coalition to remove the elder Morsi from the presidential palace.

Egypt has been plagued by a violent insurgency since Sisi replaced Morsi. Egyptian officials have viewed the terrorist wave as part of a revenge campaign for the Brotherhood’s ousting. Since 2013, the Egyptian army has also waged a fierce counter-terrorism operation against a Sinai-based Islamic State-affiliated group. It has seen an upsurge in attacks on the Coptic Christian community, as well as security personnel and senior officials in the Nile Valley. Last month, Sisi emphasized the need for a “global war” against terrorism during his address at the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

“There is no doubt that the Arab region is one of the most vulnerable to the dangers of nation-state disintegration, and the ensuing creation of a fertile environment for terrorism and exacerbation of sectarian conflicts,” Sisi declared at the UN. Cairo has been working to contain Islamists throughout Egypt, making no distinction between their political and armed wings. “Anyone who has anything to do with the Islamic movement can expect to be questioned and other times detained based on their activity within the movement,” an Egyptian political observer close to the Sisi administration told The Media Line.

“Mohammed Morsi supported and promoted the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and beyond—especially in Syria by urging Muslims join a jihad against the government of Syrian President Bashar Assad. Sisi ended that and is cleaning up the mess caused by Islamist political groups in Egypt,” the analyst added.

Ibrahim Haj Ibrahim, who heads the Political Science department at Birzeit University in Ramallah, believes the anti-terror rhetoric in Cairo is a core component of a Saudi-led effort, which includes Egypt and the UAE, to gain support for the ongoing boycott of Qatar, the Muslim Brotherhood’s chief state backer in the region. “Saudi Arabia doesn’t want any other regional power, but itself,” Ibrahim told The Media Line. “Riyadh is doing the best it can to put the Muslim Brotherhood in the category of terrorism.”

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RUMORS STOKE ISLAMIST ATTACKS ON EGYPTIAN COPTS

Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, Oct. 9, 2018

Islamists and jihadists in Egypt have targeted the Egyptian Coptic minorities for decades with bombings and mob attacks on Coptic churches, businesses and homes. Many are sanctioned by fatwas from radical clerics, Salafist preachers and Muslim Brotherhood muftis.

The latest attack took place Sept. 1 in Dimshaw, a village in southern Egypt’s Minya governorate. A mob of nearly 1,000 Islamists and Muslim radicals attacked Christians who gathered in a home to pray. Several homes reportedly were looted and set on fire. The mob claimed that the Christians didn’t have a license, and a rumor spread that they are on the verge of building a new church. A Minya court released 21 of the 25 people arrested in the attack. Copts often take a passive approach to such crises. “Copts, by nature and by belief, are by far more accepting of death, fate, and all tragedies that befall them,” said Egyptian writer and political analyst Azza Sedky. “When one of them dies, they believe he or she has gone to a ‘better place.’ Acceptance is key.”

The 1956 Suez crisis generated xenophobia toward foreigners, driving many out of Egypt. The Muslim Brotherhood stepped up activities around that time and “began to play [its] tricks and the antagonism [against religious minorities] intensified, especially in rural areas,” she said. Spreading rumors is a long-standing tactic for the Muslim Brotherhood. In 1947, for example, a Cairo police officer tried to stop an unlicensed Brotherhood political march. The protesters then spread a rumor that the officer tore a copy of the Quran, which triggered a riot in which he was killed. Brotherhood founder Hassan al-Banna blamed the slain police officer for not acting prudently.

A rumor spread by the Muslim Brotherhood in 1952 claimed that Copts in Suez were colluding with British occupation forces to kill Muslims. As a result, a mob stormed the city and burned several Copts alive, later throwing their bodies into a church which was then burned down. The “Suez Massacre” marked the beginning of a long series of assaults and killings of Copts based on rumors spread by Brotherhood and other Islamists. Rumors spread by Islamists claimed that Copts were importing arms from Israel and storing them in churches.

Since the June 2013 Revolution, Egypt’s Christians have been blamed for Brotherhood President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster, with Islamists leaders vowing that Christians will pay the price. They carried through on those threats in August 2013, immediately after the Egyptian army wiped out the Brotherhood’s Rabaa armed encampment. Islamists torched 66 Coptic owned buildings, including 49 churches.

Major attacks against Copts continued. A December 2016 bombing at Cairo’s St. Mark Church during Sunday Mass killed 29 people and injured 48 others. A twin bombing four months later targeted a Palm Sunday service the St. Mark Church in Alexandria and St. George Church in the Nile Delta City of Tanta north of Cairo. At least 45 people were killed and 126 injured. President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi immediately ordered that the targeted churches be rebuilt or repaired, sending a message that the government will protect its citizens. Nevertheless, that message has not yet led to stricter enforcement of laws on assailants and radicals who incite violence.

A new church building law aimed at helping Copts may actually create harm, said Mohamed Abu Hamed, the deputy head of the Egyptian Parliament’s “Solidarity Committee,” which is designated to introduce laws and recommendations for social justice. The law should have applied to all places of worship, he said, but covers only church construction.

Attacks on Copts have decreased in recent years after efforts to round up Islamist leaders, and Egyptian police raids on terrorist cells. Copts, however, still represent a top target for Islamists who don’t believe that this minority should have the same rights and freedom to worship. The latest attack on Christians in Minya may indicate a return to a pattern of attacking Copts during prayers services. In July 2015, radicals attacked a house designated to the Copts as a church. Salafi radicals stoned those gathered, but fled when security forces arrived. They came back and threw Molotov cocktails at the gathered Copts.

For decades, local authorities approved “customary reconciliations” to resolve disputes, including those between Muslims and Christians. Community leaders, heads of families, tribe leaders and local authority figures meet to try to resolve conflicts without going to court. But they don’t always produce just outcomes, Abu Hamed said.

“Despite the existence of an old judicial system that dates back to the times of the pharaohs, authorities still utilize the so called ‘customary reconciliations’ instead of applying the laws which is a blatant breach of the constitution and rule of law. What makes it worse is that these meetings are attended by security authorities, political leaders and governors among others,” he said. “Some authority figures believe these meetings create a sort of equilibrium, or it provides them with political and social leverage. The second reason is they believe it is the easier way to contain matters in face of the Salafist groups and radicals.” On a similar note, Coptic Bishop Macarius rejected all forms of unofficial reconciliation.

Conditions for Copts are improving despite these troubles, Sedky said, noting that “Sisi was the first president to attend mass on Christmas Eve in Egypt,” a groundbreaking action countering Salafists who tell Egyptians not to shake hands with Copts. “However, as [with] everything else,” she said, “it will take generations to overcome an ingrained hatred that was left to flourish for years.”

The current atmosphere is still ripe for the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists to spew their poisonous ideologies, lies and rumors, Abu Hamed said. He blames a tepid effort from Al Azhar – Sunni Islam’s most prestigious institution – to reform religious curriculum; a significant Muslim Brotherhood and Salafi presence in key positions within state religious institutions; and Muslim Brotherhood control of mosques which spread hateful ideology despite a state ban…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Canada Can’t Just Avoid the Regimes it Doesn’t Agree With, like Saudi Arabia: Dennis Horak, National Post, Oct. 24, 2018—As the Trudeau government undertakes its announced review of Saudi-Canada relations, it needs to look past the recent horrific news and find an approach that aims to be truly effective by advancing legitimate Canadian interests along with its values.

The Ugly Terror Truth About Jamal Khashoggi: Daniel Greenfield, Breaking Israel News, Oct. 17, 2018—In high school, Jamal Khashoggi had a good friend. His name was Osama bin Laden. “We were hoping to establish an Islamic state anywhere,” Khashoggi reminisced about their time together in the Muslim Brotherhood. “We believed that the first one would lead to another, and that would have a domino effect which could reverse the history of mankind.”

The Kingdom and the Power: Elliott Abrams, Weekly Standard, Oct. 20, 2018—While the details of Jamal Khashoggi’s death have not fully emerged, we know the essentials. He died at the hands of Saudi agents in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and the decision to kidnap or kill him must have been taken at the top of the Saudi political structure. Whether crown prince Mohammed bin Salman asked “will no one rid me of this meddlesome journalist” or specified the methods to be used, he is responsible for Khashoggi’s death.

Egyptian Christians, at Home and Abroad: Lofty Basta, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 26, 2018—Copts (Egyptian Christians) living in Egypt or in adoptive countries have common attributes – they are peace-loving, belong to strong large families with low divorce rates, have a lower mean age than the rest of civilized world, respect their elderly, value education and work, are always willing to help those in need, are courteous and use respectful non-obscene language.

 

DESPITE IMPROVING EGYPT-ISRAEL RELATIONS, MANY EGYPTIANS STILL HOSTILE TO JEWISH STATE

Four Decades After Camp David, Egyptians Still Chilly Toward Israel: Mona Salem & Aziz El Massassi, Times of Israel, Sept. 16, 2018 — Forty years after signing the Camp David Accords, Egypt and Israel live in uneasy peace, as cool diplomatic ties have failed to unfreeze other relations.

Help Egypt Help Israel On Middle East Peace: Kenneth Glueck, Breaking Defense, Sept. 14, 2018— Peace in the Middle East seems elusive as ever.

Trump’s Alliance Against Iran: Tom O’Connor, Newsweek, Sept. 25, 2018— While President Donald Trump condemned Iran in his address Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, a small but influential group of countries gathered elsewhere in New York City in an attempt to rally support for an increasingly controversial cause among the international community.

Qatar is a Poor American Ally; Trump Should Leave its Airbase Upgrades Empty: Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner, Aug. 30, 2018 — President Trump should pick up the phone — or get on Twitter — and tell Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that the U.S. won’t use expanded base facilities in Qatar and will consider relocating the U.S. military out of Qatar entirely.

On Topic Links

Islamists Smear Egyptian Actress for Removing Hijab: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Sept. 4, 2018

Fighting Terrorism, a Human Right: Mike Evans, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2018

Death as Punishment “for Disbelief”: Extremist Persecution of Christians, February 2018: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 9, 2018

Qatar and Turkey: Toxic Allies in the Gulf: Richard Miniter, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 28, 2018

 

                   FOUR DECADES AFTER CAMP DAVID,

                    EGYPTIANS STILL CHILLY TOWARD ISRAEL

Mona Salem & Aziz El Massassi

Times of Israel, Sept. 16, 2018

Forty years after signing the Camp David Accords, Egypt and Israel live in uneasy peace, as cool diplomatic ties have failed to unfreeze other relations. “There is still a psychological barrier between us and the Israeli people,” said Egyptian ex-lawmaker Mohammed Anwar Sadat, nephew of former president Anwar Sadat.

Mohammed Sadat proudly keeps a photo of his late uncle in his Cairo office. Egypt’s then head of state risked everything in making peace with Israel at the US presidential retreat Camp David on September 17, 1978. The accords, cemented by a peace treaty in 1979, saw regional powerhouse Egypt temporarily shunned by the rest of the Arab World. Sadat himself was assassinated on October 6, 1981. The late president “had great courage and a vision for the future”, his nephew said. But the peace, he said, “has always been cold.”

While many Egyptians welcome the absence of war, they remain hostile to Israel. “Egypt’s acceptance of full diplomatic and political normalization” has not translated into “a cultural or popular normalization,” said Mustafa Kamal Sayed, professor of political sciences at Cairo University. This uneasy but stable status quo is reflected on Cairo’s streets, where many put their antipathy towards Israel down to their neighbor’s policies towards the Palestinians. “The normalization failed to gain popular support because of events linked to Palestinians,” said bank worker Mohammed Oussam.

He said he could not forget Israel’s bombing of “schools and refugee camps” during Lebanon’s 1975 to 1990 civil war. “The Israelis have not adhered to the principles of peace with the Palestinians or the Arabs,” said another Mohammed. It’s a sentiment also shared by Islam Emam. “We speak of peace, of normalization — then they kill our brothers and take their land,” he said, referring to the Palestinians. He blames Israel’s government, rather than its citizens. “In the end, nobody truly chooses his government,” he said.

Enmity towards Israel often crystallizes over sporting events. Egyptian and Liverpool football maestro Mohamed Salah has been criticized at home for appearing in a Champions League match in Israel in 2013, when he played for Switzerland’s FC Basel. Salah said he did not make political decisions. Three years later, Egyptian judo Olympian Islam El Shehaby refused to shake hands with Israeli rival Or Sasson at the Rio Games — a gesture that embarrassed Egyptian authorities. Writer and Hebrew translator Nael el-Toukhy said any Egyptian who reaches out to Israelis faces intense pressure.

Israel is a hot topic for Egyptian talk shows, guaranteed to stoke the kind of high feelings seen in debates on gay rights. More than 65 percent of Egyptians alive today were not yet born when the Camp David Summit took place, according to official figures. But Egyptian public rejection of Israel is a constant. National politics is also affected, despite decades of formal diplomatic ties.

In March 2016, Egyptian lawmaker Tawfiq Okasha paid a high price for inviting Israel’s ambassador to dinner at his home. Accused of discussing issues linked to national security, he was ousted from parliament in a two-thirds majority vote. Even the country’s all-important tourism industry is a victim of “cold peace” — of the 3.9 million tourists who visited Israel in 2017, only 7,200 were from neighboring Egypt.

 

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HELP EGYPT HELP ISRAEL ON MIDDLE EAST PEACE

                                       Kenneth Glueck

Breaking Defense, Sept. 14, 2018

Peace in the Middle East seems elusive as ever. Yet, even as the future of its own commitments to the region remains uncertain, the United States has a decided interest to prevent conflict from spreading to its key ally, Israel. That requires supporting Egypt’s pivotal, intertwined roles of diplomatic mediator and counterterrorism partner in the region.

Currently, Gaza poses the greatest threat of rapid escalation on any of Israel’s borders. Sporadic violence has been ongoing since Hamas exploited protests in March to attack Israeli soldiers. Since then, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza has continued exploiting protests to charge the border, while also decimating the southern Israeli countryside with incendiary kites and balloons and repeatedly lobbing rockets into Israel. This violence must be halted before it spirals into another war. Any attempt at peace will require Egypt’s involvement. Indeed, Cairo already is mediating between the two sides and has engineered several short cease-fires. It can, and must, do more, with Washington’s support.

As part of its effort to secure peace, Cairo has sought to deter Hamas aggression and curb its military power. Since Hamas seized Gaza in 2007, Egypt has acted in parallel with Israel to enforce a blockade against the terrorist group. After successfully helping end the 2014 conflict, Egypt sought to isolate Hamas and prevent its rearmament, expanding its buffer zone along the Egypt-Gaza border and destroying more than 1,000 tunnels for smuggling weapons and money. At the same time, Cairo was committed to helping the people of Gaza suffering under Hamas rule, raising $4 billion from international donors for postwar reconstruction.

Given this successful record, U.S. policymakers should vocally endorse Egypt as a peace broker between Israel and Hamas and be prepared to support negotiations under its auspices. By the same token, the United States must support Egypt as a counterterrorism partner not only in Gaza but against ISIS in neighboring Sinai.

I traveled to Egypt recently as part of a delegation sponsored by the Jewish Institute for National Security of America (JINSA). We met with Egypt’s President Abdel el-Sisi, Defense Minister General Mohamed Ahmed Zaki and Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry. They emphasized Egypt’s critical role in maintaining and achieving regional stability and their readiness to continue that role. They also highlighted the importance of a strong bond with the United States and their desire to strengthen that bond.

Indeed, for decades Egypt has committed to fostering a broader Israel-Palestinian peace, including brokering ceasefires in recent conflicts between Israel and Hamas. Especially after the disastrous pro-Hamas policies of President Mohamed Morsi, Egypt under President Sisi has also played a crucial role in helping to isolate and pressure Hamas.

Egyptian mediation was critical to ending the 2014 Gaza War, one of the longest in Israeli history. Very early in that conflict, an Egyptian ceasefire proposal was accepted by both sides, with hostilities even being suspended temporarily, but ultimately Hamas reneged on the ceasefire. As American policymakers spent succeeding weeks criticizing Israel’s conduct, Cairo was busy working with Israeli and Palestinian officials on a long-term solution. Essentially an identical ceasefire deal ended the conflict in August, after seven weeks of further fighting. As an anonymous Israeli government official stated at the time, “Israel has accepted an Egyptian proposal for a complete and unlimited-in-time ceasefire.” That held for nearly four years, the longest period of peace on Israel’s southern border in decades.

Already, Egypt has shown it can seek a longer-term arrangement to exchange quiet for quiet in Gaza. As violence flared up this spring, pressure from Cairo helped convince Hamas to curb its deadly “peaceful protests.” When Hamas recently launched incendiary kites and balloons, Egypt’s ultimatum helped defuse tensions. Cairo has also helped deter Hamas by communicating Israel’s intent to escalate hostilities if Hamas continued firing on the IDF and into Israel.

Now, Egypt is diligently trying for an even more ambitious goal: negotiating a 5-plus-year ceasefire – including prisoner exchanges and reconstruction programs – and having the Palestinian Authority assume control of Gaza under Egyptian auspices. The efficacy of these Egyptian efforts can only be increased if both sides know Cairo enjoys Washington’s full confidence.

Egypt needs U.S. support for its attempts to build peace at home. Since the November 2017 mosque attack by ISIS in Sinai that killed over 300 civilians, Egypt has stepped up its own counterterrorism efforts. Success is critical to the security of Egypt’s 80 million citizens and for peace in Gaza; restoring order to Sinai will help compel Hamas to distance itself further from ISIS. The recent decision to authorize the release of $1.2 billion in US military assistance (Foreign Military Financing) is a step in the right direction toward ensuring peace. Often unappreciated, Egypt’s efforts to maintain regional stability and its commitment to countering Islamist extremism should be fully recognized and reinforced by American policymakers.                                                   Contents

   

                              TRUMP’S ALLIANCE AGAINST IRAN                                     

                                                            Tom O’Connor                                

                                                  Newsweek, Sept. 25, 2018

While President Donald Trump condemned Iran in his address Tuesday to the United Nations General Assembly, a small but influential group of countries gathered elsewhere in New York City in an attempt to rally support for an increasingly controversial cause among the international community.

The foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia and Yemen, the ambassadors of Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates to Washington and the director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency were among those who spoke alongside two of President Donald Trump’s most senior officials at the 2018 United Against Nuclear Iran summit. These five U.S.-backed countries have accused Iran of interfering in their respective internal affairs and were among the few world powers to welcome Trump’s decision to unilaterally abandon a 2015 multinational deal by which Iran agreed to denuclearize in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.

At a time when traditional U.S. allies France, Germany and the U.K.–all of which also signed the nuclear deal–were working alongside China and Russia to counter U.S. sanctions against Iran, this Middle Eastern quintet has formed the core of foreign support for Trump’s hardline stance against the revolutionary Shiite Muslim power. UAE ambassador to the U.S. Yousef al-Otaiba said Tuesday that the Iranian threat was existential. “We have paid the price more than anyone else in our part of the world,” Otaiba said, sitting on a panel beside State Department director of policy planning Brian Hook and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed al-Jubeir. “The Gulf countries, Israel and the countries in the immediate vicinity are the ones at immediate risk.”

While the four Arabian Peninsula states do not recognize or maintain relations with Israel, their mutual enmity for the leadership in Tehran has forged an informal coalition. Otaiba himself reportedly met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during a chance encounter in Washington in May, during which both men discussed their country’s positions on Iran, according to the Associated Press.

Bahrain, a majority-Shiite Muslim island state ruled by a Sunni Muslim monarchy with close ties to neighboring Saudi Arabia, went so far as to publicly back Israel’s right to defend itself via a social media statement by its top diplomat in March. Having accused Iran of funding a Shiite Muslim insurgency in his country, Bahraini envoy to the U.S. Sheikh Abdullah bin Rashed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa reaffirmed this statement on Tuesday. “Some of you might recall our foreign minister tweeted a few months ago and said that every country has the right to defend itself, including Israel,” Sheikh Abdullah said.

Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that ousted a CIA-reinstalled absolute monarchy, Iran’s growing presence in the region has created major concerns for Saudi Arabia and Israel. The staunch U.S. allies have been at odds since Israel’s 1948 creation, which prompted the mass displacement of Palestinians and a series of Arab-Israeli wars, but reports have suggested that two have become increasingly close in the face of a common foe, especially as Riyadh’s regional clout has fallen in Iran’s favor in countries such as Lebanon, Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

“This is a regime the only way one can deal with them is by pressuring them and by forcing them to change,” Jubeir told the conference Tuesday, accusing Tehran of sponsoring terrorism, cyber attacks, ethnic cleansing projects and of supporting a group of Zaidi Shiite Muslim rebels, known as Ansar Allah or the Houthi movement, which he said have fired up to 197 ballistic missiles at Saudi Arabia. Jubeir left the event without taking questions and Israeli Mossad Director Yossi Cohen’s comments at the following panel were off the record.

As a Saudi-led coalition—which includes Bahrain and the UAE—bombs the Houthis in Yemen, Israeli warplanes blast alleged Iranian and pro-Iran positions fighting on behalf of resurgent government forces in Syria. Both Saudi Arabia and Israel have backed Syrian rebels attempting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, an ally of Iran and Russia. Israeli officials have called for Saudi Arabia and its regional allies to openly work together with their country against Iran. Last month, a report surfaced suggesting Saudi Arabia acquired the Iron Dome missile defense system, which Israel uses to block rocket attacks from Palestinian and Lebanese groups sponsored by Iran. The Israeli Defense Ministry reportedly denied the report.

While the true extent of their alignment remains the source of reports and speculation, Israel and Saudi Arabia’s anti-Iran postures have been emboldened by the Trump administration. The U.S. leader followed up his fiery debut at the U.N. General Assembly last year with another verbal assault on Tehran, calling it a “corrupt dictatorship” whose leaders “sow chaos, death, and disruption.” “They do not respect their neighbors or borders, or the sovereign rights of nations. Instead, Iran’s leaders plunder the nation’s resources to enrich themselves and to spread mayhem across the Middle East and far beyond,” he said. “The Iranian people are rightly outraged that their leaders have embezzled billions of dollars from Iran’s treasury, seized valuable portions of the economy, and looted the religious endowments, all to line their own pockets and send their proxies to wage war.”

Iran has been keen to point out the perceived growing ties between the U.S., Israel and Saudi Arabia and dismissed their accusations, accusing them of conspiring to destabilize the country and the region. The Iranian position has been reinforced by its success in tackling the Islamic State militant group (ISIS) alongside Iraqi government forces backed by the U.S. and Syrian government forces opposed by Washington. In Syria, Iran-backed militias have deployed alongside Syria’s armed forces around Idlib, the final province under the control of an Islamist-led insurgency.

France, Germany and the U.K. have joined the U.S. in cautioning Syria and its Iranian and Russian allies from pursuing an all-out offensive in Idlib, but have split with the Trump administration on punishing Iran economically for its involvement in the Middle East and development of ballistic missiles. France, the EU, Germany and the U.K. have been deeply critical of the U.S. decision to leave the Iran deal, which came after the International Atomic Energy Agency affirmed Tehran’s adherence on multiple occasions and followed U.S. exits from other international agreements. A day before Trump’s U.N. address and the United Against Nuclear Iran conference, the foreign ministers of these transatlantic powers met with their Russian, Chinese and Iranian counterparts to discuss saving a nuclear deal that no longer protects the beleaguered Iranian economy from heavy U.S. sanctions…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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QATAR IS A POOR AMERICAN ALLY;

TRUMP SHOULD LEAVE ITS AIRBASE UPGRADES EMPTY

Tom Rogan

Washington Examiner, Aug. 30, 2018

President Trump should pick up the phone — or get on Twitter — and tell Qatari Emir Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani that the U.S. won’t use expanded base facilities in Qatar and will consider relocating the U.S. military out of Qatar entirely. Unless, that is, Qatar realigns its foreign policy towards greater support for regional stability and counterterrorism.

The need for Trump’s action bears consideration in light of a Qatari government official’s announcement on Sunday that it intends to expand the Al-Udeid airbase. That base hosts the forward command elements for the Pentagon’s U.S. Central Command and has played an integral role in U.S. strike operations against Bashar Assad and the Islamic State. Yet, Qatar’s intent in constructing new facilities at Al-Udeid is about locking the U.S. into a long-term formal military presence in that nation. It’s all part of Qatar’s patronage policy of buying Western military equipment and thus buying Western political acquiescence to Qatar’s broader foreign policy.

But it’s time for this waltz to end. The simple problem is that Qatar continues to act in ways that are fundamentally counter to American interests. Take Qatar’s close friendship with Iran. Qatar is happy to support Iranian foreign policy interests against regional stability. Maintaining growing commercial ties with Iran, the Qatari government has also allowed the Iranian revolutionary guard-aligned hardliners to insulate their business interests from U.S. sanctions pressure. Other recent reports suggest that Qatar may be helping Iran to manipulate the outcome of ongoing government formation talks in Iraq (which would be very bad for America).

Still, the real measure of why Trump should challenge Qatar is its ongoing and outrageous support for Salafi-Jihadist terrorists. The divorce between Qatari words and actions here is defining. While the Qatari ambassador writes Washington Post op-eds attacking Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for their ( admittedly flawed) campaign in Yemen, his prime minister flirts with terrorist fundraisers in Doha. The ruling Al Thani family allows such conduct because of its own ardent ideological support for the most conservative strains of Sunni political Islam. More importantly, they do so in full awareness that the groups associated with these ideological movements are often defined by violent fanaticism and the pursuit of exclusionary societies that prejudice against other religious ( including Muslim) and social groups.

These activities run fundamentally counter to the national security interests of the United States. While Saudi Arabia and the UAE are imperfect allies, they are actively pursuing political reforms aligned with U.S. interests. Qatar absolutely is not doing this, and Trump should mark this divergence in developing policy. Fortunately, in this case at least, the Pentagon is bucking its usual penchant for filling up buildings without regard for cost or efficiency. In a statement a U.S. Navy press officer noted that “It is premature to discuss aspects of a potential base expansion at Al-Udeid air base in Qatar.” Good. If Qatar doesn’t change, the U.S. could always relocate its Al-Udeid operations to the UAE’s Al-Dhafra Air Base.

Contents

 

On Topic Links

Islamists Smear Egyptian Actress for Removing Hijab: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Sept. 4, 2018—She once was one of Egypt’s most popular actresses. Now, Hala Shiha has created a row by announcing she no longer will wear a hijab in public.

Fighting Terrorism, a Human Right: Mike Evans, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 28, 2018—President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi of Egypt deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom award, for saving Egypt from a human rights catastrophe.

Death as Punishment “for Disbelief”: Extremist Persecution of Christians, February 2018: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 9, 2018—The jihadi assault on, and massacre of, Christians continued unabated throughout the Muslim word.

Qatar and Turkey: Toxic Allies in the Gulf: Richard Miniter, Gatestone Institute, Aug. 28, 2018—These days, America has more trouble with its allies than its enemies.

 

AS EGYPT SUCCESSFULLY FIGHTS ISLAMISTS, MOROCCANS PROTEST AGAINST CORRUPTION

Five Years After the Revolution: Is Egyptian President El-Sisi Winning the Battle?: Zvi Mazel, JNS, July 15, 2018 —Recent weeks have brought welcome news to Egypt.

Egypt’s Islamist Televangelists Lose Clout: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, July 9, 2018— They once captured the hearts and minds of millions of Egyptians, but Islamist televangelists are losing popularity.

The Moroccan Boycotts: A New Model for Protest?: Dr. James M. Dorsey, BESA, June 22, 2018— In Jordan recently, fury at tax hikes followed the classic pattern of sustained public protest.

How Qatar’s Jewish Strategy Backfired: Seth J. Frantzman, Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018— Six months ago, in January 2018, the world looked hopeful for Qatar.

On Topic Links

4 Years On, Egypt’s President Urges Patience Over Reforms: National Post, June 30, 2018

Egypt Tries To Reconcile ‘Coptic’ Churches To Non-Existence: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, June 16, 2018

Coal’s Coming Renaissance in the Middle East: Dmitriy Frolovskiy, Real Clear World, July 02, 2018

Many Egyptian Christians Feel Left Out of World Cup: Hamza Hendawi, National Post, June 22, 2018

 

FIVE YEARS AFTER THE REVOLUTION:

IS EGYPTIAN PRESIDENT EL-SISI WINNING THE BATTLE?

Zvi Mazel

JNS, July 15, 2018

Recent weeks have brought welcome news to Egypt. The fight against Islamic terror appears to be going well, and social and economic reforms are beginning to get results, though the president’s high-handed rule has drawn critics. In a televised speech on June 30 to mark the fifth anniversary of the 2013 events that led to the downfall of the regime of the Muslim Brotherhood, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi stated that it had been the “right revolution,” as opposed to the January-February 2011 demonstrations that brought down former President Hosni Mubarak as part of the so-called Arab Spring.

Those demonstrations endangered political stability and personal safety, and led to the rise of terrorism and the collapse of the economy, he said, but he was successfully working at correcting those ills with the help of the security forces and the support of the people. The president claims he saved his country from the establishment of an Islamic dictatorship and restored stability, but it came at a steep price. Hundreds of supporters of the Muslim Brotherhood were killed during violent protests. Nevertheless, he never lost sight of his goal of developing the economy and did not hesitate to tackle painful but necessary reforms.

Islamic terror in the Sinai Peninsula is still the main stumbling block after four years of fierce fighting against militants of the “Sinai district of the Islamic State.” Last February, the president launched Operation “Sinai 2018” to eradicate the organization and sent reinforcements to the detachments of his second and third army already there. Hundreds of terrorists were killed, communication and command posts destroyed, caches of explosives discovered, and hundreds of vehicles and motorcycles seized. This led to a drastic drop in terror activities, but did not eradicate the Islamic State.

El-Sisi cannot afford to dial down his troops whose continuous presence in the peninsula is a severe drain on the defense budget while preventing a return to normal life in the area. A five kilometer wide buffer zone has been established along the border to isolate Sinai from the Gaza Strip, and hundreds of families had to leave. A night curfew is in force in parts of northern Sinai, hampering the delivery of necessary goods and medicine to civilians. Schools and institutes of higher education were shut down to prevent terror attacks. Still, there has been a shift in the attitude of the mostly Bedouin population, traditionally suspicious of the central government, who are now joining the fight against jihadi militants following the deadly attack on the Rawda mosque last November that killed 311 men and women at prayer. Bedouin tribes are now cooperating with the army. Early this month, two high-ranking leaders of the Sinai district surrendered after a lengthy battle in the town of Rafah. This was apparently brokered by the Union of Sinai Tribes, which had called on the jihadis to surrender following their failures. Some of the strict security measures are now being lifted and some normalcy is returning to the region.

The Muslim Brotherhood remains a low-level threat. Five years after their ouster from power and the violent repression of their demonstrations, Muslim Brothers still refuse to accept their defeat and demand the release of ousted president Mohammed Morsi as a precondition to talks with the new regime. The events of 2011 propelled them to power after 80 long years during which they had twice been outlawed, their leaders executed, and their militants arrested by the thousands. In 2012, their first political party Freedom and Justice won the parliamentary elections and Morsi was elected president. Barely a year later the parliament was dissolved for technical reasons and Morsi was ousted and arrested following massive popular protests with millions of Egyptians taking to the streets with the support of the army led by el-Sisi, who was minister of defense at the time.

Today, the Brotherhood is in dire straits. It has been outlawed as a terror organization and thousands of its members arrested. Its political party and affiliate organizations were dissolved and all activity forbidden. Its offices and assets were seized, and a recent presidential decree allows the confiscation of the private assets of members who have been arrested and sentenced as soon as their sentence becomes final. Most of their leaders are in jail and face charges of treason and violence against citizens. Such is the case for former president Morsi, the supreme leader of the movement Mohamad mad Bad’ie and his deputies Khairat el Shater and Rashid el Bayomi, as well as other prominent personalities well-known in the Arab world. Morsi and Badi’e have already been sentenced to several life terms and even to death, but their appeals are still pending. Some low-ranking members try to generate a minimum of activities but are under close watch and their temporary offices are often shut down while they are arrested.

The few leaders who have managed to flee are seeking refuge in Turkey and Qatar, countries that support the Brotherhood. At this stage the organization has collapsed to all intents and purposes. Mahmoud Ezzat, one of the deputies of the supreme leader, avoided arrest and is reputedly hiding in Egypt, where he is attempting to assume the mantle of leader and keep the Brotherhood alive until better times without notable success because the chaotic situation has led to a de facto split in the movement. The younger generations looking for revenge found their leader in the person of Mohammad Kamal, one of the veterans who tried to reorganize Brotherhood institutions but failed and instead formed two violent groups: Liwa al Thawra (“Banner of the Revolution”) and Hism (“Decision”), which targeted security forces and public figures and carried out terrorist operations in Cairo and elsewhere on the Egyptian mainland. Kamal was killed in October 2016 in a police raid in Cairo, but the Hism group is still active.

The organization has trouble recruiting new members and is no longer able to launch protests as it did in 2015-2016. Attempts at reconciliation have failed because, though President el-Sisi is ready to talk, probably because he no longer sees the Brotherhood as an immediate threat, he refuses all preconditions such as releasing Morsi from jail. It would, however, be a mistake to dismiss a movement that has shown in the past remarkable recovery powers. Its ultimate goal, a return to the sources of Islam and the reestablishment of the caliphate, still exerts a powerful appeal in Egypt and other Arab countries where political parties affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood are having significant success.

The president is well aware that he will be judged on his economic and social achievements. There are already 100 million Egyptians, with one million being added every six months. At 3.3%, the birth rate remains high. A majority of the people earn less than $2 a day, which puts them below the poverty line as defined by the United Nations. Economic growth of 7% to 8% per year over several years would be needed to make up for the high birth rate and the damage caused to the economy by previous governments…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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EGYPT’S ISLAMIST TELEVANGELISTS LOSE CLOUT

Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, July 9, 2018

 

They once captured the hearts and minds of millions of Egyptians, but Islamist televangelists are losing popularity. They started to lose credibility during the June 2013 revolution that drove the Muslim Brotherhood from power and in the subsequent terrorist attacks after Islamist President Mohamed Morsi’s ouster.

“The state of abandonment of the Salafi preachers and the Muslim Brotherhood … is very good and serves the interests of the Egyptian, Arab and Islamic societies,” said former Muslim Brotherhood member Sameh Eid. “The exposure of the ideas of these preachers and their great dependence on a heritage that is no longer suitable for the present time and place make them a rare and ridiculous material on the pages of the media.”

Fewer people are watching the Islamist televangelists shows, Islamist groups researcher and former Brotherhood member Tarek Abou Saad, so they now resort to using historical tales of Islam’s grandeur to try to draw an audience. Despite those efforts, televangelist ratings during Ramadan were the lowest since 2011.

Egyptian media traditionally offered two main types of televangelists – Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated and Salafist (Wahhabi). Brotherhood clerics in modern clothes advocate a gradual Islamization of society while infiltrating Egypt’s more affluent society. Salafists successfully appealed to working class and more impoverished sectors of society.

The televangelist movement in Egypt was initiated by Omar Abdel Kafi who became extremely famous among the affluent. The radical preacher issued fatwas prohibiting greeting Christians and urging boycotting Jews. Egyptian authorities took him off the air in 1994, forcing him to work in exile from the United Arab Emirates. He follows the path of both the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists. Recently, his anti-Semitic statements, describing Jews as “aiming to control all the world’s money and lands then controlling all international politics,” got him banned from delivering a speech in Canada in April.

The rise of Islamist televangelists was cancerous to the fiber of the Egyptian society and fueled radicalization during the past two decades. Views toward women, Christians, art and the West all grew more strident. The new wave of preachers was first introduced in 2002 through the Saudi-financed religious network “Iqra [Read] TV.” By 2007, Time magazine listed Amr Khaled as one of the 100 most influential people in the world, calling him a “rock star” and “a needed voice for moderation from within the Muslim world.”

Forbes Arabia also identified Amr Khaled as one of the richest Islamist preachers that year, estimating his income at $2.5 million. He introduced a new form of preaching – which he called “Visual Da’wa” – emphasizing appearance as a way to inspire more religious adherence. He urged girls to wear the hijab, which he called a “walking symbol of the faith.” “Wearing your hijab at the beach, even if surrounded by semi-naked girls,” he said, will lead to society becoming more religious. This is the way to fix society.”

Most of the new breed of televangelists didn’t study Islamic theology at Al Azhar University like traditional preachers. Instead, they present themselves as average people who found religion through personal experiences. For example, televangelist Moez Massoud said that he became closer to God after losing friends in an accident and then surviving a health scare. This approach has attracted a younger audience than traditional religious programs.

While many view the new televangelists as sincere God-fearing preachers, others see actors performing a role. Amr Khaled has been mocked for fake piety repeatedly on social media for actions like praying only for his followers while in Mecca, excluding other Muslims. “l believe they put on an act and use a special voice tone to convey their message to the audience,” said Egyptian actress Laila Ezz Al Arab…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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THE MOROCCAN BOYCOTTS: A NEW MODEL FOR PROTEST?

Dr. James M. Dorsey

BESA, June 22, 2018

In Jordan recently, fury at tax hikes followed the classic pattern of sustained public protest. Protesters, in contrast to the calls for regime change that dominated the 2011 revolts, targeted the government’s austerity measures and efforts to broaden its revenue base. The protesters forced the resignation of Prime Minister Hani Mulki and the repeal of proposals for tax hikes that were being imposed to comply with conditions of a $723 million International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan to Jordan.

Austerity measures in Egypt linked to a $12 billion IMF loan also sparked protests in a country in which dissent is brutally repressed. Rare protests erupted last month after the government hiked Cairo’s metro fares by up to 250%. Now, with economists and analysts waiting to see how Egyptians respond to new austerity measures that include a 50% rise in gasoline prices (the third since Egypt floated its currency in 2016, with further hikes expected in July), Morocco may provide a more risk-free and effective model for future protest in one of the most repressive parts of the world.

An online boycott campaign fueled by anger at rising consumer prices that uses hashtags such as “let it curdle” and “let it rot” has spread like wildfire across Moroccan social media. A survey in late May by economic daily L’Economiste suggested that 57% of Moroccans were participating in the boycott of some of Morocco’s foremost oligopolies, which have close ties to the government.

The boycott of the likes of French dairy giant Danone, mineral water company Oulmes, and the country’s leading fuel distributor, Afriquia SMDC, is proving effective and difficult to counter. The boycott recently expanded to include the country’s fish markets. The boycott has already halved Danone’s sales. The company said it would post a 150 million Moroccan dirham ($15.9 million) loss for the first six months of this year, cut raw milk purchases by 30%, and reduce its number of short-term job contracts. Danone employees recently staged a sit-in that blamed both the boycott and the government for their predicament. Lahcen Daoudi, a Cabinet minister, resigned after participating in a sit-in organized by Danone workers.

The boycott has also affected the performance of energy companies. Shares of Total Maroc, the only listed fuel distributor, fell by almost 10% since the boycott began in April. The strength of the boycott, which was launched on Facebook pages that have since attracted some two million visitors, lies in the fact that it is difficult to identify who is driving it. No individual or group has publicly claimed ownership. The boycott’s effectiveness is enhanced by the selectiveness of its targets, which are described by angry consumers on social media as “thieves” and “bloodsuckers.”

Anonymity and the virtual character of the protest, in what could become a model elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa, has made it difficult for the government to crack down on its organizers.Yet even if the government identified the boycott’s organizers, it would be unable to impose its will on choices that consumers make daily. The boycott also levels the playing field, with even the poorest able to affect the performance of economic giants. In doing so, the boycott strategy counters region-wide frustration with the fact that protests have either failed to produce results or, in countries like Syria, Yemen, Egypt, and Libya, have led to mayhem, increased repression, and civil war.

“While boycotts solve some of the problems of protest movements…they also create new challenges…. Diffuse structures … limit their ability to formulate clear demands, negotiate on the basis of these demands, respond to criticism of the movement and, eventually, end the boycott. Boycotts against domestic producers are likely to face criticism that they are hurting the economy and endangering the jobs of their compatriots working in the boycotted companies,” cautioned Max Gallien, a London School of Economics PhD candidate who studies the political economy of North Africa.

The Moroccan boycott grew out of months of daily protests in the country’s impoverished northern Rif region. The government tried to squash those protests with a carrot-and-stick approach that involved the arrest of hundreds. Underlying the boycott is a deep-seated resentment of the government’s incestuous relationship with business, which has led to its failure to ensure fair competition. Many believe this has eroded purchasing power among the rural poor and the urban middle class alike.

Afriquia is part of the Akwa group owned by Aziz Akhannouch, a Moroccan billionaire ranked by Forbes. Akhannouch also serves as agriculture minister, heads a political party, and is one of the kingdom’s most powerful politicians. Oulmes is headed by Miriem Bensalah Chekroun, the former president of Morocco’s confederation of enterprises, CGEM. “The goal of this boycott is to unite Moroccan people and speak with one voice against expensive prices, poverty, unemployment, injustice, corruption and despotism,” said one Facebook page that supports the boycott. This is a message and a methodology that could resonate across a swath of land stretching from the Atlantic coast of Africa to the Gulf.

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HOW QATAR’S JEWISH STRATEGY BACKFIRED

Seth J. Frantzman

Jerusalem Post, June 21, 2018

Six months ago, in January 2018, the world looked hopeful for Qatar. The small Gulf state had been blockaded by its neighbor Saudi Arabia, and Riyadh’s allies the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt broke relations. Qatar, which hosts a large US base, invested millions in a public relations effort in the US to counter its enemies. In the last days of January the US secretaries of state and defense sat with the Qatari leadership for a US-Qatar Strategic Dialogue confab. Doha seemed on the road to victory.

US President Donald Trump hosted Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in April. It seemed the PR effort was paying off. Qatar wanted Americans to see the emirate as an ally and a victim. It was fighting terrorism, it said, and it had changed its ways in terms of being a conduit for alleged terrorism finance to groups such as Hamas. In mid-January Alan Dershowitz, writing on The Hill website about his trip to Qatar, even wrote that it was becoming the “Israel of the Gulf states” and claimed that Qatari officials had told him Hamas leaders had left Doha. Dershowitz was one of a long list of pro-Israel Americans, including prominent Jews, who went to Qatar in the fall of 2017 and first months of 2018. Qatar carried out its outreach to US Jews through various channels, one of which was Nick Muzin, who had formerly worked with Sen. Ted Cruz and ran a firm called Stonington Strategies.

On June 6 Muzin wrote on Twitter that “Stonington Strategies is no longer representing the State of Qatar.” He said he had gone into the work to “foster peaceful dialogue in the Middle East” and to increase Qatar’s defense and economic ties to the US. Muzin’s break with the emirate coincided with the Zionist Organization of America condemning Qatar for its “giant step backward.” Mort Klein, head of ZOA, wrote on June 6 that he had traveled to Doha in January “to fight for Israel, America and the Jewish people.” But Qatar had “failed to do the right thing.”

A week later a man named Joseph Allaham filed paperwork with the US Department of Justice’s Foreign Agents Registration Act unit. He registered Lexington Strategies as working for the State of Qatar and noted that after doing initial work to promote the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, “the understanding was expanded to include relationship-building with the leadership in the Jewish community in the United States to better international relations.

Methods of performance included peaceful means of community engagement, charitable contributions and arranging meetings in the US and visits to Qatar.” Qatar had given a grant of $1.45 million, according to the document. In an email Allaham wrote that he is “proud of the work that Mort Klein has done and all the other Jewish leaders working in collaboration with the Emir and other members of the Qatari Royal Family.

Mr. Klein has made great strides for the American Jewish community and Israel. These accomplishments, some public and some will remain private- go far beyond what many other leaders of the Jewish community and state officials have achieved with Qatar.” The Allaham filing, disclosing his previous relationship, apparently marked the end of his work with Qatar. “I had planned for a while on announcing my resignation,” he wrote in a statement at MSNBC in the first week of June. He said it had nothing to do with “the Broidy case,” a lawsuit filed by Elliott Broidy against Qatar…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

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On Topic Links

4 Years On, Egypt’s President Urges Patience Over Reforms: National Post, June 30, 2018—Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi urged citizens on Saturday to further endure economic reforms and austerity measures, including a recent wave of steep price hikes on fuel, electricity and drinking water.

Egypt Tries To Reconcile ‘Coptic’ Churches To Non-Existence: Raymond Ibrahim, Middle East Forum, June 16, 2018—From attacks by Muslim mobs to closures by Muslim authorities, the lamentable plight of Coptic Christian churches in Egypt always follows a pattern, one that is unwaveringly only too typical.

Coal’s Coming Renaissance in the Middle East: Dmitriy Frolovskiy, Real Clear World, July 02, 2018—Egypt’s President Abdel Fatah el-Sissi faces little opposition as he begins his second term, but the former field marshal has an immediate challenge coming in just a few weeks’ time.

Many Egyptian Christians Feel Left Out of World Cup: Hamza Hendawi, National Post, June 22, 2018— Egypt’s first World Cup in 28 years has captivated the soccer-crazy nation, with intense focus on the squad and the broader game.

EGYPT FIGHTS ISLAMISTS & IRANIAN EXPANSION; ISRAEL BECOMING “KEY PLAYER” IN AFRICA

Gaza’s Agony is Egypt’s Calling: Amotz Asa-El, Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2018— “Man fears time, and time fears the pyramids,” goes an Arab saying that salutes the imposing structures’ longevity, and ridicules their tenants’ hope to avoid death.

Why Egypt Supports U.S. Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, May 22, 2018— President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal focused understandable attention on the parties which negotiated it.

The New Iranian Expansion into the Sahara: Amb. Dore Gold & Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira, JCPA, May 9, 2018— Iran’s regional ambitions in the Middle East from Syria and Lebanon to Yemen are well known.

Israel Tries to Expand Power in Africa: Raluca Besliu, Yale Global, Apr. 10, 2018— An Israeli campaign is underway in sub-Saharan Africa on winning over African nations, which, partly due to significant Muslim minority populations, have often constituted a bloc of opposition at the UN.

On Topic Links

Hamas Will Always Win the PR War, Even as Israel Wins the Military Victories: Barbara Kay, National Post, May 22, 2018

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018

Israel and United States Military Assistance to Egypt: Shimon Arad, INSS, Apr. 29, 2018

The Sinai Bedouins: An Enemy of Egypt’s Own Making: Hilal Khashan, Stratfor, Apr. 01, 2018

 

GAZA’S AGONY IS EGYPT’S CALLING

Amotz Asa-El

Jerusalem Post, May 20, 2018

“Man fears time, and time fears the pyramids,” goes an Arab saying that salutes the imposing structures’ longevity, and ridicules their tenants’ hope to avoid death. Curiously, the pharaohs who hoped to defy time were succeeded by Greeks who defied space. That is how Alexander the Great built Alexandria, making the previously insular Egyptians look north, to their Mediterranean shore and to the foreign world that sprawled beyond it. “Consider the world as your country, where the best will govern regardless of tribe,” Alexander told his lieutenants in 324 BCE, thus pioneering the first era of globalization, in which Alexandria would become the heartbeat of a tri-continental civilization.

Egypt would later repeatedly revert to its founders’ introversion, most fatefully in the 1580s, when one Ottoman faction scuttled a rival faction’s plan to link the Mediterranean and Red seas by digging a canal at Suez. The ones who would reopen Egypt to the outer world would be Christian foreigners – first Napoleon, who defeated a local army at the pyramids’ foothills, and then the European entrepreneurs who carved the Suez Canal. Now, an Egyptian leader has an opportunity to become the first locally bred Alexander, one who would redefine his country as the fulcrum of a brave new era. The man is Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, and his opportunity lies in Gaza.

Monday’s violence in Gaza left Israelis throwing up their arms in despair. Say what you will about how Israel treats its enemies, there is no arguing the Jewish state goes out of its way to protect its own citizens, often at great risks and exorbitant costs. Gaza has just displayed this attitude’s perfect inversion. The sight of youngsters being bussed for pay to their enemy’s border and then thrust toward its gun barrels by leaders who themselves hide in bunkers – made us feel Hamas’s moral bankruptcy has never been more complete and peace could not be more distant.

What have we not tried? First we invited Gazans to work in Israel. Then we built an industrial zone at Erez. Then we opened an airport at Dhaniya. And finally, we pulled out some 10,000 civilians and troops, only to see that coastal swath turn into a militarized powder keg. Last fall, we watched Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah land in Gaza, hoping his much-heralded visit would be followed by some civic delivery. A roadside bomb near his motorcade in March put an end to that, leaving Gaza to languish in its squalor, self-pity and despair.

Now, facing European and American critics, not to mention Turks who count Gazan bodies at the fence and cite their number as proof of our “crimes” – a logic by which Germany was the moral side in the Battle of Britain because the Luftwaffe lost many more pilots than the Brits – many of us feel alone in this war. Well we are not alone.

With us in this showdown are Arab leaders who realize Gaza’s mess is no longer about nationalism or freedom, but about fundamentalism and general troublemaking which can easily torch Arab cities elsewhere. That is why Egypt played such an effective role in quelling this week’s mayhem. Seen from President Sisi’s window, Hamas is an offshoot of, and inspiration for, the Muslim Brotherhood that is his nemesis. That – and no pro-Israeli sentiment – is what made Egyptian intelligence force Hamas’s retreat from the fence.

The Egyptians, then, bring both motivation and clout to the Gaza crisis that threatens them no less than it threatens us. What they lack is a plan, a vision that would offer Gaza’s young adults – 65% of them jobless – an alternative to fundamentalist escapism. So here’s a blueprint for an Egyptian plan: Build a Riviera of hotels and resorts to Gaza’s immediate west, along the sparsely settled northern Sinai’s pristine, 270 km-long coastline; sprinkle farms behind them, and factories beyond the farms; restore the defunct railway between Gaza and Port Said, and admit through it daily thousands of Gazans to work in the new factories, farms and resorts along the reactivated railway before climbing the train to commute back home.

On both sides of the Egyptian-Gazan border, north of Rafah, build a jointly run seaport, and use it to export Gaza’s redoubled produce and manufactures, much the way the ancient Egyptians did west of here, when their ships sailed past the majestic, 40-ft. tall Lighthouse of Alexandria. This development drive’s initial phase can be completed within several years, and immediately put to work all of Gaza. The consequent capital inflows will then fuel Gaza’s rehabilitation, beginning with a modern sewage system, new power stations, a chain of desalination plants and water purification stations, and then proceeding to roads, sidewalks, schools, housing projects and shopping centers.

For now, Egypt is merely treating the symptoms of Gaza’s political disease, passively watching its passions simmer and then helping put the lid back on it once its wrath boils over. Developing northern Sinai would reboot the Middle East, much the way Sisi is striving to reinvent Egypt by launching ambitious economic reforms, housing projects and family planning programs designed to defuse Egypt’s population explosion.

Northern Sinai’s development would not only salvage Gaza, and it would not only become a catalyst of Egyptian prosperity; it would restore Egypt’s status as a regional leader; it would place it in a position to broker new Palestinian-Israeli accommodation; it would make it an engine of global tolerance; and it would fashion Egypt as a pacifying alternative to meddlesome Turkey and warmongering Iran.

Cutting the Sinai-Gaza seaport’s red ribbon, and recalling Hamas’s fallen rule, Sisi will then quote Alexander, the man who married the daughter of his Persian enemy Darius, in the spirit of the great conqueror’s statement, “I do not distinguish among men as the narrow-minded do.” And then, looking west to northern Sinai’s unfolding Riviera and industrial plants; and east, to Gaza’s emerging office towers, recreational parks and seaside promenade, the Egyptian president will say: “Gazans, Egyptians, Arabs – consider the world as your country.”

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WHY EGYPT SUPPORTS U.S. WITHDRAWAL FROM IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL

Hany Ghoraba

IPT News, May 22, 2018

President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal focused understandable attention on the parties which negotiated it. But the move also carries implications for other regional states, including Egypt. In 2015, Egypt welcomed any initiative to stop a nuclear arms race in the region, but viewed the negotiations skeptically. “We would hope that the agreement reached between the parties would be comprehensive and fulfilling that would prevent an arms race in the Middle East and the complete elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear weapons,” said Egyptian foreign ministry spokesman Bader Abdul Atti. Three years later, former Egyptian Foreign Minister and incumbent Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit expressed the same skepticism, saying the agreements focus solely on the nuclear program; it “is not the only element that should be pursued with Iran because it implements policies in the region that lead to instability.”

While the deal limited Iran’s uranium enrichment for a limited time, Iran never stopped supporting terrorist groups targeting Egypt, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas and Hizballah. And the deal failed to address Iran’s expansionist ambitions in the region. Egypt has been in conflict with Iran’s Islamist regime since the 1979 revolution ousted Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and led to Ayatollah Khomeini’s ascent to power. Egypt provided refuge to the dethroned Shah a year after Egypt signed a peace treaty with Israel at Camp David in 1978. In response, Iran ended direct flights to Egypt in 1979, and broke off all diplomatic relations with Egypt in 1980. Egypt remains the only Arab country without an embassy in Tehran.

Iran provoked Egyptians years later by naming a main street in Tehran in honor of Khalid Islambouli, an Egyptian terrorist who assassinated President Anwar Sadat during a 1981 military parade. The street name remains, despite an Iranian promise aimed at improving relations, and new larger-than-life wall graffiti of the terrorist decorate buildings in Tehran. That form of animosity from Iran was met by Egypt’s full support to the Iraqi state war against Iran (1979-1988) in which Egypt sold Iraq large amounts of its surplus Soviet-made weapons. Despite being in a major feud with Iraq as a result of Iraq’s role in rallying the Arab states to boycott Egypt after the Camp David treaty, Egypt still chose to support Iraq against the Islamist regime, recognizing the greater long-term threat of Iran on Egypt and the entire region.

Iranian espionage operations in Egypt spiked with multiple Iranian cells uncovered trying to infiltrate Egyptian society and institutions. In one example, Iran used a former Muslim Brotherhood member to attempt to establish a radical Shiite Islamist political party in Egypt under the name Shiite Liberation Party to promote Iranian Islamic revolution policies. Hizballah, Iran’s terrorist proxy, planned terrorist attacks against Egyptian targets. Egyptian authorities arrested 49 Hizballah members in 2009 for planning three bombings in Taba, a city that borders Israel. The cell’s members managed to escape and flee the country after Hamas terrorists broke into the Wadi Al Natroun jail in January 2011 amid the 2011 uprising against Hosni Mubarak’s government. One, Sami Shehab, appeared later in Lebanon at a Hizballah celebration.

Iran frequently hosts and supports Muslim Brotherhood leaders including former spokesman Kamal Al Hilbawy and Swiss-based financier Youssef Nada. Nada claims that he is simply seeking peace initiatives between Arabs and Iranians, but in reality he worked to bolster Iran’s regional influence by routing intelligence from Muslim Brotherhood affiliates in Arab countries to Iranian operatives. During a 2016 meeting with Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Hilbawy described Ayatollah Khomeini as being his mentor as influential to Muslim Brotherhood members as their founder Hassan al-Banna and Brotherhood ideologue Sayyid Qutb. “We always say that we learned from Imam Khomeini as much as we learned from Imam Hassan al-Banna, Imam Maududi, Imam Sayyid Qutb … and we are still learning from our brothers who are alive here [in Iran],” Hilbawy said.

He reaffirmed Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian animosity towards the United States: “We saw with our own eyes how the Soviet Union collapsed thanks to God … and I pray to God Almighty we would witness the renaissance of Islam and unity of the Muslim Ummah, so we can see with our own eyes the overtaking of the remaining superpower (USA) as it falls and divides in front us day after day.” Iran, Hilbawy said, is the only country that the West fears and he hopes Iran becomes a model for the rest of the Arabic and Islamic world.

For nearly three decades, Iran has been a major financier for Hamas – the Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestinian terror wing, which has been an obstacle for a sustainable peace between Palestinians and Israelis. Hamas also has worked to destabilize Egyptian national security and the peace agreement with Israel. It compromised Egyptian national security by digging tunnels to smuggle personnel, weapons and commodities, which has led the Egyptian army to launch a major campaign to destroy thousands of these tunnels across the Egyptian/Gazan border in the past years.

Critics say the nuclear deal’s terms gave Iran a clear path toward developing a bomb once the deal ends. Egypt is well aware of this fact and the threat posed by Iran’s developing ballistic missiles capabilities. The Khorramshahr medium-range missile tested last September can travel 2,000 kilometers with a payload of 1,800 kilograms. Once operational, it can reach Tel-Aviv. If it can travel 700 kilometers further, it can reach Cairo. Egypt, therefore, is understandably concerned about sanction relief that helps Iran fund such offensive missile technology. Furthermore, Iran’s hegemonic ambitions include financing Yemen’s Shi’ite Houthi rebels who toppled their government in 2014 and controlled the Yemeni capital Sana’a. That move gave Iran control of the Bab-al Mandeb strait and thus threatens Egypt’s military and commercial interests in the Red Sea…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

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THE NEW IRANIAN EXPANSION INTO THE SAHARA                                        Amb. Dore Gold & Brig.-Gen. (ret.) Dr. Shimon Shapira                                                                                JCPA, May 9, 2018

 

Iran’s regional ambitions in the Middle East from Syria and Lebanon to Yemen are well known. What is new is that Tehran is widening the geographic scope of its expansionism into North Africa as well. In the last two weeks we have seen definitive proof that the Iranian regime seeks to intervene in the conflict over the Western Sahara by backing the Polisario forces fighting the army of Morocco, a long-term Western ally.

This is not just another obscure conflict thousands of miles away. Iran’s goal is to destabilize this area. It is working with Algeria, Morocco’s eastern neighbor, whose leadership has been at the forefront of radical Arab politics for decades.  The Polisario seek to break off the area of the Western Sahara from Morocco, creating an irredentist movement that will threaten the territorial integrity of the Moroccan Kingdom.

Iran used its embassy in Algeria to advance its aims, making it a conduit for the supply of weapons and financial aid. The Iranians utilized their traditional proxy, Hizbullah, for this operation. Hizbullah is a critical arm for Iran in the Middle East since their operatives speak Arabic, as opposed to Farsi (Persian), the language spoken in Iran. Morocco now has documentation of arms deliveries that were made by Hizbullah to the Polisario. These included SAM-9 and SAM-11 surface-to-air missiles, and not just the older-generation SAM-7 (Strela) missiles that have previously proliferated throughout the Middle East. These missiles could take down commercial aircraft.

One of the key figures at the nexus of the Iranian-Polisario relationship is Iran’s cultural attaché in its embassy in Algiers, Amir Mousavi. It is no wonder that upon learning what Iran was up to, Morocco cut off diplomatic relations with Tehran on May 1. Hizbullah has provided training to the Polisario since 2016. A Hizbullah delegation visited the Polisario headquarters in the Tindouf area in western Algeria. Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita disclosed that the first shipment of Iranian weaponry was sent to the Polisario in April 2018. Iranian civilian assistance in Africa has been going on for years. In 2009, Tehran took over an Israeli hospital in Mauritania to the south of Morocco.

The consequences of this escalation in the Sahara are well known to policymakers. Iran’s involvement in Iraq and Syria led to a wave of mostly Sunni Arab refugees in the eastern Mediterranean who poured into Europe. In recent years there also has been a growing wave of African migrants traveling via Libya to Italy. A new conflict over the Western Sahara could potentially create an additional center of instability leading to a further wave of refugees into Europe. Morocco sits across the Straits of Gibraltar, roughly 9 miles from Spain, and could present a new focal point for refugees in the aftermath of any destabilization. The suggestion appearing in the Arab press that the Iranians hope to recruit terrorists for destabilizing the Middle East and even threatening Europe should not be dismissed.

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ISRAEL TRIES TO EXPAND POWER IN AFRICA

Raluca Besliu

Yale Global, Apr. 10, 2018

An Israeli campaign is underway in sub-Saharan Africa on winning over African nations, which, partly due to significant Muslim minority populations, have often constituted a bloc of opposition at the UN. In June 2017, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was the first non-African leader to participate in a Summit of the Economic Community of West African States, or ECOWAS. The following November, he attended Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta’s swearing-in ceremony in Nairobi, joining leaders from other African countries and holding several bilateral meetings. In 2016, Netanyahu had already become the first Israeli prime minister in three decades to travel to Africa, visiting Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Ethiopia. According to Atlantic Council expert J. Peter Pham, such encounters “represent a remarkable testament to how much of a priority the Israeli government has made of Africa.” In April of this year, Netanyahu announced a deal with the UN refugee agency to resettle African asylum seekers, keeping 16,000 in Israel and sending 16,000 to Western countries. The next day, under political pressure in Israel, he suspended the deal, outraging Israeli human rights activists. While the suspension holds for now, the prime minister emphasized that it would be reexamined.

With growing investments in East and West African countries, Israel is becoming a key player on the continent. Israel’s expansion in Africa, like that of China, India and Turkey, is facilitated by relative pullback by the United States and France. The involvement focuses on geostrategic and security interests, particularly forming allies to support Israel in international bodies and fight against jihadist movements to gaining new trade partners and access to markets. So far, the strategy is working as African countries embrace this role.

Historically, Afro-Israeli relations have fluctuated. In the 1960s, Israel provided assistance to newly independent African states in varied fields, ranging from agriculture and medicine to defense and infrastructure construction. More than 30 Israeli diplomatic missions operated in Africa until the 1973 Yom Kippur War between Israel and the Arab coalition led by Egypt and Syria. In the war’s wake, the Organization of African Unity instructed its members to cease diplomatic ties with Israel. All except Malawi, Lesotho and Swaziland did so. Israeli-African collaboration continued in some fields, including agriculture and development. Israel, fearing opposition forces in states such as Chad, Togo and the former Zaire, also ensured military support to mainly authoritarian regimes. Most African countries resumed diplomatic relations with Israel in the 1990s. Israel currently has ties with 40 out of the 48 sub-Saharan African countries, yet only 10, including Kenya and Senegal, have embassies. Israel is now pushing to regain observer status in the African Union, after losing this role when the Organization of African Union was replaced by the AU.

Securing Israel’s diplomatic interests represents the main official reason behind Netanyahu’s visits and renewed African focus. Before attending the ECOWAS, he told Israeli media that he aimed to “dissolve … this giant bloc of 54 African countries that is the basis of the automatic majority against Israel in the UN and international bodies.”

Israel’s diplomatic rapprochement may be reaping fruits. In 2015, Israel resisted an International Atomic Energy Agency resolution demanding it open its undeclared nuclear facilities to UN inspectors, partly because several African states abstained or voted against it.  Even on issues as tense as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, some progress can be seen. In December, the UN General Assembly overwhelmingly rejected a resolution recognizing Jerusalem’s status as Israel’s capital, and Pham suggests it was a small victory for Israel that only 27 of the 44 members of the Africa Group who are not also members of the Arab League voted in favor. For years, African states had mostly supported Palestinian self-determination, not surprising given that sub-Saharan Africa is home to a considerable Muslim population…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Hamas Will Always Win the PR War, Even as Israel Wins the Military Victories: Barbara Kay, National Post, May 22, 2018

—In his May 16 column, Terry Glavin takes Israel to task for the deaths and injuries of Gazan Palestinians sustained in the border clashes he concedes that Hamas orchestrated.

90 Years In, The Muslim Brotherhood Faces An Uncharted Future: Hany Ghoraba, IPT News, Apr. 19, 2018—The Muslim Brotherhood has managed to weather many storms during nine decades in Egypt. Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser, Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak all tried to contain and suppress the Islamist movement, which ultimately seeks a global Muslim Caliphate.

Israel and United States Military Assistance to Egypt: Shimon Arad, INSS, Apr. 29, 2018—In January 2018, with little fanfare, the United States and Egypt signed a bilateral communications security agreement known as the Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA), which protects and regulates the use of sensitive American avionics and communications systems.

The Sinai Bedouins: An Enemy of Egypt’s Own Making: Hilal Khashan, Stratfor, Apr. 01, 2018—Violence in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula has been steadily growing over the past seven years, despite repeated military campaigns to quell it. Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi announced a massive air, sea and land operation on Feb. 9 to drive the Islamic State from the region. Not six months earlier, he ordered the army to eradicate the jihadist group following an attack on a packed mosque in north Sinai. Yet each campaign overlooked a critical factor behind the region’s unrest: the government’s failure to understand and accommodate the Sinai Peninsula’s Bedouins.

 

 

 

PASSOVER MARKS THE BIRTH OF A FREE JEWISH PEOPLE; IN EGYPT, SISI SET TO WIN SECOND TERM AS PRESIDENT

Passover 5778: A Script of Living Drama: Baruch Cohen, CIJR, Mar. 29, 2018— A passage in the Mishna says, Every person in every generation must look upon himself/herself as if he/she came out of Egypt.

Plato’s Haggadah in the ‘Dialogues’: Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo, Times of Israel, Mar. 22, 2018— How that Jews all over the world will once again assemble around the seder table and read the Haggadah — the story of the exodus from Egypt — it may be worthwhile to put some thought into the art of reading.

Egypt’s Election: All Votes Will Go to Al-Sisi: Ashraf Ramelah, Arutz Sheva, Mar. 27, 2018 — Egypt is holding its presidential election now through March 28. President Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi is running for re-election after four years of his first term.

Egypt’s President Sisi Is Irreplaceable: Caroline Glick, Breitbart, Mar. 27, 2018 — Noting that most significant presidential contenders were either arrested, or were intimidated out of running, many media organizations have argued that Egypt’s elections this week are a farce.

On Topic Links

Passover Message from Prime Minister Netanyahu (Video): Youtube, Mar. 21, 2018

Passover Guide for the Perplexed, 2018 (a US angle): Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, Mar. 26, 2018

Eight Questions for Passover: Deborah Fineblum, JNS, Mar. 26, 2018

Importing Israeli Natural Gas Makes Sense for Egypt: Robin Mills, Bloomberg, Mar. 19, 2018

 

 

PASSOVER 5778: A SCRIPT OF LIVING DRAMA

Baruch Cohen

CIJR, Mar. 29, 2018

A passage in thMishna says, every person in every generation must look upon himself/herself as if he/she came out of Egypt. The key idea that underlies the feast of Passover is great and profoundly human: the idea of freedom, of humanness. Passover shows that the human spirit’s struggle for freedom is the basis of the democratic vision of human dignity.

For us, the Jewish people, Passover marks our birth as a free people: our Sages teach us that liberty must be fought for, and renewed, in every generation. Passover, the liberation from Egyptian slavery, affirms the great truth that liberty is an undeniable right of every human being. By celebrating Passover we are learning about our Jewish past, and thus ensuring our human future.

Hag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

 

(Baruch Cohen, now 98, has been CIJR’s Research Chairman for thirty years; his moving memoir, No One Bears Witness for the Witness, just published, is available from CIJR at cijr@isranet.org)

 

Contents

PLATO’S HAGGADAH IN THE ‘DIALOGUES’

Rabbi Dr. Nathan Lopes Cardozo

Times of Israel, Mar. 22, 2018

 

Now that Jews all over the world will once again assemble around the seder table and read the Haggadah — the story of the exodus from Egypt — it may be worthwhile to put some thought into the art of reading. In The Phaedrus (275a-278a) and in his Seventh Letter (344c), Plato questioned — and in fact attacked — the written word as being completely inadequate. This may explain why philosophers have scarcely written about the art of writing, although they extensively engaged in that very craft!

It is well known that Plato used to write in the form of dialogues, and it is clear to anyone reading these conversations that his main purpose in doing so was to hide the characteristics of the texts. He worked for years on polishing this literary form. Cicero maintains that Plato actually died at his writing table at the age of 81. “Plato uno et octogesimo anno scribens est mortuus.” (Cicero, “On Old Age,” Section 5.)

What bothered Plato was that he believed the written word would fall prey to evil or incompetent readers who would do anything they want with the text, leaving the writer unable to defend or explain himself or herself. He feared the text would take on a life of its own, independent of its author, as is indeed characteristic of the written word. Even more interesting is his observation that a written text actually becomes a “pharmakon” — a drug that can either heal or kill, depending on how it is applied. It may even be used as a prompt, but will ultimately lead to memory loss since it will make the brain idle. Years later, Immanuel Kant wrote along similar lines, saying that the “script” wreaked havoc on the “body of memory.” (Immanuel Kant, Anthropologie in Pragmatischer Hinsicht, Suhrkamp, STW 193, Frankfurt am Main, pp. 489-490.

However, according to Plato, this means far more than just losing information, or being deprived of the skill of memorizing. For him, real knowledge was a atter of “intrinsic understanding,” demanding a person’s total presence within what he reads or says. Only that with which I totally identify and which has become united with my Self can be called knowledge and is in-scribed in my whole personality. That which I have simply read or learned superficially is not really knowledge.

Unwittingly, Plato touched on a most fundamental aspect of the Jewish tradition. We Jews are called “the people of the book.” But we are not; we are the people of the ear. The Torah is not to be read, but is rather to be heard. It was not written in the conventional sense. It was the Divine word spoken at Sinai, which had to be heard and which afterwards, out of pure necessity, became frozen in a text, but with the sole intention of being immediately “defrosted” through the art of hearing. This, then, became the great foundation of the Jewish oral tradition.

Reading entails using one’s eyes and, as such, the act remains external. The words are not carved into the very soul of the reader. Rabbi Yaakov Leiner, son of the famous Ishbitzer Rebbe, Rabbi Mordechai Yosef Leiner, and one of the keenest minds in the Hasidic tradition, speaks about seeing. He makes the valuable observation that sight discloses the external aspect of things while hearing reveals the internal. (Rabbi Yaacov Leiner, Beis Yaakov, “Rosh Chodesh Av.”) One must hear a text, not read it. This is the reason why the body of Torah consists of minimum words and maximum oral interpretation.

Still, does not the open-endedness of the Torah present the opportunity for anyone to read his or her own thoughts into the text and violate its very spirit? The Jewish tradition responded to this challenge with great profundity. It created an ongoing oral tradition in which unwritten rules of interpretation were handed down, thereby securing the inner meaning of the text, while at the same time allowing the student to use all of his or her creative imagination. Even after the Oral Torah was written down in the form of the Talmud, it remained unwritten, as any Talmud student can testify. No other text is so succinct and “understaffed” in written words, while simultaneously given to such vast interpretation. The fact that the art of reading the Talmud can only be learned through a teacher–student relationship, and not merely through the written word, proves our point. Only when the student hears his or her master’s oral interpretation of the text is the student able to read it, because the teacher will not only give explanations, but will also convey the inner vibrations that were once heard at the revelation on Mount Sinai. This is the deeper knowledge that teachers themselves received from their masters, taking them all the way back to the supreme moment at Sinai. In that way, the students can free themselves from a mechanical approach to the text. Each person will hear new voices in the old text, without deviating from its inner meaning. This will provide the courage to think on one’s own and rid any personal prejudices. The text, then, is not read but heard.

Jewish law states that even if one is alone on the Seder night, one must pronounce the text of the Haggadah and not just read it. One must hear oneself, explain the text in a verbal way, and be in continuous dialogue with oneself, so as to understand and feel what happened thousands of years ago. Plato alluded to this matter without fully realizing why his own teachings never came close to receiving the treatment they perhaps deserved. They are read too much and heard too little.

This may be the difference between the Divine word and the human word. The Divine is a dimension where words have no spiritual space. Human words are too grounded in the text. The Divine word goes beyond these textual limitations and can find its way only through the act of listening, because it is through this particular one of our senses that we are able to hear the “perpetual murmur from the waves beyond the shore.” (Abraham Joshua Heschel, Man Is Not Alone: A Philosophy of Religion (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1976) p. 8.) When we read the text on the seder night, we should be aware that it only provides the opening words. The real Haggadah has no text. It is not to be read, but is rather to be heard. And, just as with the Torah, we have not even begun to understand its full meaning. We are simply perpetual beginners. Moadim le-simcha.

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EGYPT’S ELECTION: ALL VOTES WILL GO TO AL-SISI

Ashraf Ramelah

Arutz Sheva, Mar. 27, 2018

 

Egypt is holding its presidential election now through March 28. President Abdul Fatah Al-Sisi is running for re-election after four years of his first term. There is one opposing candidate from the Tomorrow Party who has vowed to cast his vote for the president and encourages all Egyptians to do the same. The ballots will be counted by the Election Commission as usual with the political parties in observance. The president is an independent candidate of the military without a political party. However, the military will be absent from the process because constitutionally it cannot be a part of civilian elections.

With the outcome already determined, Egyptians view the election as a comedy performance mainly because it is too painful to take seriously. Any real opposition candidates to the president have been orchestrated out of the process by the Al-Sisi government in the past months…State-sponsored media rave about the popularity of Al-Sisi and show pictures of Egyptians endorsing him with his campaign slogan of “build it.” But certain facts belie such reports. For instance, the media is pressuring the electorate to go out and vote by stressing it as the sacred duty of every citizen. Guilt infliction would not be necessary if a highly popular, reformist incumbent were running.

Christian clergy and Muslim Imams are threatening the populace with the fate of hell for those who do not go to the voting polls while the courts threaten non-voters with monetary fines. State employees are told by their managers that they will receive punishments for misconduct if they are absent from the performance of their electoral duty.

Meanwhile, Orthodox churches in the Egyptian diaspora around the world are arranging buses to haul church-goers to offices of the Egyptian Consulate to cast their vote for Al-Sisi. This follows the directive of Pope Tawadros II, an advocate of the president, when last week he announced plainly that, “It is the obligation and duty of every person to vote.” Low turn-out at the polls would bring embarrassment to the president and must be avoided at all cost.

Complacency is being combated by the state, church and mosque, but the anger boiling underneath the surface of the ersatz conformity is an even bigger threat to Al-Sisi and can’t be dealt with as easily by the regime whose appearance must remain “democratic.” Calling the election a farce, the Civil Democratic Movement has risen up to boycott it. Analysts are citing it as the object of the president’s anger and the reason for the regime’s pressure upon voters across the country.

Anger in general toward Al-Sisi’s failed record is what led the regime in the first place to eliminate risk by clearing the ballot of opposition. The other candidates presumably represented forces so insidious to the country and the welfare of the citizenry that Al-Sisi waited until they threatened his position as president to deal with their lurking presence. Moreover, his failure to float ideas to fix the country’s infrastructure problems, inflation and poverty has been accompanied by a rise in police state tactics such as “aurora” visits to contrarians and jail for speaking freely and critically. Considering this in the light of the president’s promises of democratic reforms and talk of human rights, Egyptians are left with cognitive dissonance.

Orthodox Copts have solved this problem by accepting Al-Sisi as a ruler who “means well” in light of terror atrocities, brute police force, rigged courts and rubble in place of churches. Political relativism helps this along. Are the Copts correct in agreeing with Al-Sisi that any other option rising in the political arena would be much too risky and threatening to Egypt’s long history of military rule? Military rule is all Egyptians know. Another military man as president would be pointless and, if less endearing, might prove disruptive to the stability of a people who need to manage daily life under massive corruption and civil decay.

                                                                       

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EGYPT’S PRESIDENT SISI IS IRREPLACEABLE

Caroline Glick

Breitbart, Mar. 27, 2018

 

Noting that most significant presidential contenders were either arrested, or were intimidated out of running, many media organizations have argued that Egypt’s elections this week are a farce. Although there accounts disputing those claims, it is true that government bodies placed obstacles to running before several candidates. So it is hard to argue that this week’s election is an open one.

But there is a deeper issue at stake in Egypt than popular elections. That issue is whether Egypt – a country with 90 million citizens – will become a threat to itself and to the world, or whether Egypt will somehow beat the odds, and survive by liberalizing. Sisi is betting on survival through liberalization. If he fails, no amount of open and free and unfettered elections will save Egypt from destruction.

Seven years ago, the same bipartisan elite in Washington that is attacking this week’s elections united in support for overthrowing a longtime U.S. ally, then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, because he wasn’t democratic enough to satisfy that elite’s members on both sides of the partisan divide. Mubarak was an unapologetic authoritarian who ruled Egypt for 29 years. But he was also the anchor of America’s alliance structure in the Sunni Arab world.

When photogenic protesters in Cairo’s Tahrir Square staged what the credulous Western media reported as the Facebook Revolution, the elites gushed with excitement. Mubarak’s long service as a U.S. ally made no difference in Washington. Neoliberals in the Obama administration joined together with neoconservatives from the George W. Bush administration to support his overthrow.  The fact that the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood engineered the protests and was the only faction in Egypt with the power to replace Mubarak didn’t bother the wise men and women of Washington.

Blinded by their complementary neoconservative and neoliberal world views, they believed, as then-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told Congress, that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “largely secular” organization. They believed this, despite the fact that nearly every Sunni Islamic terror group in the world is Muslim Brotherhood spin-off. They believed this despite the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood’s motto, since its founding in the 1920s, was “Allah is our goal; the Prophet is our leader; the Koran is our law; Jihad is our way; Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.” Abandoned by the U.S., Mubarak was forced to resign after 18 days of protest. He and his sons were then carted off to prison.

Within a year of Mubarak’s overthrow, Egypt held its first open parliamentary elections between late 2011 until early 2012. The Muslim Brotherhood bloc won 45 percent of the vote. The Salafist party won 25 percent. So when Egyptians were given the freedom to choose their representatives, 70 percent of them voted for Islamic totalitarians who support global jihad and the institution of an Islamic caliphate to rule the world.

In the presidential elections that followed, the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, Mohamed Morsi from the Freedom and Justice Party, won nearly 52 percent of the vote. Much to the amazement of Washington’s wise men and women, after assuming power, Morsi and his parliamentary supporters did not govern as liberals or moderates. The representatives of Islamic totalitarian parties and movement governed as Islamic totalitarians.

Morsi pushed a constitution through the parliament that would have transformed Egypt into an Islamic theocracy. He turned a blind eye to the massive escalation in violence against Coptic Christians and church properties. He assumed dictatorial powers that, among other things, placed his presidency and all of his actions as president above judicial review.

So, far from delivering Egypt into a new era of political freedom, Egypt’s popularly elected president and popularly elected parliament used their power to trample all vestiges of liberalism and democratic order, including the separation of powers and freedom of religion in Egypt. So much for democracy.

The people of Egypt rose up against Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood by the millions. Sisi, then defense minister, rose to power as the leader of a military coup that overthrew Morsi and his Islamist regime in July 2013. The Egypt that greeted Sisi was a country on the brink of mass starvation. Foreign currency reserves were almost wiped out.

Today, as the Saudis bankroll his government, Sisi has introduced market reforms into Egypt’s economy. He has committed to transforming the education system into one that provides students with marketable skills, rather than one that focuses on rote learning. He has taken on Egypt’s Islamic religious authorities and called for a reformation of Islam while waging war against the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic terror groups, from Hamas to ISIS.

None of Sisi’s battles are easily won. The Islamic clerics are testing his will and power relative to theirs, while slowing down the reform process he instigated in 2015. There is no silver bullet to solve the Egyptian economy’s fundamental failings. And the Islamists, who won 70 percent of the popular vote in 2012, will not simply disappear because they are being repressed. In the Sinai, they continue to fight a brutal and bloody war against Sisi’s regime.

Then there are the Coptic Christians. The Copts comprise around ten percent of Egypt’s population. They suffered government-sponsored persecution under the Morsi regime. And as a consequence, they were among the most outspoken supporters of the military coup tht brought Sisi to power. Unfortunately, despite the Copts high hopes that the Sisi presidency would protect their rights as Christians and as Egyptian citizens, Sisi has been unable to end the popular persecution of Copts by their Muslim neighbors. Over the past year, despite Sisi’s willingness to stand with the Copts, persecution of the community at local levels has increased. And many Copts are questioning Sisi’s willingness and ability to take the necessary steps to protect them.On the other hand, if Sisi stays the course, and continues to enjoy the support of the Saudis, the US, Israel, Europe, and others, he may survive long enough to make significant changes in Egyptian society.

Unlike President Barack Obama, who supported Morsi even as millions of Egyptians took to the streets throughout Egypt to overthrow him, President Donald Trump has been outspoken in his support for Sisi. If it is to happen, Sisi’s success in rescuing and transforming Egypt won’t be pretty. Coaxing and pushing Egypt into the 21st century culturally, educationally, and economically cannot be done without pushing the scales in favor of certain forces and against others. But the world has a stake in Sisi’s success. If Sisi succeeds, the Islamic world will never be the same. And the world will be safer.

If Sisi fails, then barring an unforeseen miracle, Egypt, with its 90 million people, will fall apart. Tens of millions will starve to death. The Arab world’s most powerful military force will fall into uncertain hands. The Islamists will have no shortage of scapegoats to blame. The implications of such a catastrophe for the region and the world are unimaginable. Sisi’s many critics snort that his one opponent, Moussa Mostafa Moussa, is actually a Sisi supporter. But maybe the critics should stop sticking their noses up at democratically-challenged Sisi and ask Moussa why he supports Sisi. Maybe he supports him because he believes that Sisi is Egypt’s last chance for survival.

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters:

Hag Pesach Sameach! Happy Passover!

 

Contents

On Topic Links

Passover Message from Prime Minister Netanyahu (Video): Youtube, Mar. 21, 2018

Passover Guide for the Perplexed, 2018 (a US angle): Yoram Ettinger, Ettinger Report, Mar. 26, 2018—1. According to the late Prof. Yehudah Elitzur, one of Israel’s pioneers of Biblical research, the Exodus took place in the second half of the 15th century BCE, during the reign of Egypt’s Amenhotep II.

Eight Questions for Passover: Deborah Fineblum, JNS, Mar. 26, 2018 —Why is this year going to be different from all other years? Because this year, you can stump your guests with the meaning behind many of the mysterious rites that comprise the Passover Seder.

Importing Israeli Natural Gas Makes Sense for Egypt: Robin Mills, Bloomberg, Mar. 19, 2018—The discovery of Egypt’s giant Zohr gas field in August 2015 was heralded as the solution to the country’s energy problems. So why did Egypt cut a deal this year to import natural gas from Israel, its former enemy?

I.S. THREAT GROWS IN SINAI, PAKISTAN, AFRICA—AND PERSISTS IN IRAQ—DESPITE DEFEAT OF CALIPHATE

The ISIS Threat: Nadav Shragai, Israel Hayom, Jan. 5, 2018— Will the Islamic State forces in Sinai take part in the next clash between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip?

Analysis: Is ISIS Done For?: Yochanan Visser, Arutz Sheva, Dec. 17, 2017— The United States and Iraq celebrated the defeat of the Islamic State on the Sunday after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the Jihadist organization had been driven out of the country.

ISIS in Sinai: Battered, Weakened But Still Dangerous: Zvi Mazel, Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2018— Jihadi organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which morphed into “the Sinai Province of the Islamic State”…

ISIS Takes Hold in Pakistan: Kaswar Klasra, Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2017— Concern over the extent of the presence and power of ISIS in Pakistan resurfaced on December 17, when a suicide-bombing at a church in Quetta left at least nine worshipers dead and more than 50 seriously wounded.

 

On Topic Links

 

Syria's Post-ISIS Future (Audio): Hillel Frisch, Middle East Forum, Jan. 3, 2018

Returning ISIS Jihadists Pose Long, Uncharted Challenge: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Oct. 16, 2017

Are Jihadi Motives Really a Mystery?: Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media, Jan. 5, 2018

The Jihadist Threat Won't End With ISIS' Defeat: Barbara F. Walter, Foreign Affairs, Dec. 22, 2017

 

 

 

THE ISIS THREAT

Nadav Shragai

Israel Hayom, Jan. 5, 2018

 

Will the Islamic State forces in Sinai take part in the next clash between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip?

Officials in the intelligence community who are monitoring the group's growing strength and movements on the Sinai Peninsula tend to think so, and Israel is preparing accordingly. The IDF has even notified communities in the Eshkol Regional Council that it is considering lengthening the anti-tunnel barrier that has been dug along the Gaza border to areas on Israel's border with Egypt to counter Islamic State in Sinai.

 

The Institute for National Security Studies has been busy studying the jihadi group for years. This week, the institute presented President Reuven Rivlin with its annual security assessment. Among other issues, the report discusses the potential for a major terrorist event in Islamic State-controlled Sinai. "If there is another war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas and other organizations there, we can assume that the parts of Sinai controlled by the Islamic State will also take part in it,"Lt. Col. (res.) Yoram Schweitzer, who heads the Program on Terrorism and Low Intensity Conflict at the INSS and is an expert in the field, says In an interview with Israel Hayom.

 

As someone who has spent years studying the globalization of suicide terrorist attacks, and who formerly served as head of the IDF's international counterterrorism department, Schweitzer shares the belief that ISIS in Sinai will not remain idle if another clash erupts in the south. He can point out family ties and mutual interests that Hamas in Gaza and the ISIS leadership in Sinai share. "Although ISIS sees Hamas as heretics, and there are deep ideological divides between the two groups, the relations between Hamas in Gaza and the Islamic State in Sinai include mutual interests, a history of cooperating on weapons smuggling and some Hamas members who crossed the border and joined ISIS in Sinai.

 

"The two groups mix. There are some Hamas members who were disappointed with the group and crossed over to operate as part of [ISIS] in Sinai, and there are clans in Gaza and Sinai who have some members who are active in Hamas in Gaza and others who are active within the framework of ISIS in Sinai," Schweitzer says. The analyst goes on to discuss the "complicated organizational ties between Hamas and ISIS in Sinai, which have had ups and downs." "Even when the Egyptians are putting heavy pressure on Hamas, the group does not turn over members of ISIS-Sinai who have sought shelter in Gaza," he adds. According to Schweitzer, this means that "Hamas is still leaving itself room to cooperate with ISIS in Sinai. A supply and weapons smuggling pipeline to Gaza, with assistance from ISIS-Sinai, is turning out to be an interest stronger than the fear of threats from Egypt, which is demanding that Hamas turn in Islamic State operatives who are hiding in Gaza."

 

Islamic State in Sinai has proved its military capabilities and professionalism over the past few years, in particular in recent months. The possibility of ISIS in Sinai taking part in the next round of Gaza fighting demands that we review what the organization has managed to perpetrate against Egyptian and Israeli targets these past few years. The worst terrorist attack ISIS in Sinai has carried out against an Egyptian target took place at the Sufi al-Rawdah Mosque in northern Sinai at the end of this past November. A total of 311 worshippers were killed, including dozens of children. The unusual target was apparently chosen because the Sawarka Bedouin clan and the mosque's imam were cast as vigorous opponents of the Islamic State and as collaborators with the Egyptian government's war on ISIS.

 

The al-Rawdah bombing was the worst terrorist attack in the history of modern Egypt, and it came after ISIS terrorists managed to slip a bomb onto a Russian tourist plane in Sharm a-Sheikh in October of 2015. The plane blew up in mid-air, and all passengers and crew – 224 people in all – were killed. Every year for the past three years, more than 400 Egyptian civilians and members of Egypt's security forces meet their deaths in jihadi terrorist attacks, mainly executed by Islamic State. The attacks are not limited to Sinai; they are creeping into Egypt proper. Often, they target the country's Coptic Christians and tourist destinations in Egypt and Sinai, like the shooting attack at St. Catherine's monastery last April.

 

According to foreign reports, as well as reports from the Islamic State delegation in Sinai, Israel is helping Egypt fight ISIS terrorism, contributing intelligence and airstrikes. This is prompting ISIS in Sinai to attack Israeli targets as well, although the jihadis in Sinai had Israel in their crosshairs long before Israel was involved in any way in Egypt's efforts to eradicate the jihadis from the Sinai Peninsula.

 

As early as October 2004, three explosives-rigged cars blew up at the main Israeli tourist destinations in Sinai – the Taba Hilton and the Ras al-Shitan beach, killing 34 people, 12 of whom were Israelis. In the summer of 2011, Salafi jihadis managed to infiltrate Israel from Sinai and attack two Egged buses and a number of cars near Eilat, close to the Egyptian border. Six Israeli civilians, an IDF soldier, and a member of the Israel Police special forces were killed in these attacks. A year later, the Sinai terrorists almost managed to perpetrate a disastrous attack when they used an explosives-rigged APC and truck to breach the Israeli border near Kerem Shalom. The truck hit an old British "pillbox" guard post at the border crossing and blew up, while the APC continued moving forward into Israeli territory until an IDF attack helicopter destroyed it with a missile.

 

Between 2011-2012, the natural gas pipeline running from Al-Arish in Sinai to Israel and Jordan was sabotaged 15 times. The Sinai-based terrorists have also fired rockets, although relatively few, at Israel over the years. Between 2010 and 2015, 22 Grad rockets were fired at Eilat and the communities in the Eshkol region. Three years ago, ISIS in Sinai claimed responsibility for one of the rocket attacks for the first time, after firing three rockets toward the Eshkol Regional Council. In 2017, another six rockets were fired, four at Eilat and two at the Eshkol region. The concern now is that in the next clash with Hamas, ISIS in Sinai will launch rocket attacks against Israeli communities, this time more numerous…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

 

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ANALYSIS: IS ISIS DONE FOR?

Yochanan Visser

Arutz Sheva, Dec. 17, 2017    

 

The United States and Iraq celebrated the defeat of the Islamic State on the Sunday after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced the Jihadist organization had been driven out of the country. "Today, our troops were able to purge islands of Nineveh and Anbar in full, and they (the forces) are now fully controlling the Iraqi-Syrian borders,” al-Abadi said…“These victories are not only for the Iraqis alone, though the Iraqis were themselves who achieved such victories with their sacrifices. But the victories are for all Arabs, Muslims and the world alike,” the Iraqi leader added.

 

“Honorable Iraqis, your land has been completely liberated, the flag of Iraq is flying high today over all Iraqi territory and at the farthest point on the border,” according to al-Abadi who declared Sunday a national holiday. The U.S. State Department followed suit with spokeswoman Heather Nauert issuing a statement congratulating the Iraqi people and “the brave Iraqi Security Forces, many of whom lost their lives heroically fighting ISIS." Nauert cautioned, however, that the victory in Iraq doesn’t mean the war against terrorism and even Islamic State in Iraq is over.

 

A day after she issued her warning ISIS suicide bombers tried to attack the Iraqi city of Rashad but the assault was foiled by the Hashd al-Shaabi umbrella organization of predominantly Shiite militias which killed 10 Islamic State terrorists. It didn’t prevent al-Abadi from organizing a military parade in Baghdad with soldiers of the Iraqi army marching through the center of the city while helicopters and warplanes were flying overhead.

 

The announcement about the final victory over ISIS in Iraq came two days after the Russian army declared victory over the barbaric group in Syria. Both statements seem to be premature, however, and an Iraqi MP even accused al-Abadi of electoral propaganda by declaring victory over Islamic State at this point. Hushyar Abdullah, a member of the Iraqi security and defense committee, wrote on his Facebook account that ISIS is still able of creating new battle fronts in Iraq. “Domestic and foreign reasons that led to the emergence of ISIS still persist in Iraq and the region,” he added according to The Baghdad Post. Abdullah said the political failures in Iraq are “at their worst level,” but didn’t elaborate.

 

Experts agree with Abdullah and warn a repeat of al-Qaeda’s resurrection in Iraq, which led to the founding of the Islamic State group, could happen because “the earth on which IS flourished” has not dried out. “The jihadists have been deprived of oxygen and defeated militarily but the womb from which they emerged remains fertile.” Karim Bitar a French Middle East expert warned. He meant economic and social problems as well as marginalizing minorities and widespread corruption in the central government in Iraq. Another huge problem is that in Iraq a whole generation has grown up knowing only cruel war and being brainwashed by Islamist ideology.

 

To understand why it is premature to celebrate victory over the Islamic State group one should take a look at the broader picture of the war against ISIS. Take, for example, what is happening in Egypt and Libya, as well as countries in Asia, Africa and the Western nations. In Egypt Islamic State is on the rise despite a four-year-old campaign by the Egyptian military and continues to expand its destabilizing activities in the country of 90 million. Wilayat Sinai, the local ISIS branch, which began its activities under the name Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, has roughly 1200 fighters in the Sinai Peninsula, 80 percent of them foreigners according to the Woodrow Wilson Center.

 

The Jihadist group carried out the deadliest terrorist attack in Egypt’s history at the end of November and has expanded its terrorist operations to the densely populated Nile Delta and to the desert in western Egypt all the way up to the porous Libyan border. Via that border, ISIS terrorists who fled from Syria and Iraq are now regrouping in Libya – that thought it also had routed the Jihadist group after the fall of its local capital Sirte.

 

Then there is Gaza where ISIS-affiliated Salafist terror groups are more and more challenging Hamas rule over the enclave in southern Israel and who are reportedly behind the renewed rocket attacks on Israeli cities and communities in the vicinity of Gaza. Islamic State also has a presence on the Golan Heights where it operates under the name Khalid ibn al-Walid Army. Channel 2 in Israel reported in October on several senior ISIS commanders who fled from Iraq and Syria and were recruiting local youth who were receiving military training in camps a few kilometers from the Israeli border.

 

Farther away in Africa Islamic State’s ideology is leading to the formation of new terror groups which joined their brothers of Boko Haram in Nigeria, an Islamist group that swore allegiance to ISIS in 2015. In Niger and Somalia ISIS’ affiliates have already staged deadly terrorist attacks which aim to destabilize the countries to the point the regime collapses. In the middle of October the ISIS and Al-Qaeda affiliated group al-Shahaab killed at least 276 people when a truck bomb flattened the center of Mogadishu in Somalia.

 

Pakistan and Afghanistan in Asia have also proven to be fertile ground for Islamic State’s radical Islamist ideology and have witnessed a number of devastating terror attacks committed by local ISIS affiliates. Further east in the Philippines ISIS founded a new branch which operates under the name Al-Shabaab and committed a massacre in the predominantly Muslim city of Marawi, leaving more than 200 people dead this summer.

 

Then there is Europe where returning ISIS terrorists are increasingly staging so-called lone wolf attacks on Westerners and are forming local terror cells which, like in Spain, are able to wreak havoc. Some 1,200 Islamic State terrorists have returned to European countries and Andrew Parker, the director of the MI5 British intelligence service, warns that the threat they pose is evolving rapidly. “That threat is multi-dimensional, evolving rapidly, and operating at a scale and pace we’ve not seen before,” according to Parker. The United Kingdom tops the list of countries which are harboring ISIS terrorists, with 425 individuals who fought in Syria and Iraq.

 

The threat Islamic State poses to the world now tops the list of worries among the public. A Pew Research Center report from August 2017 showed that 61 percent of people interviewed in countries across the globe said Islamic State remains the greatest threat worldwide.

                                                           

                                                                       

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ISIS IN SINAI: BATTERED, WEAKENED BUT STILL DANGEROUS

Zvi Mazel

Jerusalem Post, Jan. 15, 2018

 

Jihadi organization Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis, which morphed into “the Sinai Province of the Islamic State” when it pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, self-proclaimed caliph of ISIS, is slowly losing steam. Torn apart by internal strife and new enemies it is less and less active. Terrorist attacks plummeted from 594 in 2015, to fewer than half that in 2016 and 2017, according to a recent report of Al-Ahram Weekly. This is due to several factors, first and foremost, the Egyptian Army which is doing much better since it killed the organization’s leader Abu Anas el Ansari in May 2016.

 

ISIS appointed in his stead Abu Hajer al-Hashemi, who is not Egyptian and is rumored to be a former Iraqi Army officer. More non-Egyptians were appointed to the leadership of the group or swelled the terrorists’ rank and file. Among them were deserters from the Izzadin Kassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, who fled the Gaza Strip because they were dissatisfied with what they perceived as the lack of resolve of Hamas against Israel and against the Palestinian Authority.

 

The growing influence of these “foreigners” led to significant changes. Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis no longer took into consideration the tribal intricacies of northern Sinai and did not hesitate to target local civilians and Beduin, even those who in the past had demonstrated sympathy toward the jihadists. The new policy was following the basic tenet of Islamic State: Apply maximum savagery to terrify to reach its goal: setting up an Islamic regime based on the Shari’a and ruled by a caliph.

 

The November 24 massacre at Al-Rawdah Mosque, linked to the Sufi school of Islam, was a stark demonstration of that new policy. More than 300 civilians were killed in the attack carried out during the Friday morning prayers. The large Tarrabin tribe, which in the past had helped the jihadists, supplying them with information and affording them sanctuary, then turned hostile and greatly hampered their movements. According to reports, armed tribesmen had started unspecified operations against the jihadists last summer. Meanwhile, there were bitter conflicts between the “Egyptians” and the newcomers among the terrorists.

 

The tribe’s hostility combined with the growing pressure from the army led to the desertion of many militants. Some went back to Gaza, others departed for Libya. Those who did not want to leave the Sinai Peninsula joined another terrorist group, The Army of Islam, which protects them from the vengeance of Daesh. It is a small organization affiliated with al-Qaida that appeared in 2011 and lately carried out two attacks, against the army and against Daesh. Worse, there were incidents between the two sides inside Daesh. Some weeks ago, 20 bodies were found in a desert area south of El-Arish, apparently the result of an armed confrontation between their followers…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                           

           

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ISIS TAKES HOLD IN PAKISTAN

Kaswar Klasra

Gatestone Institute, Dec. 28, 2017

 

Concern over the extent of the presence and power of ISIS in Pakistan resurfaced on December 17, when a suicide-bombing at a church in Quetta left at least nine worshipers dead and more than 50 seriously wounded. Had Pakistani security forces not responded swiftly to the attack on the Bethel Memorial Methodist Church — where 400 men, women and children were attending Sunday services – the assailants "would have managed to reach the main hall of the building, and the death toll would have been much higher," Sarfraz Bugti, the provincial home minister of the Baluchistan province, where Quetta is located, told Gatestone Institute.

 

Responsibility for the attack — in which two terrorists, clad in explosive vests and armed with AK-47 rifles — was later claimed by ISIS, which has an impressive record of honesty in taking credit for attacks, in a statement published by the Amaq News Agency. This was the sixth ISIS attack in Pakistan in the past year and a half. The first took place on August 8, 2016, when a suicide bomber killed at least 70 people and wounded more than 100 in an attack on a crowd of lawyers and journalists gathered in a government hospital in Quetta — in the province that borders Afghanistan and Iran — to mourn a lawyer who had been murdered earlier in the day. The attack was claimed by a joint ISIS-Taliban faction.

 

On October 24, 2016, ISIS claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on a police training college in Quetta. The assault, committed by three heavily armed terrorists against sleeping cadets, left more than 60 dead and more than 165 others wounded. On February 16, 2017, an ISIS-affiliated suicide bomber blew himself up at a Sufi shrine in Pakistan's Sindh province, killing more than 90 worshipers and wounding more than 300. On April 18, 2017, the Pakistani army foiled a planned Easter suicide bombing against Christians in Lahore. Given the amount of explosives recovered from the perpetrators, had the attack succeeded, there would have been mass casualties.

 

On May 12, 2017, an ISIS suicide bombing on the convoy of the deputy chairman of the Pakistani Senate, traveling on the National Highway in the Mastung District of Baluchistan, left at least 28 people dead and 40 wounded. On August 12, 2017, an ISIS suicide bombing on a convoy of the Pakistani military in Quetta left 15 people dead – among them eight soldiers – and 40 others wounded.

 

All of the above attacks could have been anticipated. In February 2016, the director general of the Pakistani Intelligence Bureau warned the government that ISIS was emerging as a threat, with Pakistani terrorists providing a foothold for the group, whose Pakistani branch is called Walayat-e-Khurasan. Operatives in neighboring Afghanistan have also been playing a major role in the terrorist network. ISIS enlists "partners of convenience" in Afghanistan and "outsources" terror attacks to Pakistani organizations — such as Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and Jamaat-ul-Ahrar — a recent UN Security Council counter-terrorism report revealed. In addition — according to Punjabi Law Minister Rana Sanaullah — as many as 100 Pakistanis left the country in 2015 to join ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

 

Both revelations are interesting in light of the fact — told to reporters in Islamabad by Pakistani Ambassador to Iraq Ali Yasin Muhammad Karim after the liberation of Mosul in July 2017 — that Pakistan secretly supported Iraq in the fight against the terrorist group. "Pakistan's security forces have the capability and expertise to deal with terrorist groups," Mohammad Ali, an Islamabad-based security expert, told Gatestone Institute. "I hope they take the threat from ISIS seriously."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

On Topic Links

 

Syria's Post-ISIS Future (Audio): Hillel Frisch, Middle East Forum, Jan. 3, 2018—With the demise of the Islamic State, Syrian President Basher Assad defeated the foremost threat to his regime thanks to Russian and Iranian support. But with substantial parts of Syria held by Kurdish forces, key strategic areas dominated by Turkey, and remnants of jihadist forces still active, the regime has yet to regain full control over his rebellious subjects.

Returning ISIS Jihadists Pose Long, Uncharted Challenge: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Oct. 16, 2017—For months now, Western counterterrorism experts have sounded the alarm: as ISIS loses ground, foreign fighters from America and Europe may try returning home. When they do, the experts cautioned, they will carry the terror threat with them, ready and willing to strike. Law enforcement needs to be prepared.

Are Jihadi Motives Really a Mystery?: Raymond Ibrahim, PJ Media, Jan. 5, 2018—The so-called mainstream media's approach to and apologias for Islamic terrorism have become as predictable as they are farcical.

The Jihadist Threat Won't End With ISIS' Defeat: Barbara F. Walter, Foreign Affairs, Dec. 22, 2017—Since October, the Islamic State (or ISIS) has appeared to be on the verge of defeat. Yet even if ISIS were never to reemerge, the United States is no more secure against the jihadist threat than it was in the past.

                                                              

 

 

EGYPT, SOMALIA, & LIBYA FACE ONGOING ISLAMIST TERRORIST THREATS

Land of Terror: ISIS Alive and Kicking in Sinai: Ron Ben-Yishai, Ynet, Oct. 17, 2017 — The Islamic State implemented a double strategic move in the Sinai area on Sunday night.

The Terror Group as Brutal as ISIS: Megan Palin, New York Post, Oct. 17, 2017— A young girl accused of adultery is forced into a hole in the ground and buried up to her neck in front of about 1,000 spectators who have come to the football stadium to watch her death.

Is Al-Azhar University a Global Security Threat?: Cynthia Farahat, American Thinker, Aug. 23, 2017 — Al-Azhar University, the world’s largest Sunni Islamic educational institution, is where many of the world’s most brutal terrorists received their formal religious training.

Benghazi at the Bar: Jenna Lifhits, Weekly Standard, Oct. 16, 2017 — "I want them to hate him," a federal prosecutor said quietly on the evening of October 2 as his colleagues packed up.

 

On Topic Links

 

Netanyahu-Sisi Meeting Highlights Warming Ties Between Israel and Arab World: Adam Abrams, JNS, Sept. 2017

A North Korean Ship Was Seized off Egypt with a Huge Cache of Weapons Destined for a Surprising Buyer: Joby Warrick, Washington Post, Oct. 1, 2017

Census Intensifies Concern in Cairo Over Soaring Population: Ben Lynfield, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 1, 2017

"Our Lives Have Turned into Hell" Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2017: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 15, 2017

LAND OF TERROR: ISIS ALIVE AND KICKING IN SINAI

Ron Ben-Yishai

Ynet, Oct. 17, 2017

 

The Islamic State implemented a double strategic move in the Sinai area on Sunday night. First it fired rockets into Israel’s populated area in the Gaza vicinity, and several hours later it launched a major attack on the Egyptian army in the Sheikh Zuweid area near El-Arish.

 

These two operations, which the organization claimed responsibility for, had two purposes: One, to demonstrate that despite being beaten in its strongholds in Syria and Iraq and being driven away from them, ISIS is still alive and kicking; and two, to disrupt Hamas’ reconciliation agreement with Fatah and its tightening relations with Egypt. Both the reconciliation agreement between the two Palestinian organizations, and mainly the cooperation agreement with Egypt, contradict ISIS’s interests. The rocket fire into Israel, in the Gaza vicinity, is therefore aimed at raising the tensions and perhaps leading to an escalation and an active military conflict between the Gazan terror organization and Israel.

 

Another purpose of the ISIS operation is to attract activists who are fleeing Syria and Iraq and looking for a new area of activity on behalf of ISIS and its Salafi ideology. ISIS has been forced to painfully give up a key part of its religious ideology, which separates the organization from al-Qaeda and other Salafi groups—the caliphate idea. It has lost the territory it took over in Syria and Iraq, which it declared the area under “caliphate” sovereignty and under the control of the “caliph,” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. In Iraq, the area was conquered by government forces with heavy backing from the Americans, the Kurds and Shiite militias sent by Iran. In Syria, the area was mainly conquered by a Kurdish Arab militia which receives American aid and backing.

 

The caliphate idea was one of the things that allowed ISIS to gain a lot of capital as a result of enslaving the local population, selling oil from the wells it took over, demanding ransom for hostages and imposing taxes on the population. All this is now slipping from its fingers and threatening to disappear. ISIS is losing one stronghold after another in the area defined as a caliphate, and these places are also being occupied by the Syrian army with Russian and Iranian backing. The IDF’s Intelligence Directorate estimated a long time ago that in such a situation, ISIS would seek two alternative channels. This first channel is mass attacks in Western Europe, North America and Africa, which are carried out not only by ISIS people who have returned from or fled Syria and Iraq, but also by locals inspired by ISIS’s social media activity. These “inspiration attacks,” as they are called in the West, allow ISIS to keep gaining prestige and supporters despite the blows it is suffering in the Middle East.

 

The second channel is decentralizing ISIS’s activity outside Syria and Iraq. The attempt to turn Libya into an ISIS center failed, and the organization members are now mainly left with Sinai and Boko Haram’s area of activity in Africa. The Sinai Peninsula, despite being a limited area in which the Egyptian government is constantly fighting the Islamist organization, is still an attractive place where ISIS occasionally scores achievements. The organization also threatens the Suez Canal and the ships that cross it and is capable of expanding its activity from there into Egypt.

 

A number of Bedouin tribe leaders in Sinai, mainly in the south and center of the peninsula, recently protested ISIS’s activity following promises they received from the Egyptian government and because ISIS is disentangling the traditional-family-tribal fabric that has characterized the Bedouin tribes in Sinai until now. The tribe leaders managed to restrict ISIS’s activity in southern and central Sinai, but the organization is still active in northern Sinai and is executing suicide bombings and successful attacks on the Egyptian army and police. These attacks are not only murderous but also sophisticated, and because they are carried out in several places simultaneously, they almost always claim a heavy price from the Egyptian security forces.

 

Egypt is operating its air force and armored forces in Sinai unlimitedly, while Israel is turning a blind eye to the massive amounts of forces and weapons Egypt is bringing into Sinai in contradiction of the security appendix of the peace agreement between the two countries. Recently, Egypt also succeed in reaching an agreement with Hamas, disconnecting ISIS from its ideological logistic backing and from the route it used to have for evacuating injured activists into the Gaza Strip.

 

Under its new leader in the strip, Yahya Sinwar, Hamas prefers to ease the Gazans’ distress and reach an agreement with Egypt and a reconciliation agreement with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas rather than continue the alliance and the aid provided to the organization. That is the reason he has stepped up the security measures in the Philadelphi Route and is preventing ISIS people from moving in and out of the strip. He is also arresting activists of ISIS-affiliated Salafi organizations within the strip quite intensively. As a result, ISIS feels the need to act against the enemies of its Sinai branch—Egypt, which is fighting the organization with certain yet insufficient success, and Hamas, which is currently cooperating with Egypt in a bid to ease the lives of the strip’s residents.

 

Sunday night’s operation did bring ISIS the return it had hoped for, at least in the short run. The Rafah Crossing, which had been closed for four months, was not opened Monday morning, and the strip’s residents were unable to leave for Egypt or return to Gaza. The second achievement is the rocket fire against Israel, which boosts ISIS’s prestige in the Muslim world and strengthens its image as an organization that fights not only Muslims but also Jews and the other heretics…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

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THE TERROR GROUP AS BRUTAL AS ISIS

                                                  Megan Palin

New York Post, Oct. 17, 2017

 

A young girl accused of adultery is forced into a hole in the ground and buried up to her neck in front of about 1,000 spectators who have come to the football stadium to watch her death. Aisha Ibrahim Duhulow, 13, pleads with her captors to “don’t kill me” before a truckload of stones is rolled in and about 50 fighters from the al-Shabaab militia start to hurl them toward her. She’s being punished for reporting that three men had raped her in the southern port city of Kismayo in Somalia.

 

After about 10 minutes of Duholow being violently struck by stones, two nurses are instructed to dig her up and check if she’s still alive. She is. Barely. So they put her back into the hole and the men continue to pelt her with stones until she is dead. “This child suffered a horrendous death at the behest of the armed opposition groups,” Amnesty International’s Somalia campaigner David Copeman said at the time.

 

It was Oct. 27, 2008, and the terror group responsible for the killing was relatively new, but since then it has grown bigger and deadlier. Al-Shabaab — a terror group lesser known than ISIS but just as brutal — imposes its own version of Islamic law, which includes dress regulations and public mutilations, and has an estimated 7,000 to 9,000 fighters. The name translates to “The Youth” in Arabic. It’s been responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in a string of guerrilla-style terror attacks, making it Africa’s deadliest Islamic extremist group.

 

The group is suspected to be responsible for the deadly truck bombing that killed at least 276 people and injured 300 on a crowded Mogadishu street on Saturday. The blast occurred in Hodan, a bustling commercial district which has many shops, hotels and businesses, in the city’s northwest. Several experts said the truck was probably carrying at least 1,100 pounds of explosives. A second car bomb exploded two hours later, injuring two people. Somalia’s government blamed the al Qaeda-linked al-Shabaab extremist group for what it called a “national disaster.”

 

However, al-Shabaab, which often targets high-profile areas of the capital, has yet to comment. The group has a history of not claiming attacks where the scale provokes massive public outrage. Al-Shabaab carries out regular suicide bombings in Mogadishu in its bid to overthrow Somalia’s internationally backed government. It has already killed more than 4,281 people, according to data from the Armed Conflict Location and Event Dataset. It has also been known to cut off the hands of alleged thieves and regularly stones to death those accused of adultery.

 

Somalia has been battling al-Shabaab insurgents since 2007 with the help of 22,000 troops from the African Union and a US counter-terrorism campaign.  The militants emerged out of a bitter insurgency fighting Ethiopia, whose troops entered Somalia in a US-backed invasion in 2006 to topple the Islamic Courts Union that was then controlling Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab militants were pushed out of Mogadishu and other major towns across Somalia by African Union and Somali troops in 2011. But the al-Shabaab militants maintained control of rural areas and have continued to launch attacks on military, government and civilian targets in Somalia, as well as terrorist raids in neighboring Kenya and Ethiopia.

 

The Garissa University massacre in Kenya, which took place near the border with Somalia, was the bloodiest attack in the region prior to the truck bombing last weekend. A total of 148 people died in 2015 when gunmen stormed the university at dawn and targeted Christian students. It followed an attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping center in 2013, in which at least 68 people were killed. In Westgate and other attacks, the militants spared Muslims, while killing those unable to recite verses from the Koran. According to the Nairobi-based Sahan think tank, at least 723 people were killed and over 1,000 injured in bomb attacks during 2016 in Somalia.

 

Prior to last weekend, there hadn’t been a major terrorist attack in the country since Somalia’s presidential election in February. But the latest explosion has shattered hopes of recovery in an impoverished country left fragile by decades of conflict and again raised doubts over the government’s ability to secure the seaside city of more than 2 million people. The recent attacks in Somalia came after the new government threatened to renew efforts to tackle radical Islamic terror in the region and the US military stepped up its focus on the extremist group.

 

In a mysterious move, Somalia’s defense minister Abdirashid Abdullahi Mohamed and army chief Gen. Ahmed Jimale Gedi both resigned last week, without explanation. The Aamin Ambulance group, an independent organization based in Mogadishu, said the attack was a grim new milestone in the war. “In our 10-year experience as the first responder in #Mogadishu, we haven’t seen anything like this,” it tweeted. Earlier this year, the country teetered on the brink of famine, in large part because of the effect of fighting on agriculture and the distribution of humanitarian aid.

 

 

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IS AL-AZHAR UNIVERSITY A GLOBAL SECURITY THREAT?                                                             

Cynthia Farahat

American Thinker, Aug. 23, 2017

 

Al-Azhar University, the world’s largest Sunni Islamic educational institution, is where many of the world’s most brutal terrorists received their formal religious training. This is to be expected, given the nature of the material taught there. Al-Azhar has thousands of affiliated mosques, schools, learning centers, and universities around the world, such as the Islamic American University in Michigan. The institution has also been unofficially controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.

 

According to the most recent data released by the Egyptian government, there were 297,000 students studying at al-Azhar University in 2013 and 2014. In 2015, there were 39,000 foreign students studying at al-Azhar. These students are taught the theological legitimacy of cannibalizing infidels, gruesome ways to torture non-Muslims to death, and the importance of raping and humiliating non-Muslim women.  This explains why numerous Egyptian public figures and intellectuals have called for a terrorism investigation of al-Azhar University. For example, Egyptian historian, Sayyid Al-Qemany, called upon the Egyptian government to designate al-Azhar University as terrorist organization.

 

In 2015, El-Youm el-Sabi, an Egyptian newspaper, published an investigative report about the curriculum at al-Azhar University. According to the report, one of the books called, al-Iqn’a fi Hal Alfaz ibn Abi Shoga’a (Convincing arguments according to Abi Shoga’a), taught to al-Azhar’s high school students states, “Any Muslim, can kill an apostate and eat him, as well kill infidel warriors even if they are young or female and they can also be eaten, because they are not granted any protection.”  On the treatment of non-Muslims, the report quotes the same book as saying, “to preserve one’s self from the evil of an infidel, any Muslim can gouge their eyes out, or mutilate their hands and legs, or sever one arm and one leg.” Even Muslims aren’t safe from al-Azhar’s teachings. According to the same the report, another book states, “Any Muslim is allowed to kill a fornicator, a warrior, or a [Muslim] who misses prayer, even without permission of the [ruling] Imam.”

 

This is expected given the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood dominates the organization. Not only does the Muslim Brotherhood use the university to recruit hundreds of thousands of students to adopt ISIS-style beliefs, the Brotherhood used the organization to train young people for combat. For example, In 2006, a video leaked from inside al-Azhar showed 50 masked young members of the Brotherhood in black uniforms, performing a military exercises in front of the head of al-Azhar University, resulting in a government investigation and arrests in what later became known as, “the case of al-Azhar militia.”

 

Thus, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that many of the world’s most brutal Islamists either worked for al-Azhar, or graduated it from it. For example, Boko Haram leader, Abubakar Shekau, is a graduate from al-Azhar. Also, the first leader of al-Qaeda Abdulla Azzam (1941 –1989), studied at al-Azhar. The spiritual mentor for Osama Bin Laden (1957 –2011), and a leader of the international arm of al-Qaeda, Omar Abdel Rahman (1938 – 2017), known as “the Blind Sheikh,” was a scholar at al-Azhar.  The Nazi Mufti of Jerusalem, Amin el-Husseini (1897-1974), studied at al-Azhar University. As well as, Abu Osama al-Masri the mastermind of the Russian plane crash over Sinai in 2015

 

Not only is al-Azhar involved in the spreading of the violent Sunni Wahhabi sect, the government funded institution uses Egyptian blasphemy law to imprison critics of its radical teachings, halting any hope for Islamic reformation. For example, the President of al-Azhar University recently declare that Muslim scholar Islam el-Behery, who was previously imprisoned in Egypt for blasphemy, “an apostate of Islam.” According to the al-Azhar’s Sunni theology, apostasy is punishable by death. Al-Azhar is also responsible for the apostasy Fatwa that resulted in the murder of Egyptian secular figure Farag Fouda (1945-1992). After uproar in Egypt against the University for essentially placing a hit on Mr. Behery by calling him an apostate of Islam, it’s president was forced to resign, but the militant teachings remain untouched…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

 

Contents

BENGHAZI AT THE BAR

Jenna Lifhits

Weekly Standard, Oct. 16, 2017

 

"I want them to hate him," a federal prosecutor said quietly on the evening of October 2 as his colleagues packed up. It had been a long first day in the trial of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the man charged with instigating the tragic 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. Khatallah, a middle-aged man with a long gray and yellow beard, sat quietly for over five hours in one of the wood-paneled courtrooms of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse—barely fidgeting, not looking at the benches to his left, which were filled with government officials, reporters, and spectators all looking at him.

 

His six-week trial is going to revive the controversy over Benghazi. The violent attacks that occurred at the U.S. mission and a nearby CIA annex on the night of September 11, 2012, left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. They also triggered hyperbolic remarks and partisan rancor. The contradictory statements and foggy accounts of the night’s events from Obama administration officials led to intense efforts by Congress to pin down exactly what happened. Lawmakers held hearings and produced lengthy reports. But many questions were left unanswered. Monday marked the first day of a trial that should set the story straight.

 

Khatallah is facing 18 counts, including murder and providing material support for terrorists. He has pleaded not guilty on all charges. He wore a blank expression as a top federal prosecutor laid out what to expect in the weeks ahead. Jurors, he promised, would hear from a man named “Ali” who, at the behest of the U.S. government and in exchange for $7 million, grew close to Khatallah in Libya and lured him to his capture in 2014. “I would have killed all the Americans that night,” Khatallah allegedly told Ali of the Benghazi attacks, “if others had not gotten involved and stopped me.”

 

They’ll hear emotional retellings from people at the U.S. mission and CIA annex the night of the attacks, as well as testimony from arson and weapons experts. All of it, assistant U.S. attorney John Crabb argued, will prove one thing: that Abu Khatallah is responsible for the deaths of four Americans. “Those four Americans were killed because the defendant hates America with a vengeance,” he told jurors. “He didn’t light the fires, and he didn’t fire the mortars,” but Khatallah planned the attacks, incited the fighters, and ensured that no one interfered with the assault or helped the besieged Americans, Crabb said. “He got others to do his dirty work.”

 

About a week before the attacks, Khatallah and a few of his associates stocked up on weapons at a militia camp, Crabb reported. Aided by an elaborate model of the compound and annex as well as video footage, Crabb then walked the jury through the events of the night. He referred to the participants in the attacks as Khatallah’s “associates.” Crabb barely touched on Khatallah’s terror affiliations or those of the other attackers. He mentioned Ubaydah bin Jarrah (UBJ), a militia led by Khatallah, which sought to establish sharia in Libya, and he referenced Ansar al Sharia (AAS), which merged with UBJ around 2011. "I want them to hate him," a federal prosecutor said quietly on the evening of October 2 as his colleagues packed up. It had been a long first day in the trial of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the man charged with instigating the tragic 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

 

Khatallah, a middle-aged man with a long gray and yellow beard, sat quietly for over five hours in one of the wood-paneled courtrooms of the E. Barrett Prettyman Federal Courthouse—barely fidgeting, not looking at the benches to his left, which were filled with government officials, reporters, and spectators all looking at him. His six-week trial is going to revive the controversy over Benghazi. The violent attacks that occurred at the U.S. mission and a nearby CIA annex on the night of September 11, 2012, left four Americans dead, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. They also triggered hyperbolic remarks and partisan rancor. The contradictory statements and foggy accounts of the night’s events from Obama administration officials led to intense efforts by Congress to pin down exactly what happened. Lawmakers held hearings and produced lengthy reports. But many questions were left unanswered. Monday marked the first day of a trial that should set the story straight…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Netanyahu-Sisi Meeting Highlights Warming Ties Between Israel and Arab World: Adam Abrams, JNS, Sept. 2017—At a time of warming relations between Israel and Arab states, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held his first public meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York.

A North Korean Ship Was Seized off Egypt with a Huge Cache of Weapons Destined for a Surprising Buyer: Joby Warrick, Washington Post, Oct. 1, 2017—Last August, a secret message was passed from Washington to Cairo warning about a mysterious vessel steaming toward the Suez Canal. The bulk freighter named Jie Shun was flying Cambodian colors but had sailed from North Korea, the warning said, with a North Korean crew and an unknown cargo shrouded by heavy tarps.

Census Intensifies Concern in Cairo Over Soaring Population: Ben Lynfield, Jerusalem Post, Oct. 1, 2017—Egypt is grappling with a challenge its president, Abdul-Fattah al-Sisi, has implied is as dangerous to the country’s future as terrorism: runaway population growth. The publication Saturday of results of a national census has heightened concern that the growth – about two million newborns a year – is smothering prospects for sustained economic recovery and could further swell the ranks of young people unable to find work, generating social unrest.

"Our Lives Have Turned into Hell" Muslim Persecution of Christians, May 2017: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, Oct. 15, 2017—One month after Islamic militants bombed two Egyptian churches during Palm Sunday and killed nearly 50 people in April 2017, several SUVs, on May 26, stopped two buses transporting dozens of Christians to the ancient Coptic Monastery of St. Samuel the Confessor in the desert south of Cairo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBERING THE SIX-DAY WAR (II): ISRAEL’S DECISIVE VICTORY ESTABLISHED PERMANENCE OF JEWISH STATE

The Burden of the 1967 Victory: Prof. Efraim Inbar, BESA, Apr. 5, 2017 — In June 1967, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) waged war alone against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

What If: Fifty Years After the Six-Day War: Daniel Pipes, Washington Times, June 5, 2017— Israel's military triumph over three enemy states in June 1967 is the most outstandingly successful war of all recorded history.

1967:  The International Media and the Six-Day War: Meron Medzini, Fathom, 2017— In the early 1960s, Israel had a permanent press core of 50 foreign correspondents and a number of bureaus were maintained by foreign outlets, such as the Washington Post, New York Times and Newsweek.

This Time, the Loser Writes History: Gabriel Glickman, Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2017— It is a general law that every war is fought twice—first on the battlefield, then in the historiographical arena—and so it has been with the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war (or the Six-Day War as it is commonly known).

 

On Topic Links

 

Six Days in June (Video): Youtube, May 24, 2017

‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display: William J. Broad & David E. Sanger, New York Times, June 3, 2017

The Lessons and Consequences of the Six-Day War: David Harris, Algemeiner, June 2, 2017

Honoring the Man Behind the War: Noa Amouyal, Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2017

 

 

THE BURDEN OF THE 1967 VICTORY

Prof. Efraim Inbar

BESA, Apr. 5, 2017

 

In June 1967, the Israel Defense Force (IDF) waged war alone against Egypt, Jordan, and Syria. It achieved a stunning victory in six days. The military skill demonstrated by the Israelis was remarkable – so much so that battles from the Six-Day War continue to be studied at war colleges around the world. Israel’s military achievement had another extremely important effect. It went a long way towards convincing the Arab world that Israel cannot be easily destroyed by military force; Israel is a fact the Arabs must learn to live with. Indeed, ten years later – after Egypt had lost another war to Israel, this one in 1973 – its president, Anwar Sadat, came to Jerusalem (November 1977) to offer peace.

 

The swift and decisive victory of 1967 became the standard to which the IDF aspired – and the kind of victory expected by Israeli society in future engagements. This is problematic, considering the ways Israel’s opponents have changed and the means they now deploy. The unrealistic anticipation that victories on the scale of 1967 should be the end result of any military engagement hampers clear thinking and impedes the adoption of appropriate strategy and tactics. Moreover, it encourages what is often an impossible hope for a quick end to conflict. In the absence of a clear-cut and speedy outcome, Israelis lose confidence in the political as well as the military leadership.

 

Israelis, many of whom have limited military experience, still long for decisive victories in the Gaza and South Lebanon arenas. The wars in which the IDF has participated so far in the twenty-first century, which appeared to end inconclusively, left many Israelis with a sense of unease. They miss the victory photographs of the 1967 war. Slogans of the Israeli right, such as “Let the IDF Win”, reflect this frustration. Similarly, the left claims that Judea and Samaria can be safely ceded to a Palestinian state because these territories can be reconquered, as they were in 1967, if they become a base for hostile actors. The calls for the destruction of Hamas also bear witness to a lack of understanding of the limits of military power.

 

But grand-scale conventional war, in which the IDF faces large armored formations and hundreds of air fighters as it did in 1967, is less likely today. The 1982 Lebanon War was the last to display such encounters. Since 1982, Israel has scarcely fought any state in a conventional war. To a significant extent, the statist dimension in the Arab-Israeli conflict has itself disappeared. Egypt and Jordan are at peace with Israel. Syria and Iraq are torn by domestic conflict and are hardly in a position to challenge Israel militarily. Many other Arab countries, such as the Gulf and Maghreb states, have reached a de facto peace with Israel, an orientation buttressed by the common Iranian threat.

 

For the past three decades, Israel has been challenged primarily by sub-state actors, such as Hamas (a Sunni militia) and Hezbollah (a Shiite militia). Such organizations have a different strategic calculus from that of states. Because of their religious-ideological zeal, they are more difficult to deter than states, and their learning curve is much slower. It took Egypt three military defeats (1948, 1956, and 1973) and a war of attrition (1968-70) within a span of 25 years to give up the goal of destroying Israel. In contrast, Hezbollah has been fighting Israel for a longer period and remains as devoted as ever to its goal of the elimination of the Jewish state. The heavy price inflicted upon Gaza since 2007 by the Israeli military has not changed the strategic calculus of the Hamas leadership, which still aspires to Israel’s demise.

 

Hamas and Hezbollah do not possess arsenals of tanks and air fighters, which would be easy targets for Israel. The decentralized structure of their military organizations does not present points of gravity that can be eliminated by swift and decisive action. Moreover, their use of civilian populations to shield missile launchers and military units – a war crime – makes IDF advances cumbersome and difficult due to slower troop movement in urban areas and the need to reduce collateral damage among civilians. Urbanization among Israel’s neighbors has greatly reduced the empty areas that could have been used for maneuvering and outflanking. The use of the subterranean by Israel’s foes, be it in Gaza or South Lebanon, is another new element that slows advances.

 

It is naïve to believe the IDF can or should win quickly and decisively every time it has to flex its muscles. Yitzhak Rabin warned several times during his long career against the expectation of a “once and for all” victory. The defeat of Israel’s new opponents requires a different strategy: attrition. Israel is engaged in a long war of attrition against religiously motivated enemies who believe both God and history are on their side. All the IDF can do is occasionally weaken their ability to harm Israel and create temporary deterrence. In Israeli parlance, this is called “mowing the grass” – an apt metaphor, as the problem always grows back. The patient, repetitive use of force is not glamorous, but it will eventually do the trick. Unfortunately, many Israelis do not understand the particular circumstances of the great 1967 victory. They have lost patience and do not realize that time is, in fact, on Israel’s side.  

 

Contents                

WHAT IF: FIFTY YEARS AFTER THE SIX-DAY WAR

Daniel Pipes

Washington Times, June 5, 2017

 

Israel's military triumph over three enemy states in June 1967 is the most outstandingly successful war of all recorded history. The Six-Day War was also deeply consequential for the Middle East, establishing the permanence of the Jewish state, dealing a death-blow to pan-Arab nationalism, and (ironically) worsening Israel's place in the world because of its occupation of the West Bank and Jerusalem. Focusing on this last point: how did a spectacular battlefield victory translate into problems that still torment Israel today? Because it stuck Israelis in an unwanted role they cannot escape.

 

First, Israeli leftists and foreign do-gooders wrongly blame Israel's government for not making sufficient efforts to leave the West Bank, as though greater efforts could have found a true peace partner. In this, critics ignore rejectionism, the attitude of refusing to accept anything Zionist that has dominated Palestinian politics for the past century. Its founding figure, Amin al-Husseini, collaborated with Hitler and even had a key role in formulating the Final Solution; recent manifestations include the "anti-normalization" and the boycott, divestment, and sanction (BDS) movements. Rejectionism renders Israeli concessions useless, even counterproductive, because Palestinians respond to them with more hostility and violence.

 

Second, Israel faces a conundrum of geography and demography in the West Bank. While its strategists want to control the highlands, its nationalists want to build towns, and its religious want to possess Jewish holy sites, Israel's continued ultimate rule over a West Bank population of 1.7 million mostly hostile Arabic-speaking, Muslim Palestinians takes an immense toll both domestically and internationally. Various schemes to keep the land and defang an enemy people – by integrating them, buying them off, dividing them, pushing them out, or finding another ruler for them – have all come to naught.

 

Third, the Israelis in 1967 took three unilateral steps in Jerusalem that created future time bombs: vastly expanding the city's borders, annexing it, and offering Israeli citizenship to the city's new Arab residents. In combination, these led to a long-term demographic and housing competition that Palestinians are winning, jeopardizing the Jewish nature of the Jews' historic capital. Worse, 300,000 Arabs could at any time choose to take Israeli citizenship. These problems raise the question: Had Israeli leaders in 1967 foreseen the current problems, what might they have done differently in the West Bank and Jerusalem? They could have:

 

Made the battle against rejectionism their highest priority through unremitting censorship of every aspect of life in the West Bank and Jerusalem, severe punishments for incitement, and an intense effort to imbue a more positive attitude toward Israel; Invited back in the Jordanian authorities, rulers of the West Bank since 1949, to run that area's (but not Jerusalem's) internal affairs, leaving the Israel Defense Forces with only the burden to protect borders and Jewish populations; Extended the borders of Jerusalem only to the Old City and to uninhabited areas; Thought through the full ramifications of building Jewish towns on the West Bank.

 

And today, what can Israelis do? The Jerusalem issue is relatively easy, as most Arab residents have not yet taken out Israeli citizenship, so Israel's government can still stop this process by reducing the size of Jerusalem's 1967 borders and terminating the offer of Israeli citizenship to all the city residents. Though it may lead to unrest, cracking down on illegal housing sites is imperative.

 

The West Bank is tougher. So long as Palestinian rejectionism prevails, Israel is stuck with overseeing an intensely hostile population that it dare not release ultimate control of. This situation generates a vicious, impassioned debate among Israelis (recall the Rabin assassination) and harms the country's international standing (think of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2334). But returning to 1949's "Auschwitz lines" and abandoning 400,000 Israeli residents of the West Bank to the Palestinians' tender mercies is obviously not a solution.

 

Instead, Israel needs to confront and undermine Palestinian rejectionism, which means convincing Palestinians that Israel is a permanent state, that the dream to eliminate it is futile, and that they are sacrificing for naught. Israel can achieve these goals by making victory its goal, by showing Palestinians that continued rejectionism brings them only repression and failure. The U.S. government can help by green lighting the path to an Israel victory. Only through victory can the astonishing triumph of those six days in 1967 be translated into the lasting solution of Palestinians accepting the permanence of the Jewish state.

 

                                                                       

 

Contents   

                       

1967:  THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND THE SIX-DAY WAR

Meron Medzini

Fathom, 2017

 

In the early 1960s, Israel had a permanent press core of 50 foreign correspondents and a number of bureaus were maintained by foreign outlets, such as the Washington Post, New York Times and Newsweek. Many of these bureaus had Israeli assistants, and they were also aided by the Government Press Office (GPO) which translated material. Each member of the foreign correspondents had a cubby hole in the GPO offices and we saw them virtually every day.

 

The only major events in Israel covered by the international press in the years before 1967 were the 1961 Eichmann trial and execution, and the visit of the Pope in January 1964. In the mid-1960s Israel was suffering from a major economic recession with unemployment at 10 per cent, and morale so low that people joked that the last person to leave the airport should please turn out the lights. The ruling party Mapai was taking a beating in opinion polls, especially from a new breakaway part called Rafi, which was headed by Shimon Peres and Moshe Dayan. In general, though, Israel simply did not feature in the international news.

 

Early in 1967, there was little sense that something was about to erupt. In April, the IDF intelligence branch assessed that the earliest war was possible was in 1970-71. Clifton Daniels, who was one of the editors of the New York Times and who came to Israel to cover the 1967 Independence Day celebrations on 15 May, didn’t think there was any reason to extend his stay and returned to America.

 

The ceasefire following the 1956 Sinai campaign had three components to help maintain quiet – the demilitarisation of the Sinai Peninsula, the installation of a UN emergency force (UNEF), and the guarantee that the Straits of Tiran would remain open.

 

The first component of this agreement was undermined during Independence Day 1967 when word reached the Chief of Staff Yitzchak Rabin and Prime Minister Levi Eshkol that Egyptian troops were moving into the Sinai with armour and artillery in broad daylight. This was followed by the UNEF withdrawal on 18 May. I accompanied a group of foreign correspondents to Kilometre 95, the Erez crossing point between Israel and the Gaza Strip to witness the Indian General, Indar Jit Rikhye search for a senior Israeli official in order to announce that his UN for ces were leaving. The Israeli commander at the gate – an unkempt, unshaven sergeant on reserve duty – was somewhat confused as to how to respond to the smart salute given to him by the departing Indian general.

 

Driven by the threats against Israel and the fiery slogans emanating from the Arab world, increasing numbers of foreign correspondents began to arrive. Two well-known journalists, Patrick O’Donoven and Jimmy Cameron, from the Sunday Times and the Observer asked us what Israel planned to do, but we didn’t know. The cabinet sat in virtually non-stop sessions but its response was indecisive.

 

Giving the foreign press a clear picture was challenging. No government officials were willing to speak to the foreign press. Prime Minister and Defence Minister Levi Eshkol refused to give interviews, as did Mapai Secretary General Golda Meir, former Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion and leader of the opposition Menachem Begin. Foreign Minister Abba Eban was willing to speak on background as was the Head of Military Intelligence, Aharon Yariv, who knew many foreign correspondents from his time as the IDF military attaché in Washington. On 23 May, Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser announced the re-imposition of the blockade on the Straits of Tiran, which the Prime Minister’s Chief of Bureau told me caused Eshkol to say “kinderlach, (children), this is war”. More foreign correspondents arrived, including top journalists such as Flora Lewis from the New York Times, Robert Toth from the LA Times, Arthur Vesey from the Chicago Tribune, Al Friendly from the Washington Post.

 

Censorship regulations were relaxed and the GPO gave foreign correspondents access to areas where reservists were concentrated and to the many volunteers, young and old, who had replaced reservists in hospitals, schools and kindergartens. Essentially, our goal was to show that Israel was not finished. Many correspondents personally knew reservists and were thus able to report on the daily routine of many families. Some even interviewed reservists at their bases. Many wrote about individual personal stories of average Israelis, many of whom were Holocaust survivors or veterans of the War of Independence and the Sinai Campaign. The overall picture was of a state under siege whose citizens feared for the fate of their families and country in light of the treachery of the world and the weakness of their leaders. Others wrote about how no human being in his right mind could fail to support the Israelis; that 22 years after the Holocaust, the [great] powers were once again impotent. One journalist, however, told me that he had ‘come for the wake’.

 

What the military censor did not allow to be shared were the preparations for mass temporary graves for tens of thousands of victims in Tel Aviv parks. The censor also banned reports that the Chief of Staff had experienced a breakdown and was incapacitated for two days. Rabin, who was receiving no guidance from the political echelon, had visited Ben Gurion – who criticised him for going to war without the support of a superpower and told him he would be responsible for the destruction of the ‘third temple’ – and Golda Meir – who had asked him what he was waiting for and wanted the IDF to strike as soon as possible.

 

The journalists realised that the IDF’s mobilisation could not continue indefinitely without the economy collapsing. Others, who were primarily fed by the government’s political rivals Rafi, reported on the clamour for the creation of a government of national unity, which eventually led to the appointment of Dayan as defence minister. Yet, with the public worried and the government hesitant, the military was confident and was busy perfecting its operation to destroy the enemy’s airfields and air forces. Haim Bar-Lev, the Deputy Chief of Staff, coined a phrase that Israel was ‘going to screw them hard, fast and elegantly’.

 

On the weekend before the war began, the newly appointed Defence Minister Dayan ordered leave for many reservists and the beaches were full of people. He also organised a press conference in Beit Sokolov in Tel Aviv, which was the first briefing to foreign press since the crisis began. His aim, according to his memoirs, was to trick the Egyptians and give the impression that things were quiet, and that despite the new unity government being formed, Israel was still searching for a political resolution. Foreign correspondents thus reported that Israel was not about to go to war. Both Randolph Churchill – who Dayan had personally briefed – and his son Winston, actually returned to England, only to come back four days later angry at Dayan for making them miss the start of the war…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]    

 

Contents                                                                                                        

THIS TIME, THE LOSER WRITES HISTORY

Gabriel Glickman

Middle East Quarterly, Summer 2017

 

It is a general law that every war is fought twice—first on the battlefield, then in the historiographical arena—and so it has been with the June 1967 Arab-Israeli war (or the Six-Day War as it is commonly known). No sooner had the dust settled on the battlefield than the Arabs and their Western partisans began rewriting the conflict's narrative with aggressors turned into hapless victims and defenders turned into aggressors. Jerusalem's weeks-long attempt to prevent the outbreak of hostilities in the face of a rapidly tightening Arab noose is completely ignored or dismissed as a disingenuous ploy; by contrast, the extensive Arab war preparations with the explicit aim of destroying the Jewish state is whitewashed as a demonstrative show of force to deter an imminent Israeli attack on Syria. It has even been suggested that Jerusalem lured the Arab states into war in order to expand its territory at their expense. So successful has this historiographical rewriting been that, fifty years after the war, these "alternative facts" have effectively become the received dogma, echoed by some of the most widely used college textbooks about the Middle East.

 

The first step to absolving the Arab leaders of culpability for the conflict—especially Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, who set in motion the course of events that led to war—was to present them as victims of their fully understandable, if highly unfortunate, overreaction to a Soviet warning of an imminent Israeli attack on Syria. Taking at face value Nasser's postwar denial of any intention to attack Israel, educated Westerners—intellectuals, Middle East experts, and journalists—excused his dogged drive to war as an inescapable grandstanding aimed at shoring up his position in the face of relentless criticism by the conservative Arab states and the more militant elements within his administration.

 

"President Nasser had to take spectacular action in order to avert defeat in the struggle for leadership of the Arabs," argued American historian Ernest Dawn shortly after the war. "If Egypt had not acted, the 'conservatives' would have wasted no time in pointing to the hero's feet of clay." This claim was amplified by Charles Yost, U.S. president Lyndon Johnson's special envoy to the Middle East at the time of the crisis, as well as a string of early popular books on the war. Nasser had no intention of taking on Israel, they argued. The massive deployment of Egyptian troops in Sinai, in flagrant violation of the peninsula's demilitarization since the 1956 war; the expulsion of the U.N. observers deployed on the Egyptian side of the border with Israel; the closure of the Tiran Strait to Israeli navigation; and the rapid formation of an all-Arab war coalition for what he pledged would be the final battle for Israel's destruction were just posturing moves geared to deterring an Israeli attack on Syria and enhancing Nasser's pan-Arab prestige. Unfortunately, goes the narrative, Jerusalem overreacted to these measures, if not exploited them to its self-serving ends, by attacking its peaceable Arab neighbors.

 

While this thesis clearly does not hold water—Nasser realized within less than a day that no Israeli attack on Syria was in the offing yet continued his reckless escalation—it has quickly become a common historiographical axiom regarding the war's origin. Thus, as ideologically divergent commentators as British journalist David Hirst and American military commentator Trevor Dupuy agreed on this view in the late 1970s. According to Dupuy, "it is very clear in retrospect that President Nasser did not in fact have any intention of precipitating war against Israel at that time." Hirst took this argument a step further: "Not only did Nasser lack the means to take on Israel, he did not have the intention either." This assertion was reiterated almost verbatim in the coming decades by countless Middle East observers. Thus, for example, we have British journalist Patrick Seale claiming that "Nasser's strategy was to attempt to frighten Israel into prudence, while making it clear that he would not attack first," and Princeton professor L. Carl Brown arguing that "Nasser surely had not intended to seek a showdown with Israel in 1967."…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

 

Contents

 

On Topic Links

 

Six Days in June (Video): Youtube, May 24, 2017—A fascinating documentary by Ilan Ziv about the Israeli-arab Six days war in 1967.

‘Last Secret’ of 1967 War: Israel’s Doomsday Plan for Nuclear Display: William J. Broad & David E. Sanger, New York Times, June 3, 2017—On the eve of the Arab-Israeli war, 50 years ago this week, Israeli officials raced to assemble an atomic device and developed a plan to detonate it atop a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula as a warning to Egyptian and other Arab forces, according to an interview with a key organizer of the effort that will be published Monday.

The Lessons and Consequences of the Six-Day War: David Harris, Algemeiner, June 2, 2017—When you mention history, it can trigger a roll of the eyes. Add the Middle East to the equation, and folks might start running for the hills, unwilling to get caught up in the seemingly bottomless pit of details and disputes.

Honoring the Man Behind the War: Noa Amouyal, Jerusalem Post, May 30, 2017—Knowing the ins and outs of a historic battle requires far more than analyzing the tactical plans and circumstances surrounding the event. A deep, intimate account of the major players are really required to properly understand the event in question.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

REMEMBERING THE SIX-DAY WAR (I): ARAB STATES PREPARE TO “WIPE ISRAEL OFF THE MAP”

The Jewish Return Into History: Reflections in the Age of Auschwitz and a New Jerusalem: Emil L. Fackenheim, Schocken Books, 1978. Page 108— In May 1967, the worldwide Jewish community had a moment of truth that revealed clearly, if only momentarily, what has remained otherwise obscure and ambiguous, or even wholly concealed.

The Six-Day War: An Inevitable Conflict: Prof. Efraim Karsh, BESA, May 19, 2017 — The standard narrative regarding the Six-Day War runs as follows…

Recalling the Menace of May 1967: Michael Freund, Breaking Israel News, May 21, 2017— As the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, it is perhaps only natural that our focus is primarily on the miraculous outcome of the June 1967 Six Day War.

Preparing For War: Jerusalem, 1967: Abraham Rabinovich, Jewish Press, May 19, 2017 — As tensions mounted in late May, 1967, Jerusalem was pervaded by a feeling that if war came it would be a bloody block-by-block battle in which no quarter would be given.

 

On Topic Links

 

Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem (Videos): JCPA, 2017

Survival of a Nation: The Battle for Jerusalem (Video): Jewish Learning International, May 16, 2017

Washington Post Slams Israel. Demand Fairness, Accountability: Honest Reporting, June, 2017

The Farhoud Remembered: Dr. Edy Cohen, BESA, June 2, 2017

 

 

 

THE JEWISH RETURN INTO HISTORY:

REFLECTIONS IN THE AGE OF AUSCHWITZ AND A NEW JERUSALEM

Emil L. Fackenheim

Schocken Books, 1978. Page 108

 

In May 1967, the worldwide Jewish community had a moment of truth that revealed clearly, if only momentarily, what has remained otherwise obscure and ambiguous, or even wholly concealed. Jewish students dropped their studies and rushed to Israel. Elderly gentlemen of modest means mortgaged their homes. Tactful Jewish spokesmen abandoned their tact and screamed, at the risk of alienating Christian friends. Faced with the fact that the state of Israel was in mortal danger, the worldwide Jewish community became, for a moment, wholly united in its defense. More precisely, time-honored division—between Orthodox and liberal, Zionist and non-Zionist, religious and secularist—lost for a time their significance, to be replaced by a new division between Jews willing to stand up and be counted, and Jews who (whatever their reasons, excuses, or ideologies) stood aside.

 

What caused this unexpected and unprecedented response to an unexpected and unprecedented situation? Not “nationalism”; among those standing up to be counted were non-Zionists and even anti-Zionists. Not “religious sentiment”; the response transcended all religious-secularist distinctions. Not “humanism”; not a few Jewish humanists stood aside when Jewish—rather than Arab or Vietnamese—children were in danger. The true cause cannot be in doubt. For a whole generation Jews had lived with the Nazi Holocaust, racked by grief and true or imagined guilt. For a whole generation they had not known how to live with the fact that Jews had been singled out for murder by one part of the world and that the other part had done little to stop it. When in May 1967 the same words issued for Cairo and Damascus that had once issued from Berlin, Jews were divided not into Orthodox and liberal, religious and secularist, Zionist and non-Zionist, but into those who fled (and were revealed as having fled all along) with a resolve that there must be no second Holocaust.                                                            

 

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THE SIX-DAY WAR: AN INEVITABLE CONFLICT

Prof. Efraim Karsh

BESA, May 19, 2017

 

The standard narrative regarding the Six-Day War runs as follows: Had Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser not fallen for a false Soviet warning of Israeli troop concentrations along the Syrian border and deployed his forces in the Sinai Peninsula, the slippery slope to war would have been averted altogether. Had Israel not misconstrued Egyptian grandstanding for a mortal threat to its national security, if not its very survival, it would have foregone the preemptive strike that started the war. In short, it was a largely accidental and unnecessary war born of mutual miscalculations and misunderstandings.

 

This view could not be further from the truth. If wars are much like road accidents, as the British historian A.J.P. Taylor famously quipped, having a general cause and particular causes at the same time, then the June 1967 war was anything but accidental. Its specific timing resulted of course from the convergence of a number of particular causes at a particular juncture. But its general cause—the total Arab rejection of Jewish statehood, starkly demonstrated by the concerted attempt to destroy the state of Israel at birth and the unwavering determination to rectify this “unfinished business”—made another all-out Arab-Israeli war a foregone conclusion.

 

No sooner had the doctrine of pan-Arabism, postulating the existence of “a single nation bound by the common ties of language, religion and history…. behind the facade of a multiplicity of sovereign states” come to dominate inter-Arab politics at the end of World War I than anti-Zionism became its most effective rallying cry: not from concern for the wellbeing of the Palestinian Arabs but from the desire to fend off a supposed foreign encroachment on the perceived pan-Arab patrimony. As Abdel Rahman Azzam, secretary-general of the Arab League, told Zionist officials in September 1947: “For me, you may be a fact, but for [the Arab masses], you are not a fact at all—you are a temporary phenomenon. Centuries ago, the Crusaders established themselves in our midst against our will, and in 200 years, we ejected them. This was because we never made the mistake of accepting them as a fact.”

 

On rare occasions, this outright rejectionism was manifested in quiet attempts to persuade the Zionist leaders to forego their quest for statehood and acquiesce in subject status within a regional pan-Arab empire. Nuri Said, a long-time Iraqi prime minister, made this suggestion at a 1936 meeting with Chaim Weizmann while Transjordan’s King Abdullah of the Hashemite family secretly extended an offer to Golda Meir (in November 1947 and May 1948) to incorporate Palestine’s Jewish community into the “Greater Syrian” empire he was striving to create at the time. For most of the time, however, the Arabs’ primary instrument for opposing Jewish national aspirations was violence, and what determined their politics and diplomacy was the relative success or failure of that instrument in any given period. As early as April 1920, pan-Arab nationalists sought to rally support for incorporating Palestine into the short-lived Syrian kingdom headed by Abdullah’s brother, Faisal, by carrying out a pogrom in Jerusalem in which five Jews were murdered and 211 wounded. The following year, Arab riots claimed a far higher toll: some 90 dead and hundreds wounded. In the summer of 1929, another wave of violence resulted in the death of 133 Jews and the wounding of hundreds more.

 

For quite some time, this violent approach seemed to work. It was especially effective in influencing the British, who had been appointed the mandatory power in Palestine by the League of Nations. Though their explicit purpose was to facilitate the establishment of a Jewish national home in Palestine, the British authorities repeatedly gave in to Arab violence aimed at averting that purpose and to the demands that followed upon it. In two White Papers, issued in 1922 and 1930 respectively, London severely compromised the prospective Jewish national home by imposing harsh restrictions on immigration and land sales to Jews.

 

In July 1937, Arab violence reaped its greatest reward when a British commission of inquiry, headed by Lord Peel, recommended repudiating the terms of the mandate altogether in favor of partitioning Palestine into two states: a large Arab state, united with Transjordan, that would occupy some 90 percent of the mandate territory, and a Jewish state in what was left. This was followed in May 1939 by another White Paper that imposed even more draconian restrictions on Jewish immigration and land purchases, closing the door to Palestine for Jews desperate to flee Nazi Europe and threatening the survival of the Jewish national project. Agitating for more, the Arabs dismissed both plans as insufficient.

 

They did the same in November 1947 when, in the face of the imminent expiration of the British mandate, the U.N. General Assembly voted to partition Palestine. Rejecting this solution, the Arab nations resolved instead to destroy the state of Israel at birth and gain the whole for themselves. This time, however, Arab violence backfired spectacularly. In the 1948-49 war, not only did Israel confirm its sovereign independence and assert control over somewhat wider territories than those assigned to it by the U.N. partition resolution, but the Palestinian Arab community was profoundly shattered with about half of its population fleeing to other parts of Palestine and to neighboring Arab states.

 

For the next two decades, inter-Arab politics would be driven by the determination to undo the consequences of the 1948 defeat, duly dubbed “al-Nakba,” the catastrophe, and to bring about Israel’s demise. Only now, it was Cairo rather than the two Hashemite kings that spearheaded the pan-Arab campaign following Nasser’s rise to power in 1954 and his embarkation on an aggressive pan-Arab policy.

 

The Egyptian president had nothing but contempt for most members of the “Arab Nation” he sought to unify: “Iraqis are savage, the Lebanese venal and morally degenerate, the Saudis dirty, the Yemenis hopelessly backward and stupid, and the Syrians irresponsible, unreliable and treacherous,” he told one of his confidants. Neither did he have a genuine interest in the Palestinian problem—pan-Arabism’s most celebrated cause: “The Palestinians are useful to the Arab states as they are,” he told a Western journalist in 1956. “We will always see that they do not become too powerful. Can you imagine yet another nation on the shores of the eastern Mediterranean!” Yet having recognized the immense value of this cause for his grandiose ambitions, he endorsed it with a vengeance, especially after the early 1960s when his pan-Arab dreams were in tatters as Syria acrimoniously seceded from its bilateral union with Egypt (1958-61) and the Egyptian army bogged down in an unwinnable civil war in Yemen. “Arab unity or the unity of the Arab action or the unity of the Arab goal is our way to the restoration of Palestine and the restoration of the rights of the people of Palestine,” Nasser argued. “Our path to Palestine will not be covered with a red carpet or with yellow sand. Our path to Palestine will be covered with blood.”

 

By way of transforming this militant rhetoric into concrete plans, in January 1964, the Egyptian president convened the first all-Arab summit in Cairo to discuss ways and means to confront the “Israeli threat.” A prominent item on the agenda was the adoption of a joint strategy to prevent Israel from using the Jordan River waters to irrigate the barren Negev desert in the south of the country. A no less important decision was to “lay the proper foundations for organizing the Palestinian people and enabling it to fulfill its role in the liberation of its homeland and its self-determination.” Four months later, a gathering of 422 Palestinian activists in East Jerusalem, then under Jordanian rule, established the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and approved its two founding documents: the organization’s basic constitution and the Palestinian National Covenant…

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

                                                                       

 

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RECALLING THE MENACE OF MAY 1967

Michael Freund

Breaking Israel News, May 21, 2017

 

As the nation prepares to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the reunification of Jerusalem and the liberation of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, it is perhaps only natural that our focus is primarily on the miraculous outcome of the June 1967 Six Day War. After 1,900 years of yearning, the Jewish people were at last reunited with the heart of our ancestral homeland, when Divine providence granted Israel a resounding victory over our adversaries.

 

For the first time since the Roman legions under Titus set Jerusalem aflame, holy places such as the Temple Mount, Shiloh and Hebron were once again under full Jewish sovereignty and control. It was a victory for the ages, a turning point in history that reshaped Jewish destiny, as the dreams of our ancestors were transformed into reality, and Jews could once again live and play, worship and work, in the hills of Judea, the vineyards of Samaria and the stone-paved alleyways of Jerusalem.

 

But amid the festivities, it is no less important to recall the events of May 1967, when the menace of destruction hung heavily over the nation as our neighbors vowed to finish off the youthful Jewish state. Particularly now, when the Palestinians and their supporters have succeeded in poisoning historical truth with fantasy and falsehood, a glimpse back at what took place prior to the war will serve to undercut the false narrative now being put forth by our foes.

 

For starters, bear in mind that in May 1967, there was no Israeli “occupation,” no Jewish “settlements” and no “Judaization” of Jerusalem. Nonetheless, there was plenty of Arab animosity, as the airwaves filled with chilling threats to throw the Jews into the sea. On May 8, 1967, Syria’s information minister, Mahmoud Zuabi, openly declared that his country would soon wage “more severe battles until Palestine is liberated and the Zionist presence is ended.” Eight days later, on May 16, Cairo radio chimed in, announcing that, “The existence of Israel has continued too long… We welcome the battle we have long awaited. The peak hour has come. The battle has come in which we shall destroy Israel.” In case anyone had failed to understand their message, the following day Cairo radio was even more blunt: “All Egypt is now prepared to plunge into total war which will put an end to Israel.”

 

Amid these threats, Egyptian dictator Gamal Abdel Nasser took concrete steps to prepare for genocide against the Jewish state, doubling the number of Egyptian troops in Sinai and deploying hundreds of tanks near Israel’s southern border. Nasser then demanded that the 3,400-man United Nations Emergency Force, which had been deployed in Gaza and the Sinai for a decade to prevent conflict, be immediately withdrawn. Less than a week later, on May 22, the UN did just that, cowardly abandoning its posts, thereby setting the stage for an Egyptian invasion. Egypt’s Voice of the Arabs radio broadcast gleefully celebrated the UN’s retreat, announcing that, “There is no life, no peace nor hope for the gangs of Zionism to remain in the occupied land. As of today, there no longer exists an international emergency force to protect Israel… The sole method we shall apply against Israel is a total war which will result in the extermination of Zionist existence.”

 

With the departure of the UN, Nasser proceeded to close the Straits of Tiran to Israeli shipping, an act that 10 years previously, in 1957, US president Dwight D. Eisenhower had said would be considered an act of war. On May 25, Syria, Jordan, Iraq and Saudi Arabia moved troops to Israel’s borders, encircling the Jewish state like vultures preparing to swoop down on their prey. Six days later, Iraqi president Abdel-Rahman Aref minced no words in explaining why his country was sending soldiers to the area, asserting that, “The existence of Israel is an error which must be rectified. This is our opportunity to wipe out the ignominy which has been with us since 1948. Our goal is clear – to wipe Israel off the map.”

 

Meanwhile, the PLO, which was founded in 1964, was also gearing up for war. Asked in an interview what would happen to Israel’s Jews in case of war, PLO founder Ahmed Shukairy glibly stated on June 1 that, “Those who survive will remain in Palestine. I estimate that none of them will survive.” Four days later, war broke out and the rest is history.

 

Or is it? Despite the circumstances, which clearly demonstrate that Israel was engaged in an existential war of self-defense in the Six Day War, much of the international community today falsely portrays the Jewish state’s acquisition of territory in 1967 as an act of aggression or “occupation.” Worse yet, they play along with the Palestinian fairy tale that the Arab-Israeli conflict is all about Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria, when in fact, as the events of May 1967 show, the real underlying cause is the refusal of the Arabs to accept a permanent Jewish presence in the region.

 

So as we rejoice in remembering Israel’s glorious victory five decades ago, let us redouble our efforts to remind the world of the simple truth that many do not wish to see. The prelude to the 1967 war is a critical part of the story, one that lends some much-needed clarity and context to the events that would follow. Simply put, the Jewish state owes no one an apology for facing down its foes and taking the territory which those very same enemies used as a platform from which to seek our destruction. Israel’s presence in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria is historically just, morally fitting, biblically mandated and militarily necessary to ensure our survival. And we shall remain in these areas until the end of time, whether the world likes it or not.

                                                           

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PREPARING FOR WAR: JERUSALEM, 1967

Abraham Rabinovich

Jewish Press, May 19, 2017

 

As tensions mounted in late May, 1967, Jerusalem was pervaded by a feeling that if war came it would be a bloody block-by-block battle in which no quarter would be given. Unspoken but widely envisioned was the image of the Warsaw Ghetto; buildings turned to rubble from which the battle would continue. The municipality began to bulldoze a hillside near Mount Herzl to prepare gravesites. The slope chosen was out of sight of the Jordanian lines to prevent a repetition of 1948 when, at funerals of people killed by shelling, the mourners themselves came under fire.

 

Some officials expected 2,000 dead in Jerusalem. These were the optimists who assumed the Jordanians would not attempt aerial bombardment because of the proximity of Arab neighborhoods. The pessimists, those who believed the Arabs would bomb anyway, estimated 6,000 dead and several times that number in wounded in Jerusalem alone. Events had taken on a momentum of their own beyond either side’s calculation. In the Arab world, rhetoric was whipping passions into white heat. “If you want war,” declared Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser in a public challenge, “we are ready for you.”

 

Israel did not want war. The likely price even for victory was grim. Six thousand Israelis, one in every 100, had died in the victorious War of Independence, a conflict that had seen little air action. When Israel had next gone to war, in the 1956 Sinai campaign, it had been on only one front and in collusion with two powers, England and France. Even so, Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion had insisted that France station air squadrons in Israel to protect its cities from air strikes.

 

Now, in 1967, Israel stood alone against what was beginning to look like a broad Arab coalition with three times as many tanks and warplanes as Israel. Moshe Dayan, on the eve of being named defense minister, estimated that there could be tens of thousands dead. “An entire generation of paratroopers and tank crews will be lost,” he told the general heading Israel’s Southern Command, “but you will win.” Despite this dire casualty estimate, the general, Yeshayahu Gavish, found solace in the remarks because Dayan at least predicted victory. Not all national leaders were sure of that. Even IDF chief of staff Yitzhak Rabin was pushed to the edge of nervous collapse by the responsibility that had fallen on him.

 

In search of reassurance, Rabin called on Ben-Gurion, now retired, for an informal chat. It turned out to be the most traumatic meeting of Rabin’s life. Ben-Gurion was as decisive as Prime Minister Levi Eshkol was hesitant, but his decisiveness lay in warning against going to war without the support of a foreign power. Otherwise, it would be an adventure that risked national disaster, he said, and the responsibility would be Rabin’s. The chief of staff had made a grave mistake, said Ben-Gurion, in ordering mobilization and thereby accelerating the war momentum. Rabin was shaken by Ben-Gurion’s remarks. His air force commanders were promising dramatic results if Israel struck the first blow. The army commanders likewise expressed confidence in victory. Rabin was not sure the government would permit a first strike, but even if it did he could not be certain that the generals’ predictions would prove realistic when put to the test.

 

Against this uncertainty, Ben-Gurion’s powerful “thou shalt not” was a warning Rabin could not shrug off. Ben-Gurion had proved prophetic in the past. If he was correct now, Rabin could be leading the nation to another Holocaust. On May 22, Egypt announced the Straits of Tiran would be closed to Israeli shipping from the following day. The closure was a clear casus belli. To let it pass without a military response would be a devastating sign of weakness. Eshkol told a ministerial meeting the following day that Washington had asked Israel not to attempt to send a ship through the straits while the U.S. attempted to resolve the matter by diplomatic means. In the mood of indecision that prevailed, the American request offered a welcome respite.

 

Rabin was subdued during the meeting with the ministers. He chain-smoked and his face was taut. In the evening, he asked General Ezer Weizman, head of operations on the general staff, to come to his home. Speaking candidly of the strain he was under, Rabin asked Weizman whether he believed that he, Rabin, should resign. Weizman, a former air force commander, persuaded Rabin that he needed only a brief rest. Mrs. Rabin, concerned at her husband’s distress, called the IDF’s chief medical officer who diagnosed “acute anxiety.” The doctor sedated him and Rabin slept until the next afternoon. Word was put out that Rabin had been temporarily incapacitated by nicotine poisoning. When he returned to his headquarters, he was calm and knew what had to be done. There was no way out but war.

 

With moblization, the largest source of manpower remaining in Jerusalem were yeshiva students exempt from the draft. Of the 2,000 volunteers who turned out each day for trench-digging in areas without shelters, 500 were yeshiva students. On the Sabbath after the closing by Egypt of the Tiran Straits passageway to Eilat, the civil defense commander in the Katamon quarter was amazed to see a group of yeshiva students being marched to a digging site by two bearded rabbis. The prohibition against working on the Sabbath is one of the strictest injunctions of Judaism, but the rabbinate had declared the crisis one of pikuach nefesh (life or death) in which vital work is not only permissible on the Sabbath but mandatory. The two rabbis took off their jackets and joined the students in the trenches with shovels…                                            

[To Read the Full Article Click the Following Link—Ed.]

 

 

CIJR Wishes All Our Friends & Supporters: Shabbat Shalom!

 

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On Topic Links

 

Israel Celebrates 50th Anniversary of the Reunification of Jerusalem (Videos): JCPA, 2017

Survival of a Nation: The Battle for Jerusalem (Video): Jewish Learning International, May 16, 2017—Israel’s 1967 battles to rescue Jerusalem from Jordanian assault, and the ensuing reunification of Jerusalem.

Washington Post Slams Israel. Demand Fairness, Accountability: Honest Reporting, June, 2017—The Washington Post published a series on the anniversary of the Six Day War, with a special emphasis on "the occupation" and security checkpoints.

The Farhoud Remembered: Dr. Edy Cohen, BESA, June 2, 2017—On the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, June 1-2, 1941 (5701 on the Hebrew calendar), the Muslim residents of Baghdad carried out a savage pogrom against their Jewish compatriots. In this pogrom, known by its Arabic name al-Farhoud, about 200 Jews were murdered and thousands wounded. Jewish property was plundered and many homes set ablaze.