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Tag: Islamism

“ISLAMIZATION” OF TURKEY & EUROPE CHALLENGES WESTERN VALUES

Emerging Islamist Political Clout Accelerates Europe’s Self-Islamization: Abigail R. Esman, IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018— Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves.

Belgium: First Islamic State in Europe?: Giulio Meotti, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018— The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”.

The Islamization of Turkey: Rauf Baker, BESA, Apr. 22, 2018— Victor Orbán’s landslide electoral victory on Sunday, gaining 134 seats out of 199 in Hungary’s parliament…

Hard Truths About an Ancient Doctrine: Machla Abramovitz, Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018 — Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy.

On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018

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

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018

 

 

EMERGING ISLAMIST POLITICAL CLOUT

ACCELERATES EUROPE’S SELF-ISLAMIZATION

Abigail R. Esman

IPT News, Apr. 17, 2018

Forget the beheading videos, the ISIS propaganda on social media, even the terrorist attacks themselves. Europe, says counterterrorism expert Afshin Ellian, is Islamizing itself, and in the process, the Western values on which its democracies are built are increasingly put at risk.

Take, for instance, Belgium’s ISLAM Party, which now hopes to participate in the country’s October local elections in 28 regions. (Its name serves as an acronym for “Integrité, Solidarité, Liberté, Authenticité, Moralité.) Its ultimate aim: transforming Belgium into an Islamic state. Items high on its agenda include separating men and women on public transportation, and the incorporation of sharia law – as long as this does not conflict with current laws –according to the party’s founder, Redouane Ahrouch. His own behavior, however, suggests that his respect for “current laws” and mores has its bounds: He reportedly refuses to shake hands with women, and in 2003, he received a six-month sentence for beating and threatening his wife. Currently, the Islam Party has two elected representatives in office – one in Anderlecht, the other in Molenbeek – both regions that happen to be known as hotbeds of extremism.

Or consider DENK, Holland’s pro-Islam party founded in 2015 by Turkish-Dutch politicians Selçuk Ozturk and Tunahan Kuzu. The party platform, which supports boycotts and sanctions against Israel, also discourages assimilation, calling instead for “mutual acceptance” of multiple cultures. Non-Muslims, for instance, would apparently be required to “accept” the Muslim extremist father who beats his daughter for refusing an arranged marriage, or for becoming too “Westernized” for his taste. It’s his culture, after all. DENK also calls for a “racism police force” to monitor allegedly racist comments and actions. Those found guilty would be placed in a government “racism register,” and banned from government jobs and other employment.

So far, such pro-Islamist views have served the party well. In local Dutch elections last month, DENK (which means “think” in Dutch) gained three seats in Rotterdam, totaling four seats among 45 total and edging out Geert Wilders’ far-right Partij voor de Vrijheid (PVV), which fell from three seats to one. In Amsterdam, which also has 45 seats, a full 50 percent of Dutch-Moroccans and about two-thirds of Dutch-Turks gave the party a three-seat win in its first election there, as well. Many of these voters, according to post-election analyses, moved to DENK from the center-left Labor Party (PvdA), clearly feeling more at home with a more overtly pro-Muslim politic.

Similarly, France’s Union of Muslim Democrats (UDMF) has taken a number of voters from the Green Party by promising to defend Muslims. UDMF’s online program statement condemns burqa and headscarf bans. What’s more, in its pretense of supporting what it calls the “sweet dream of Democracy, Union and Human Rights,” the party loudly (though rightly) condemns “anti-Muslim speeches” that “lead the most psychologically fragile people to commit acts of unprecedented violence.” Examples of such “unprecedented violence” follow: a German white supremacist, who killed an Egyptian woman wearing a veil in 2009, and the stabbing of a French Muslim in Vaucluse. “Heavy weapons attacks have exploded in Europe since the beginning of the year against Muslim places of worship,” the statement reads.

What the party statement does not mention anywhere are the attacks by Muslims in Paris and Nice that together killed 240 people between January 2015 and July 2016; the attack by a Muslim extremist on a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012; and the kidnapping and heinous torture of Ilan Halimi, a 23-year-old Jew, in 2006. These are among other acts of “unprecedented violence” by Islamists.

UDMF also calls for protection of the family and its “essential role in the education of children,” while citing Article 14 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child which calls for respecting “the right of the child to freedom of thought, conscience, and religion.” From here, the party demands the “right and duty of parents….to guide the child in the exercise of the above-mentioned right.” Implied here is the demand that parents be allowed to treat their children as they see fit according to their religious beliefs – including to beat daughters who refuse an arranged marriage, becoming “too Westernized,” and so on.

Most disturbing are the large numbers of Muslims who have all flocked to parties like DENK and UDMF throughout Europe. Rather than moving towards more secular, traditionally democratic political movements, Europe’s Muslims are apparently increasingly distancing themselves from the “European” side of their identity and identifying more with Islam and the Muslim community. And this, too, is part of Europe’s “self-Islamizing,” the result of taking too unsure a hand, too ambivalent a position, on the issue of assimilation.

Indeed, as Ellian points out, European institutions have enabled this cultural separation. Photographs taken last November during a meeting of the Muslim student union at Amsterdam’s Vrije Universiteit revealed that men and women sat on opposite sides of the auditorium aisle. Such events are common, according to journalist Carel Brendel, who first reported on the incident. “Yet the administrations [of these schools] do little or nothing about it, despite the fact that their own rules forbid” such gender separation,” he told the Investigative Project. Brendel has also exposed links between the Amsterdam police and Abdelilah el-Amrani, a Muslim Brotherhood-connected imam invited by the police department to lead last year’s annual Iftar dinner marking the end of a day’s fast during Ramadan. El-Amrani, Brendel said, also oversees a group of interconnected organizations, including an Islamic school that came under investigation last year for having separate entrances for boys and girls.

Worth noting about the event, according to Brendel, is that no other government body sponsors a religious ceremony. Nor does any Dutch government agency, let alone the police, host a Passover Seder or observe any other religious event with the public. In addition, and perhaps more alarming, a spokesperson for the Rotterdam police posted to Twitter that day that “police will be difficult to reach tonight, due to various Iftar meals.” City security and the safety of citizens, in other words, was being compromised in the name of a religious celebration.

Elsewhere, other signs of self-Islamization can be found in the rise of other Muslim parties in Austria as well as a failed effort in Sweden; a proposed ban on the British press against identifying terrorists as Muslim; the proliferation of sharia courts in the UK; and the repeated efforts by some Canadian officials to legalize sharia – a debate that recently has been revived. While all of this involves political movements, it stands as a reminder of what the ideology behind the “war on terrorism” is really all about: an attack against our culture. We need to do better at protecting it.

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BELGIUM: FIRST ISLAMIC STATE IN EUROPE?

Giulio Meotti

Gatestone Institute, Apr. 22, 2018

The French acronym of Belgium’s ISLAM Party stands for “Integrity, Solidarity, Liberty, Authenticity, Morality”. The leaders of the ISLAM Party apparently want to turn Belgium into an Islamic State. They call it “Islamist democracy” and have set a target date: 2030.

According to the French magazine Causeur, “the program is confusingly simple: replace all the civil and penal codes with sharia law. Period”. Created on the eve of the 2012 municipal ballot, the ISLAM Party immediately received impressive results. Its numbers are alarming. The effect of this new party, according to Michaël Privot, an expert on Islam, and Sebastien Boussois, a political scientist, could be the “implosion of the social body”. Some Belgian politicians, such as Richard Miller, are now advocating banning the ISLAM Party.

The French weekly magazine Le Point details the plans of the ISLAM Party: It would like to “prevent vice by banning gaming establishments (casinos, gaming halls and betting agencies) and the lottery”. Along with authorizing the wearing the Muslim headscarf at school and an agreement about the Islamic religious holidays, the party wants all schools in Belgium to offer halal meat on their school menus. Redouane Ahrouch, one of the party’s three founders, also proposed segregating men and women on public transport. Ahrouch belonged in the 1990s to the Belgian Islamic Center, a nest of Islamic fundamentalism where candidates for jihad in Afghanistan and Iraq were recruited.

The ISLAM Party knows that demography is on its side. Ahrouch has said, “in 12 years, Brussels will principally be composed of Muslims”. In the upcoming Belgian elections, the ISLAM Party is now set to run candidates in 28 municipalities. On first glance, that looks like a derisory proportion compared to 589 Belgian municipalities, but it demonstrates the progress and ambitions of this new party. In Brussels, the party will be represented on 14 lists out of a possible 19. That is most likely why the Socialist Party now fears the rise of the ISLAM Party. In 2012, the party succeeded, when running in just three Brussels districts, in obtaining an elected representative in two of them (Molenbeek and Anderlecht), and failing only narrowly in Brussels-City.

Two years later, during the 2014 parliamentary elections, the ISLAM Party tried to expand its base in two constituencies, Brussels-City and Liège. Once again, the results were impressive for a party that favors the introduction of sharia, Islamic law, into Belgium. In Brussels, they won 9,421 votes (almost 2%). This political movement apparently started in Molenbeek, “the Belgian radicals’ den”, a “hotbed of recruiters for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant”. Jihadists there were apparently plotting terror attacks all over Europe and even in Afghanistan. The French author Éric Zemmour, facetiously suggested that instead of bombing Raqqa, Syria, France should “bomb Molenbeek”. At the moment in Molenbeek, 21 municipal officials out of 46 are Muslim. “The European capital,” wrote Le Figaro, “will be Muslim in twenty years”.

“Nearly a third of the population of Brussels already is Muslim, indicated Olivier Servais, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Louvain. “The practitioners of Islam, due to their high birth rate, should be the majority ‘in fifteen or twenty years’. Since 2001… Mohamed is the most common name given to boys born in Brussels”.

The ISLAM Party is working in a favorable environment. According to the mayor of Brussels, Yvan Mayeur, all the mosques in the European capital are now “in the hands of the Salafists”. A few weeks ago, the Belgian government terminated the long-term lease of the country’s largest and oldest mosque, the Grand Mosque of Brussels, to the Saudi royal family, “as part of what officials say is an effort to combat radicalization”. Officials said that the mosque, was a “hotbed for extremism”. A confidential report last year revealed that the police had uncovered 51 organizations in Molenbeek with suspected ties to jihadism. Perhaps it is time for sleepy Belgium to begin to wake up?

 

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                                      THE ISLAMIZATION OF TURKEY

          Rauf Baker                            

                BESA, Apr. 22, 2018

The Turkish regime is gradually transforming into a developed, complicated, and more dangerous version of the al-Qaeda organization. The rhetoric and approach seem convergent or even identical. The difference is that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is leading a country of significant geopolitical importance, not a militant group scattered across Afghanistan’s mountains.

If al-Qaeda succeeded in spreading fear across the globe through its terrorist operations, one can only imagine the extreme damage Erdoğan can cause to the MENA region and even the world, particularly in view of his increasing political paranoia and totalitarianism. As he seeks to stay in power indefinitely following a referendum that granted him sweeping powers to run the country largely uncontested, Erdoğan is trying to leave a legacy that will last for decades. To that end, he is using the education system as a repository in which to sow seeds to be harvested later.

The Islamization of the state has been going on systematically, quietly, and slowly for many years, but its pace has increased since the coup attempt in July 2016, with a focus on the education system. Last year, the ruling Muslim Brotherhood-inspired Justice and Development Party (AKP) led by Erdoğan made substantial changes to school curricula, amending more than 170 topics. The Ministry of Education eliminated evolutionary concepts such as “natural selection” and added subjects related to “jihad”. Erdoğan’s government fired more than 33,000 teachers and closed scores of schools over claims that they had ties with those involved in the coup attempt. At the same time, it increased the number of religious schools (“imam hatip”).

The ministry described the changes as “an emphasis on a values-based education” that promotes Erdoğan’s goal of raising a “pious generation”. AKP MP Ahmet Hamdi Çamlı stated last year that “it is useless to teach math to students who do not know jihad”. Prior to the overhaul, the number of students in 537 religious secondary schools reached 270,000 in 2012. In 2017, there were 1,408 and 635,000 students. When we add the 122,000 students attending religious schools in the open education system, the number of students in all religious schools in Turkey reaches 757,000.

Erdoğan has noticeably increased the number of Islamic references in his speeches. He made “jihad” the fountainhead of the war on the Kurdish city of Afrin in Syria, using verses from the “Al-Fath”chapter of the Koran. That chapter uses the Prophet Muhammad’s victory over his enemies to justify military operations. Friday prayer sermons called for “jihad” against the Kurds. When the Turkish army captured Afrin, Erdoğan did not hesitate to call his troops “Islam’s last army”.

Two months ago, during a televised congress of his party, Erdoğan invited a little girl in military uniform onto the stage and told her she would be “martyred” if she were killed while fighting. Several weeks ago, Deputy Prime Minister Bekir Bozdağ described Erdoğan as a leader “who exerts himself for the sake of God”. Last year, Şevki Yılmaz, a columnist for the government mouthpiece “Yeni Akit” and a close confidante of Erdoğan’s, described al-Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden as a “national hero”. Yılmaz also said voting “yes” to the constitutional referendum to replace the parliamentary system with a presidential one would be to act as the “Ababeel” did. In the Koran, the Ababeel were heavenly birds sent by God to throw rocks on an army that marched upon Mecca intending to demolish the Kaaba.

All the above comes in parallel with a growing number of public attacks on women under the pretext of that they are wearing “inappropriate clothes”. A video circulated on December 31, 2016 showed two bearded young men handing out leaflets to passersby in the city of Izmir on the prohibition of New Year’s celebrations in Islam. The issue does not only affect Turks. Around half a million Syrian students in Turkey are influenced by Erdoğan’s education policy. Authorities ignore, and sometimes encourage, practices of Syrian school administrations in Turkish cities that focus on religious topics, employ veiled women only, prohibit teachers from wearing nail polish, and enforce a strict Islamic dress code for female students…

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

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HARD TRUTHS ABOUT AN ANCIENT DOCTRINE

Machla Abramovitz

Michpacha, Mar. 14, 2018

Last December‚ about two hours after President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the media was in a tizzy. Pundits were breathlessly prognosticating that the White House move would ignite an explosion of pent-up rage on the Arab street.

Meanwhile, Dr. Harold Rhode went on the radio in Washington, D.C., to explain to a local audience that despite dire warnings to the contrary, he didn’t anticipate any violent outbursts from the Muslim world. Time proved the historian and Islamic affairs expert correct: Except for some staged skirmishes in the West Bank and boilerplate criticism out of Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, the Middle East remained shockingly quiet.

“Jerusalem is only important to Muslims when non-Muslims control it,” Rhode says now, in conversation with Mishpacha. “Had that not been the case, Jordan would have proclaimed it their capital when it was under their control. For Sunni Muslims, the issue of Jerusalem is less religious than political, and for Shiites, it’s all political. Right now, the Muslim street, for the most part, is fed up with its leadership and is sick and tired of being taken advantage of by them for political purposes.”

If anyone could have predicted this outcome, it’s Harold Rhode. His decades of study and living among Muslims in the Middle East has attuned him to how the Muslim world thinks. Rhode received his PhD in Islamic history from Columbia University, specializing in the history of the Turks, Arabs, and Iranians. He studied overseas for years in universities in Iran, Egypt, and Israel. In the 1980s, he went to work as an advisor on the Islamic world for the US Department of Defense.

The Jerusalem issue has exposed deep divisions between the Muslim street and its leadership, but other internal struggles being played out within the Islamic world are of even greater significance to the West. Rhode points out that Jerusalem has always been a focus for other nations, and today, the Palestinians are only part of the crowd. Turkey’s leader, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, issues harsh rhetoric about Jerusalem as a way of reasserting his country’s historic leadership of the Sunni world. And of course, the Iranian regime is obsessed with the Holy City. Harold says a prominent mullah admitted to him personally that according to Shiite tradition, Jerusalem belongs to the Jews. Why then this obsession? He says the ayatollahs hope to exploit the issue to gain dominance in the centuries-old conflict between Shiites and Sunnis.

“Iran, a Shiite country, is using Jerusalem as a tool against the Sunnis,” he explains. “Because the Sunnis, who cannot tolerate Jews running Jerusalem, have not been able to wrest Jerusalem from the Jews, the Shiites say they will do the job for them. For that purpose, the Iranians established Hezbollah and are empowering Hamas. Tehran believes that Israel’s inability to destroy Hezbollah during the 2006 Lebanon War showed the Sunnis that Shiism is the way.”

The entire geopolitical landscape shifted, however, with President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. That announcement, Rhode says, dealt a severe blow to Tehran’s ability to assert itself within the Arab world, exposing it as weak. That, together with the president’s refusal to certify the Iran Deal, has terrified the Iranian government; they don’t know what’s coming next. “For the last five months, Iran hasn’t attacked any US ship in the Gulf,” Rhode points out. “They haven’t attacked anyone. They are petrified, which is good.”

 

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On Topic Links

Struggling to Prevent Terrorist Attacks, France Wants to ‘Reform’ Islam: James McAuley, Washington Post, Apr. 18, 2018—Speaking alongside the flag-draped coffin of a police officer killed in a terrorist attack in southern France, President Emmanuel Macron last month lay blame on “underground Islamism” and those who “indoctrinate on our soil and corrupt daily.”

A Month of Islam and Multiculturalism in Germany: March 2018: Soeren Kern, Gatestone Institute, Apr. 21, 2018—March 1. The Spreewald Elementary School in Berlin’s Schöneberg district hired security guards to protect teachers and students from unruly students. Around 99% of the pupils at the school have a migration background. “Within the past year, the violence has increased so much that we now had to take this measure,” said headmaster Doris Unzeit.

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.

Honor Killing Is Not Just a Muslim Problem: Phyllis Chesler, Tablet, Apr. 15, 2018—I co-pioneered the study of violence against women in the late 1960s. I focused on women living in North America and Europe who had been psychiatrically diagnosed and hospitalized; were the victims of rape, sexual harassment, incest, intimate partner battering, pornography and prostitution.

“NOTHING TO DO WITH ISLAM”? — W. WILLED IGNORANCE IN FACE OF MURDEROUS ISLAMIST VIOLENCE

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail: rob@isranet.org

 

 

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Whose Islam?: Mark Steyn, National Review, Oct. 14, 2013 —  The "war" part of the war on terror is pretty much over, and we're now fighting it culturally, rhetorically. Which is not something we do well.                                                                                                                 The Racism of Radical Islam: Raymond Ibrahim, Algemeiner, Nov. 19, 2013 — Arguing that Muslim blood is more precious than infidel blood, Muslim clerics in and out of Sudan are outraged because a Sudanese court has condemned a Muslim man to death—simply because he murdered a non-Muslim, the American diplomat John Granville on January 1, 2008.

Canada’s Growing Islamic Radicalization a Warning Sign: Abigail R. Esman, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Nov. 4, 2013  — The man who calls himself Abu Muslim sits with his fellow fighters, members of the group Katiba al Muhajireen, and raises his rifle for the camera.

Islam in the Arab Spring: Dr. Mordechai Nisan, Nov., 2013— From the beginning, the Arab Spring radiated an Islamic flavor, but that was only part of the story.

 

On Topic Links

The Taliban’s Enablers: A.J. Caschetta, Middle East Quarterly, Fall, 2013

How Historic Revisionism Justifies Islamic Terrorism: Raymond Ibrahim, Frontpage, Oct. 31, 2013

Jihadi Clouds Over Bangladesh: Tarek Fatah, Sun News Network, Nov. 6, 2013

Turkey’s Trajectory – Islamism: Robert G. Kaufman, Orange County Register, Nov. 1, 2013

 

               

                                               

WHOSE ISLAM?

Mark Steyn

National Review, Oct. 14, 2013

 

The "war" part of the war on terror is pretty much over, and we're now fighting it culturally, rhetorically. Which is not something we do well. Take the British prime minister and his traditional nothing-to-do-with-Islam statement, issued in the wake of the Kenyan shopping-mall carnage: These appalling terrorist attacks that take place where the perpetrators claim they do it in the name of a religion: They don't. They do it in the name of terror, violence and extremism and their warped view of the world. They don't represent Islam, or Muslims in Britain or anywhere else in the world.

 

Same with the Muslims who beheaded a British soldier, Drummer Rigby, on a London street in broad daylight. On that occasion, David Cameron assured us that the unfortunate incident was "a betrayal of Islam. . . . There is nothing in Islam that justifies this truly dreadful act." How does he know? Mr. Cameron is not (yet) a practicing Muslim. A self-described "vaguely practicing" Anglican, he becomes rather less vague and unusually forceful and emphatic when the subject turns to Islam. At the Westgate mall in Nairobi, the terrorists separated non-Muslim hostages from Muslims and permitted the latter to leave if they could recite a Muslim prayer—a test I doubt Mr. Cameron could have passed, for all his claims to authority on what is and isn't Islamic. So the perpetrators seem to think it's something to do with Islam—and, indeed, something to do with Muslims in the United Kingdom, given that the terrorists included British subjects (as well as U.S. citizens).

 

It was a busy weekend for Nothing to Do with Islam. Among the other events that were nothing to do with Islam were the murder of over 85 Pakistani Christians at All Saints' Church in Peshawar and the beheading of Ricardo Dionio in the Philippines by BIFF, the aggressively acronymic breakaway faction (the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters) from the more amusingly acronymic MILF (the Moro Islamic Liberation Front). Despite a body count higher than Kenya, the Pakistani slaughter received barely a mention in the Western media. You'd be hard put to find an Anglican church in England with a big enough congregation on a Sunday morning to kill 85 worshipers therein, but in Peshawar, a 99 percent Muslim city, the few remaining Christians are not of the "vaguely practicing" Cameron variety. Viewed from London, however, they've already lost: One day there will be no Christians in Peshawar and the city will be 100 percent Muslim. It may be "nothing to do with Islam," but it's just the way it is: We accept the confessional cleansing of Pakistan, as we do of Egypt, because it's part of "the Muslim world." Nairobi, on the other hand, is not, and a murderous assault on an upscale shopping mall patronized by Kenya's elite and wealthy secular expats gets far closer to the comfort zone wherein David Cameron "vaguely practices": In a "clash of civilizations" in which one side doesn't want to play, a shattered church has less symbolic resonance than a shattered frozen-yogurt eatery.

 

On this side of the Atlantic, meanwhile, the Canadian branch of the Islamic Society of North America lost its charitable status after it was revealed to be funding all that jihad stuff that's nothing to do with Islam. This presented a small problem for Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal party, son of Pierre, and on course to be the Queen's dimmest prime minister of her six-decade reign: Where David Cameron is a silky, slippery deceiver who surely knows better, young Justin seems genuinely to believe the mush he serves up. Asked to explain his recent photo-op at the now-discredited ISNA, he replied: "Part of my job is to speak with as many Canadians as possible and talk to people about the kinds of shared values we have."

 

I don't suppose M. Trudeau really means he "shares values" with terrorism supporters, but he does get to the heart of the problem: To put it at its mildest, there seem to be insufficient "shared values" between Western societies and a not-insignificant number of young Muslim men who are nominally and legally citizens thereof. One survivor of the Westgate mall said, "I don't understand why you would shoot a five-year-old child." But what's to understand? The child was shot because he was not Muslim. Five-year-olds died at All Saints' Church for the same reason—because, even in a town that's 99 percent Muslim, a non-Muslim kindergartner is a provocation. Crazy, huh? Yet it is not inconceivable that the man who executed the five-year-old at the Westgate mall was one of those "British subjects" or "U.S. citizens." That's to say, he's not some primitive from the fringes of the map but someone who has grown up in the same society as Justin Trudeau and decided that Justin's "shared values" are worthless.

 

To be charitable to Mr. Cameron, he is trying to point out that very few Muslims want to stare a five-year-old in the eye and pull the trigger. But, likewise, very few of them want to do anything serious—in their mosques and madrassahs—about the culture that incubates such men. The prime minister is betting that all the clever chaps like him can keep the lid on and hold things to what, at the height of the Northern Irish "Troubles," cynical British officials privately called "an acceptable level of violence." A combined weekend corpse count of 150 is, apparently, "acceptable"—or at any rate not sufficiently unacceptable to prompt any reconsideration of a British, Canadian, and European immigration policy that makes Islam the principal source of Western population growth.

 

But don't worry: As John McCain says of our Syrian "allies," "Allahu akbar" simply means "Thank God." Thank God for that.

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THE RACISM OF RADICAL ISLAM

Raymond Ibrahim

Algemeiner, Nov. 19, 2013 

 

 

Arguing that Muslim blood is more precious than infidel blood, Muslim clerics in and out of Sudan are outraged because a Sudanese court has condemned a Muslim man to death—simply because he murdered a non-Muslim, the American diplomat John Granville on January 1, 2008.

 

A 2009 report offers context: The court had sentenced the men [originally four] to death in June for killing Granville and his driver in January 2008, but the sentence was cancelled in August after [his Muslim driver] Abbas’s father forgave the men. Under Islamic law, the victim’s family has the right to forgive the murderer, ask for compensation (fedia) or demand execution. Granville’s mother, Jane Granville, at the time had asked for the men’s execution, but her letter was rejected because it was not notarized. The judge said the sentence was confirmed because Granville’s family, from Buffalo, in northern New York State, had requested it. Then, in 2010, the four men convicted of murder, in the words of the U.S. State Department, “escaped from a maximum security prison” in Khartoum. One of the men, Abdul Ra’uf Abu Zaid Muhammad Hamza, was recaptured and is currently in prison awaiting execution.

 

Finding the punishment unjust, several international Islamic organizations, most recently, the London-based Islamic Media Observatory, have been trying to commute the death sentence, mostly by arguing for Abdul Ra’uf’s “human rights.” However, the Legitimate League of Scholars and Preachers in Sudan (an influential body of Muslim clerics) issued a statement last month titled “Let no Muslim be killed because of an infidel”—a verbatim quote, in fact, from Islam’s prophet Muhammad—revealing the true reason why so many Muslims are trying to overturn the death sentence. The Arabic language statement begins by asserting that “Allah has honored human beings over creation and multiplied the Muslim’s honor over the infidel’s, because Islam elevates and nothing is elevated above it. The value of the blood of Muslims is equal, or should be, but not so the value of the blood of others.”  (The Koran itself, e.g., 2:221, confirms this idea that even the lowliest Muslim is superior to any non-Muslim.)

 

Next, the statement quotes the clear words of Islam’s prophet, Muhammad, as recorded in a canonical hadith: “Let no Muslim be killed because of an infidel.”  It then elaborates on the meaning of this statement by quoting from “the consensus of Islamic scholars,” or ijma‘, a legitimate source of Islamic jurisprudence.

The Legitimate League of Scholars and Preachers then elaborate on the prophet’s injunction as meaning that, when judging between Muslims and non-Muslims, under no circumstances are Muslim rulers ever permitted to execute Muslims – even if they murder non-Muslims in cold blood, including those groups that are nominally “protected” by Islamic law, such as dhimmis (subjugated, tribute-paying non-Muslims) and foreign non-Muslims granted aman, or a pledge of security to enter Muslim lands. Finally, after chastising the offending judge of North Khartoum’s felony court, Sayed Ahmed al-Badri, the statement concludes by warning all Muslim rulers and judges “to fear Allah, to apply Allah’s law in every matter, whether big or small, to seek justice according to the consensus of Islamic scholars, not to seek to please the infidels, not to rush the verdict, and to know that Allah prefers the annihilation of the entire earth over the spilling of the blood of one innocent Muslim” (emphasis added).

 

When American soldiers desecrated copies of the Koran – a book – media maelstroms occurred and grandstanding politicians condemned it. But when the scholars of Islam, quoting the words and teachings of their prophet, openly assert that the blood of non-Muslims is cheaper than the blood of Muslims – and hence the murder of an American “infidel” by a Muslim cannot be punished blood-for-blood – such hate-filled supremacy and racist-like contempt is not even deemed worth reporting by Western media or condemned by Western politicians.

 

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CANADA’S GROWING ISLAMIC RADICALIZATION A WARNING SIGN

Abigail R. Esman

Investigative Project on Terrorism, Nov. 4, 2013

 

The man who calls himself Abu Muslim sits with his fellow fighters, members of the group Katiba al Muhajireen, and raises his rifle for the camera. He has come to Aleppo to fight, he tells the man who has come to interview him for Britain's Channel 4. A Muslim convert, he – like some 100 others joining the jihad in Syria's civil war – has left his family at home. In Canada. The United States' neighbor to the north is experiencing a radicalization problem, according to a confidential report by the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service (CSIS). Made public earlier this year through a Freedom of Information Act request filed by Canada's National Post, the report confirms that "Islamist extremists are now radicalizing Canadians at a large number of venues," ranging from mosques to dinner parties and even the family home.

"Parents have radicalized children, husbands have radicalized wives (and some wives have radicalized or supported their husbands," the study's authors contend, "and siblings have radicalized each other."

 

Indeed, according to one assessment cited by the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), "with the exception of the United States, there are more terrorist groups active in Canada today than in any other country in the world." And while most of their activity is based abroad, a study published earlier this year by the International Institute for Counterterrorism (IIC) shows that 25 individuals have developed or been involved in four plots against Canadian targets since 2006. Of these, eight were Canadian born; three were converts to Islam; and 20 – nearly all – were between the ages of 18 and 35. Most were affiliated with al-Qaida. Among them: The "Toronto 18," arrested in 2006 for plans to behead Canada's prime minister, along with a host of other schemes, including bombing the Toronto Stock Exchange, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service office in Toronto, and other targets; A group of three Muslims, Hiva Mohammad Alizadeh, Misbahuddin Ahmed, and Khurram Syed Sher – a physician and former "Canadian Idol" contestant – accused in 2010 of plotting terrorist attacks and making bombs; Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jaser, arrested earlier this year on charges they were planning to bomb an Amtrak/Via passenger train running between New York and Toronto; John Nuttail and Amanda Korody, converts charged with planning to celebrate Canada Day (July 1) this year by using pressure cooker bombs to blow up the British Columbia Provincial legislature in Victoria.

 

This does not include the hundreds more suspected of taking part in terrorist attacks abroad, including at least 100 of Canada's jihadists who, like Abu Muslim, have headed off to join the fighting in Syria. (Abu Muslim is now suspected to have taken part in an attack on an Abu Duhur military airport this past summer.) Notably, while the Muslim population of Canada is smaller than that of the U.S., more Canadian than American Muslims are thought to have joined radical groups in the Syrian conflict. But it isn't just in Syria: Canadian radicals have also been involved in attacks elsewhere: the suicide bombing of a courthouse in Mogodishu; the bombing, by members of Hizballah, of a bus in Bulgaria carrying a group of Israeli tourists; and the attack on a gas plant in January which killed hundreds of refinery workers in Algeria. Most visible, and certainly among the most active of these Muslim extremists, is the controversial Khadr family, most or all of whom are alleged to be members of al-Qaida. (Father Ahmed Said Khadr, who emigrated to Canada in 1977 from Egypt and was killed battling Pakistani forces in Afghanistan in 2003, was believed to be an al-Qaida founding member and financier.)

 

Not all of Canada's Islamic terrorist activity involves violence, however. Financing for foreign terror groups has a long history in the country, as terror expert Ilan Berman testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Homeland Security in 2011. Other Canadian investigations during the 1990s also revealed connections to Hizballah that "reportedly includes the procurement of funds, human smuggling, especially into the United States, and the provision of safe houses from which future attacks can be plotted." (Whether or not those connections still exist today is unclear.)

 

What does seem clear, however, is that the radicalization of Canadian Muslims is not only continuing, but growing, as the ICC report indicates. It is a problem moderate Muslims can sense as well; Algerian-born Zakaria Fellah, a U. S. citizen who lived in Canada from 2000-2001, says that there are "hotbeds for – I am careful not to say extremism, but certainly an orthodox view of Islam." Indeed, several high-profile honor killings in Canada, as the IIC report also notes, would seem to confirm the solid presence of orthodox radical Muslims within the Canadian Muslim community.

 

Yet much of the blame for this, Fellah believes, stems not only from the Muslim community (though several mosques in Canada are known to be connected to extremist groups) but "the lax codes, the accommodation, the multiculturalism charter." That would, for instance, partly explain the 2004 efforts to introduce Sharia tribunals in Ottawa – a move shockingly supported by former attorney general Marion Boyd. (And given that a 2011 survey by Leuprecht and Winn showed that as many as 88 percent of Canadian Muslims support the idea of integrating Sharia law into Canadian society. , the subject is likely to come up again soon. The outcome is anyone's guess. That alone is an issue that other countries will probably confront as well in the near future; and it stems, in part, from the ease with which radicalization can take place. And it's not just in Canada; as the de-classified CSIS report states, since "radicalization involves the mutual confirmation of extreme views among a group of people, it can take place wherever these people gather" – or, in other words, just about anywhere. That viewpoint is not foreign to the international counterterrorism community, of course: it accounts for such oft-debated security measures as the monitoring of mosques and tapping of telephones – actions many condemn as "undemocratic."

 

And yet, consider that the authors of the International Institute for Counterterrorism review have come to one very clear conclusion: that "stopping radicalization is an impossible task." If they are right, then the challenges to world democracy may be greater than we think.

Contents

 

ISLAM IN THE ARAB SPRING

Dr. Mordechai Nisan

Nov, 2013

 

From the beginning, the Arab Spring radiated an Islamic flavor, but that was only part of the story. There is a not unjustified tendency to see the hand of Islam at every stop and turn in these heady days of Muslim assaults and advances, and while Islam’s agenda must be studiously monitored and analyzed, some other factors in the Middle East must be assessed as well.

 

  1. Ethnicity competes with and contains the feasibility of a complete Islamic conquest. In Iraq and Syria, the robust Muslim-lite Kurds have proven robust in rejecting Arab nationalism and Islam alike. In Algeria, the Kabyle Berbers assert their own secular national spirit against sharia. The extraordinary case of southern Sudan’s secession is a resolute statement of Christian/animist African tribes successfully slipping from the vindictive Arab crush of oppressive jihadic Islam.
  2.  
  3. Culture as a variegated rich cloth of human liberty and individuality plays a role in checking the monolithic supremacy of Islam. In Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood was rather promptly thrown out of power, there is a large repertoire of cultural assets – the press, music, theatre, and literature – that parallel the Islamic identity of the country. In Lebanon, the creative and spirited Christians, especially the Maronites among them, have been leaders of cultural creativity in scorning the repressive character of much of Shiite Islam in the land of the cedars.

 

  1. Tribalism as a native framework of loyalty and identity precedes the state structure and the Islamic religion. In Libya and Yemen, tribal resilience preempts the extensive religious pretentions of Islam to organize public and legal affairs.

 

  1. Politics in the name of the incumbent regime denotes withstanding destabilizing religious rumblings. In Jordan the Hashemite dynasty, for all of its frail legitimacy, has deflected the challenge of the Muslim Brotherhood, by neutralizing Islam as a political principle. Much the same could be said of the Moroccan monarchy deftly keeping fundamentalist Islam at bay. Among Palestinians, the Fatah/Hamas split demonstrates the PLO’s unease with accepting Islam alone as the legitimizing stamp of Palestinian peoplehood.

Islam is undoubtedly strong and rampant, but is yet stymied in launching successful religious revolutions throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Religion has its place of honor in the minds of men and in organizing their need for something meaningful and uplifting in their lives. The transcendent and the realm beyond stir up imagination and direct us to a religious belief. But other forces are part of the public arena of ideas and levers of power. Religion is much but not everything in the Arab Spring, whose sprightliness is not Islamic at all.

(Dr. Mordechai Nisan is Emeritus Professor at the Hebrew University                                  of Jerusalem and a CIJR Academic Fellow)

 

On Topic Links

 

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Rob Coles, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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THE ARAB “FALL”: TUNISIA AFTER ENNAHDA, HOPE; EGYPT AFTER MORSI, MAYBE; FOR THE REST — LYBIA, YEMEN, SYRIA — A MESS

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Contents:         

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The Fall of Tunisia's IslamistsMichael J. Totten, World Affairs, Oct. 4, 2013—Ennahda, the Tunisian Islamist party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, has been forced from power by an overwhelming secular opposition. I didn’t know this was going to happen, but I had a pretty strong sense that it would.
 
Egypt and Tunisia: A tale of Two UprisingsOsama Al Sharif, Gulf News, Oct. 10, 2013—Tunisia, the birthplace of Arab Spring, is providing an alternative to confronting the rule of the Islamists than that of Egypt. The two countries offer important contrasts and parallels over the course that was taken in the aftermath of the peaceful unseating of two authoritarian rulers: Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt.
 
Premier's Brief 'Arrest' Highlights Anarchy in LibyaGhaith Shennib & Ulf Laessing, Yahoo! News, Oct. 10, 2013 —Libyan gunmen on the government payroll seized the prime minister in his nightshirt on Thursday and held him for several hours, in a new manifestation of the anarchy that has followed the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi.

Clerics: Military Alone Won’t Stop Al-Qaeda in YemenIona Craig,National Yemen, Oct. 9th, 2013—After more than a decade of U.S. counterterrorism efforts and drone strikes in Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a potent and growing force. Some say it is time for a change in strategy.
 
On Topic Links
 
Tunisia’s Government Falls, Arab Democracy Is BornNoah Feldman, Bloomberg, Sept 30, 2013
The 'Arab Winter' Will Be Cold but Calm in Tunisia – in Egypt it Will Be ViolentZvi Bar'el, Ha’aretz, Oct. 6, 2013
Since Benghazi Attack, Libya Worse off, Families in LurchMathieu Galtier and Jabeen Bhatti,USA Today, Sept. 11, 2013
 

THE FALL OF TUNISIA'S ISLAMISTS
Michael J. Totten
World Affairs, Oct. 4, 2013
 
Ennahda, the Tunisian Islamist party affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, has been forced from power by an overwhelming secular opposition. I didn’t know this was going to happen, but I had a pretty strong sense that it would. Tunisia is a modern, pluralistic, civilized place. It’s striking liberal compared with most Arab countries. A person couldn’t possibly show up in Tunis from Cairo and think the two are remotely alike. Egypt is at one extreme of the Arab world’s political spectrum, and Tunisia is at the other.
 
The Islamists won less than half the vote two years ago, and the only reason they did even that well is because Ennahda ran on an extremely moderate platform. They sold themselves to voters as Tunisia’s version of Germany’s Christian Democrats. It was a lie, of course, and once Tunisians figured that out, support for Ennahda cratered.
 
The assassination of leftist politician Mohamed Brahmi this summer pushed the country over the edge. Ennahda didn’t kill the guy. A Salafist terrorist cell did the deed. But Ennahda has been playing footsie with the Salafist fringe while the rest of the country recoils in horror, so Ennahda is getting blamed too.
 
Unlike in Egypt, the Islamists weren’t thrown out by force. Tunisia doesn’t have an Egyptian-style military that’s big and powerful and ideological enough to occupy the country and rule it through a junta. Also unlike in Egypt, Tunisia has a critical mass of secular citizens who won’t put up with even a whiff of theocracy.
 
The other reason Ennahda’s partial victory was possible two years ago is because they had an organizational advantage after the dictator Ben Ali fell. They had the mosques while the secular parties had nothing. And since the Islamists were smart enough to pretend to be moderates, they managed to get moderate people to vote for them.
 
That’s over now. In the meantime, the liberal and leftist parties have had a lot more time to get organized and merge into larger entities so they can avoid the vote splitting that hurt them so much last time. When a single religious party squares off against dozens of secular parties, it doesn’t take a political or mathematical genius to figure out which will get the most votes.
 
Tunisia is the one and only Arab Spring country that I’ve been cautiously optimistic about. Libya is too much of a mess, Egypt was a lost cause begin with, and Syria is in worse shape than Bosnia in the mid-1990s. Tunisia, though, is doing as well as could be expected. And get this: now that Ennahda is out, not a single post-Arab Spring country is ruled by Islamists. All of them are secular now.
 
Contents

EGYPT AND TUNISIA: A TALE OF TWO UPRISINGS
Osama Al Sharif
Gulf News, Oct. 10, 2013
 
Tunisia, the birthplace of Arab Spring, is providing an alternative to confronting the rule of the Islamists than that of Egypt. The two countries offer important contrasts and parallels over the course that was taken in the aftermath of the peaceful unseating of two authoritarian rulers: Zine Al Abidine Bin Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt. The two countries still hold hope for achieving the goals of the Arab Spring such as democracy, social and economic justice and political pluralism.
 
Post uprising elections in Tunisia and Egypt brought the Muslim Brotherhood to power for the first time. The two countries charted their own course towards democratic transition — electing a president and a national assembly and, in the case of Egypt, writing a new constitution. But soon public resentment of Islamist rule emerged. Worsening economic conditions and fear of attempts to impose a religious state, as part of a grand design by the international Muslim Brotherhood movement, created internal fissures and led to the breakout of violence amid political turmoil.
 
But the similarities end here. In Egypt, bitterness and anger over the authoritarian rule of president Mohammad Mursi forced millions to take to the streets on June 30. Three days later, the army stepped in and deposed Mursi, triggering a chain reaction of protests and violence. The military proposed a political roadmap and a transitional phase that includes amending the constitution, holding fresh legislative elections and electing a new president….
 
Since the July 3 coup, Islamists have continued to stage protests, calling for the restoration of the “legitimate” president. In many cases, violence erupted and people were killed. The sacking of Mursi coincided with the outbreak of violence and terror in northern Sinai, forcing the army to launch the biggest military operation in the peninsula since the 1973 war with Israel. The crackdown on Muslim Brotherhood has polarised Egyptian society. Although weakened as a result of government onslaught, its followers continue to challenge the military. Last Sunday, when Egyptians were supposed to show unity as they celebrated the 40th anniversary of the October 6, 1973, victory over Israel, thousands of Islamists marched to protest the military takeover. By the end of the day, more than 50 were killed. A day later, a series of attacks on soldiers and government offices left scores dead. More than three months since the coup, Egypt remains gripped by crisis and violence.
 
Tunisians offered a different path in dealing with the unpopular rule of the Islamist-led government. The ruling coalition led by Al Nahda Party had rejected calls to resign and hold snap elections. The political crisis deepened following the assassination of two leading opposition members. But unlike their Egyptian counterpart, Tunisia’s Islamists expressed readiness to engage in a national dialogue. The events in Egypt had cast a shadow on Tunisian politics.
 
Eventually, the Islamist leadership in Tunisia bowed to public pressure and accepted the mediation of the country’s powerful labour union. After only a day of talks, a deal was reached under which the ruling coalition would resign to be replaced by a government of independents. The roadmap would also pave the way for drafting a new constitution to be followed by elections. While this process is still nascent — national dialogue will commence soon — it has circumscribed the deepening of a political crisis. It has also spared the country further violence, at least for now.
 
Despite many similarities between the Egyptian and Tunisian cases, the contrasts are clear. Tunisia has a long history of secular rule and the influence of the Islamists is largely limited to rural regions, while the left-leaning opposition is active especially in urban areas. The labour union is strong and well-organised and Tunisia has a vibrant westernised middle class. Al Nahda’s leader, Rashid Gannouchi, has lived in exile in Europe for years and is known for his libertarian ideas on controversial issues. And unlike Egypt, the military has no role in Tunisian politics.
 
The recent deal means that the Islamists will continue to be part of Tunisian politics. They appear to have learned from the Egyptian experience and are now willing to offer compromises. It will be interesting to see the outcome of the current process. Tunisia’s experiment may provide a much-needed vision of the role of political Islam in modern Arab societies.
 
Egypt has chosen a course that aims at extricating the Muslim Brotherhood from public life. That will prove to be an impossible task. The Muslim Brotherhood has endured since the 1930s and previous attempts to crush them. They have lost ground among followers and sympathisers as a result of Mursi’s uncompromising style and lack of experience. But one cannot write them off entirely. While Egypt appears to be trapped in a political vicious circle, Tunisians have opted for a more realistic path that avoids confrontation and chaos. They may still be on their way to achieve the lofty goals of the Arab Spring.
 
Contents


 
PREMIER'S BRIEF 'ARREST' HIGHLIGHTS ANARCHY IN LIBYA
Ghaith Shennib & Ulf Laessing
Yahoo! News, Oct. 10, 2013
 
Libyan gunmen on the government payroll seized the prime minister in his nightshirt on Thursday and held him for several hours, in a new manifestation of the anarchy that has followed the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi. The militia justified its bloodless dawn raid on the luxury hotel where Ali Zeidan lives under notionally tight security by saying he should be investigated for aiding U.S. forces in their capture in Tripoli on Saturday of a Libyan al Qaeda suspect.
 
But the liberal former diplomat has no shortage of critics among Islamist and other leaders for his failure to resolve strikes that have paralyzed oil exports or to impose order since he was elected premier a year ago by the interim legislature. A morning of negotiations while Zeidan was held at an Interior Ministry office by a group employed by the state to provide security in Tripoli ended with him being freed unharmed and then pointedly avoiding criticism of his erstwhile captors.
 
He called for "wisdom" and national unity and praised former anti-Gaddafi rebel groups for helping secure his release. Underlining the sense of chaos generated by such forces, still under arms two years after Gaddafi fell, members of the militia which seized Zeidan tried to deny their group's involvement. "His kidnapping clearly indicates that his government is not cohesive, and that not only is his government not in control of the country, but that he is not in control of his government," said Geoff Porter of North Africa Risk consulting.
 
World oil prices rose more than 1 percent on speculation that Libyan crude experts would not quickly return to normal after weeks of disruption. Able to supply about 2 percent of world demand, and also a big supplier of gas to Europe, Libya's six million people can look forward to considerable prosperity, but rivalries over control of resources has hampered investment….
 
Libyans, especially from the restive east, far from Tripoli, formed a significant component of al Qaeda and other fighters while Gaddafi was in power. Some benefited from asylum in the West as opponents of Gaddafi. Some, too, were sent back to face torture in his jails after he made peace with the West. The fall of the veteran ruler, who was killed in fighting on October 20, 2011, encouraged some radical Islamists to return home, while others emerged from prison. Some of these are now cooperating with other groups in Africa, worrying Western powers who see an increasing Islamist threat, from Nigeria in the West, through the Sahara desert, to the likes of Somalia's al Shabaab in the east – the group behind a bloody attack on a shopping mall in Kenya last month.
 
The incident, which follows days of Islamist anger at the U.S. raid which snatched al Qaeda suspect Abu Anas al-Liby, also highlighted the dilemmas facing Libya's government in relations with the United States and other Western powers which provided the air power that helped them end Gaddafi's 42-year rule. Zeidan, who lived in exile in Geneva after defecting from Gaddafi's diplomatic service three decades ago, had expressed surprise and annoyance about the U.S. operation – distancing himself as Islamists vowed reprisals against U.S. interests.
 
But that failed to convince his critics, who said they took Zeidan into custody because Kerry had said the Libya government had been informed of the mission which seized Liby outside his house and flew him to a U.S. warship for questioning. Zeidan made no mention of the issue after his release. The group which bustled him from the seafront Corinthia Hotel, a heavily guarded complex housing diplomats and senior government officials, was the Operations Room of Libya's Revolutionaries, which has criticized Zeidan in recent weeks….
 
A visit by Zeidan last week to neighboring Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood government was ousted by the army in July, also angered Libyan Islamists who accused the prime minister of endorsing the overthrow of President Mohamed Mursi. Zeidan was among those who persuaded French and British leaders to support the 2011 revolt against Gaddafi. Last month, on a visit to London, he appealed for more Western support to rein in the former rebels.
 
After the Arab Spring revolts that ousted several autocratic leaders, Libya's transition has been one of the messiest. It still has no new constitution, Zeidan faces a possible vote of no confidence and its transitional assembly, the General National Congress, is paralyzed by divisions between the secular National Forces Alliance and the Muslim Brotherhood. "Is this a wake up call?" asked one Western diplomat. "Will it frighten the political class into understanding that they can't carry on squabbling and that they have to work together?"

Contents


 
CLERICS: MILITARY ALONE WON’T STOP AL-QAEDA IN YEMEN
Iona Craig
National Yemen, October 9th, 2013
 
After more than a decade of U.S. counterterrorism efforts and drone strikes in Yemen, al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula remains a potent and growing force. Some say it is time for a change in strategy. Imam Abu al-Harith Omar bin Salem Bawazeer said he is one of many Muslim clerics who are part of a campaign to persuade Yemenis to reject the militancy and jihadist ideology al-Qaeda spreads in Yemen. He sees signs of success. “These efforts not only have a significant role in raising awareness but have led to some coming back … they abandoned this (al-Qaeda) ideology,” he said.
 
But he worries that the military-heavy tactics of the U.S.-backed central government in Sanaa are pushing people into the arms of militancy. “Unfortunately, our efforts have not been supported by the state,” Bawazeer said.
 
Mukalla is a picturesque port on the eastern edge of the Gulf of Aden famous for its abundant fish. Traditional wooden boats bob in clear green water along the town’s crumbling corniche overlooked by the former palace of long-gone sultans. Al-Qaeda has had a presence in the region for a decade at least, often recruiting from the thousands of mujahedin who returned home after fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. The Yemeni government has partnered with the U.S. military to crush the group.
 
Al-Qaeda in the Arabia Peninsula as the Yemen branch calls itself has not been wiped out. In fact, it has been described by the Obama administration as the most lethal wing of the core group that attacked New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001. Its self-stated goal is to impose by an Islamic cleric-run caliphate in Yemen and the Middle East free of non-Muslim influence. AQAP has been accused of a failed 2009 assassination attempt on a Saudi prince and the British ambassador in Sanaa. In May 2012, a suicide bomber killed more than 100 Yemeni soldiers rehearsing for a military parade.
 
AQAP has also been implicated in Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab’s failed 2009 Christmas Day bombing and Faisal Shahzad’s attempted 2010 Times Square bombing, along with a failed plot to down cargo flights bound for Chicago. More recently it has shown it can operate militarily as well despite joint U.S.-Yemen attacks against it. This month AQAP allegedly launched a coordinated attack against a military base in Mukalla. Fighters dressed in Yemeni security forces uniforms seized the building and killed several soldiers before being driven out.
 
Long before the U.S.’ drone program in Yemen began in earnest in 2011, and five years prior to the 2009 creation of AQAP, Bawazeer began warning of the threat posed by the ideology of al-Qaeda and its insurgent arm, Ansar al-Sharia.
 
An imam and head of an Islamic institute for Koranic and Sharia studies based in Mukalla, the provincial capital of Hadhramaut, Bawazeer along with scholars and tribal sheikhs have been running programs for Yemeni youth who are susceptible to AQAP’s message justifying violence. Bawazeer and his colleagues said an alternative solution must be found to the primarily military one used by the government. But he said their warnings and labors have not been heeded by the government and the threat has spread.
 
John Brennan, Obama’s former chief counterterrorism adviser and now head of the CIA, noted recently that the number of al-Qaeda militants in Yemen had risen from a few hundred in 2010 to “more than a thousand” in April 2012. However, Yemen’s government said it has not failed to act against the dissemination of al-Qaeda’s ideology.
 
Jabri Ibrahim Hassan Kamil, general director of preaching and guidance for a government ministry, said state-run programs training imams to promote moderate Islam have been used successfully across the country along with educational and media campaigns against al-Qaeda’s extreme interpretation of Islam.
“If it weren’t for these (government) efforts, al-Qaeda would now be pervasive in the country,” Kamil said. “The aim is to disseminate moderation and rationalize the religious discourse.”
 
Bawazeer said he has repeatedly been rebuffed when he has asked for help from the government and international organizations to rehabilitate former al-Qaeda militants and prevent new recruits through media campaigns, education programs and cultural activities. He said his work along with fellow imams and tribal leaders prevented insurgents from taking over towns in the southern provinces of Abyan and neighboring Shabwah when security broke down during Yemen’s political uprising of 2011. But some have paid with their lives.
 
Salim Ahmed bin Ali Jaber, a friend of Bawazeer’s, denounced the militants during Friday prayers in an August 2012 sermon to his congregation in the small village of Khashamir in northern Hadhramaut. He challenged al-Qaeda to show him “one piece of evidence in Islam that said killing is justified,” according to Salim’s brother-in-law, Faisal bin Ali Jaber. Faisal bin Ali Jaber said he tried to persuade him to tone down his challenge to the militants but Salim Ahmed bin Ali Jaber told him he was determined to speak out. “If I don’t use my position to make it clear to my congregation that this ideology is wrong, who will?” Salim told his brother-in-law.
 
The following evening, Faisal said Salim was killed by what he said was a U.S. drone strike as Salim stood outside the village mosque talking to three strangers who had come looking for him. The strike may have targeted the strangers, but no one knows because the United States will not comment on strikes. Southern Hadhramaut’s security director, Fahami Mahroos, agrees that the response to terrorism can’t depend on military or law enforcement, a sentiment expressed by President Obama as well. Mahroos said the strategy against al-Qaeda needs to be a dual offensive: firstly tackling their ideology via religious scholars and secondly with military action.
 
But he conceded that there is a huge lack of cooperation between the central government and local community leaders in confronting the extremist ideology. “The main responsibility should be laid on the local people and community leaders,” Mahroos said. “Maybe the government doesn’t have the skills or the abilities to do this.”
 
The Obama administration strategy has largely been to keep taking out senior leaders of al-Qaeda, Katherine Zimmerman, a scholar with the American Enterprise Institute, told the House Committee on Homeland Security Subcommittee on Counterterrorism and Intelligence last month. In Yemen, the strategy has killed senior leader Anwar al Awlaki, USS Cole bombers Abdul Munim al Fathani and Fahd al Quso, AQAP senior operative Mohamed Said al Umdah, spiritual leader Adil al Abab, and deputy leader Said al Shihri. But AQAP has still managed to expand during that time, Zimmerman said.
 
Bawazeer said two things he believes are needed to reverse the trend and challenge al-Qaeda’s ideology: a guarantee for those who leave al-Qaeda and go through rehabilitation won’t be automatically re-arrested, and support from international aid agencies to fund projects, small businesses and help provide jobs. “As long as these two things were guaranteed then things would be easier,” he said. Frank Cilluffo, director of the Homeland Security Institute at George Washington University, agreed in testimony before Congress last month. “Ideology is the lifeblood that sustains al-Qaeda,” he said.
 
Bawazeer may not be there to challenge that ideology. He and several of his family members have received multiple death threats from al-Qaeda because of his work and don’t want to be involved, Bawazeer said.
“Now I’m really discouraged to go on,” he said. “I’ve stopped.”
 

Tunisia’s Government Falls, Arab Democracy Is BornNoah Feldman, Bloomberg, Sept 30, 2013—If you blinked, you missed it, but the democratically elected Islamist government of an Arab country just promised to resign peacefully, with no threat of a coup d’etat in sight.
 
The 'Arab Winter' Will Be Cold but Calm in Tunisia – in Egypt it Will Be ViolentZvi Bar'el, Ha’aretz, Oct. 6, 2013—Muslim Brotherhood supporters gathered on Friday in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to continue their public protest against the military regime. Like every other Friday over the past three months, protesters were arrested and sent to the same prison cells that house their movement's leaders.
 
Since Benghazi Attack, Libya Worse off, Families in LurchMathieu Galtier and Jabeen BhattiUSA Today, Sept. 11, 2013—A year to the day since an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the security situation in Libya has gone from bad to worse, say locals and Libya analysts.
 
 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

ERDOGAN, SUPPORTING HAMAS, BLOCKING ISRAEL, PUSHING “REFORMS”, IS “TAKING TURKEY BACK 1,000 YEARS”

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

 Contents:         

Download today's Isranet Daily Briefing.pdf

Erdogan Taking Turkey back 1,000 Years with ‘Reforms’Amir Taheri, New York Post, Oct. 4, 2013—Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan this week unveiled his long-promised “reform package” to “chart the path of the nation” for the next 10 years — that is, through 2023, 100 years after the founding of Turkey as a republic. Which is ironic, since Erdogan seems bent on abolishing that republic in all but name.

Why is Turkey Sheltering a Hamas Operative?Jonathan Schanzer, Real Clear World, Sept. 18, 2013—Turkey is a member of NATO and an aspiring member of the European Union — but it has one alliance that sets it apart from its Western counterparts: It's an important base of operations for at least one high-ranking member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.
 
Lost in the Pipeline: Tracking Jihadists from Turkey to SyriaIdris Emen, Al-Monitor, Oct. 1, 2013—Amid already controversial allegations that Turkey is aiding armed groups in the Syrian civil war, it has emerged that young men between 18 and 30 are being recruited to fight in Syria, mainly from the province of Adiyaman, but also from Bingol, Batman, Urfa, Diyarbakir and Bitlis.
 
Despite Apology, Turkey Blocking Israel-NATO CooperationHerb Keinon, Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12, 2013—Nearly six months after Israel’s apology to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident, Ankara continues to completely block any NATO cooperation with Israel, Greece’s Ambassador Spiros Lampridis told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.
 
On Topic Links
 
Has Turkey Become the 'Pakistan of the Middle East'?Kadri Gursel, Al-Monitor, Sept. 23, 2013 
The Real Beneficiaries of Erdogan’s DemocracySemih Idiz, Al-Monitor-Turkey Pulse, Oct. 3 2013
Turkish Military Linked to Christian MurdersBarbara G. Baker, World Watch Monitor, Sept. 26, 2013
Turkey Protests New Police AggressionVeli Sirin, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 19, 2013
 

 

ERDOGAN TAKING TURKEY BACK 1,000 YEARS WITH ‘REFORMS’
Amir Taheri

New York Post, Oct. 4, 2013

 
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan this week unveiled his long-promised “reform package” to “chart the path of the nation” for the next 10 years — that is, through 2023, 100 years after the founding of Turkey as a republic. Which is ironic, since Erdogan seems bent on abolishing that republic in all but name. His plan to amend the Constitution to replace the long-tested parliamentary system with a presidential one (with himself as president and commander-in-chief) is only part of it. He’d also undo the key achievement of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of modern Turkey.
 
In the 1920s, Ataturk created the Turkish nation from the debris of the Ottoman Empire. Ataturk and the military and intellectual elite around him replaced Islam as the chief bond between the land’s many ethnic communities with Turkish nationhood. Over the past 90 years, this project has not had 100 percent success. Nevertheless, it managed to create a strong sense of bonding among a majority of the citizens. Now Erdogan is out to undermine that in two ways.
 
First, his package encourages many Turks to redefine their identities as minorities. For example, he has discovered the Lezgin minority and promises to allow its members to school their children in “their own language.”  Almost 20 percent of Turkey’s population may be of Lezgin and other Caucasian origin (among them the Charkess, Karachai, Udmurt and Dagestanis). Yet almost all of those have long forgotten their origins and melted in the larger pot of Turkish identity. What is the point of encouraging the re-emergence of minority identities?
 
Meanwhile, Erdogan is offering little to minorities that have managed to retain their identity over the past nine decades. Chief among these are the Kurds, 15 percent of the population. Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, the AKP, partly owes its successive election victories to the Kurds. Without the Kurdish vote, AKP could not have collected more than 40 percent of the votes. Yet his package offers Kurds very little.
 
They would be allowed to use their language, but not to write it in their own alphabet. Nor could they use “w” and other letters that don’t exist in the Turkish-Latin alphabet but are frequent in Kurdish. Kurdish leaders tell me that the package grants no more than 5 percent of what they had demanded in long negotiations with Erdogan.
 
Another real minority that gets little are the Alevites, who practice a moderate version of Islam and have acted as a chief support for secularism in Turkey. While Erdogan uses the resources of the state to support Sunni Islam, Alevites can’t even get building permits to construct their own places of prayer. Armenians, too, get nothing — not even a promise of an impartial inquest into allegations of genocide against them in 1915.
 
The second leg of Erdogan’s strategy is to re-energize his Islamist base. Hundreds of associations controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood are to take over state-owned mosques, religious sites and endowment properties — thus offering AKP a vast power base across Turkey. Indirectly, Erdogan is telling Turks to stop seeing themselves as citizens of a secular state and, instead, as minorities living in a state dominated by the Sunni Muslim majority. Call it neo-Ottomanism.
 
Erdogan is using “Manzikert” as a slogan to sell his package. Yet this refers to a battle between the Seljuk Sultan Alp Arsalan and the Byzantine Emperor Romanos in 1071, the first great victory of Muslim armies against Christians in Asia Minor. It happened centuries before the Ottoman Turks arrived in the region.
Invoking the battle as a victory of Islam against “the Infidel,” Erdogan supposedly has an eye on the battle’s thousandth anniversary. Does he mean to take Turkey back 1,000 years? The Ottoman system divided the sultan’s subjects according to religious faith into dozens of “mullahs,” each allowed to enforce its own laws in personal and private domains while paying a poll tax.
 
It’s doubtful most Turks share Erdogan’s dream of recreating a mythical Islamic state with himself as caliph, albeit under the title of president. His effort to redefine Turkey’s republican and secular identity may wind up revitalizing it.

Contents


 

WHY IS TURKEY SHELTERING A HAMAS OPERATIVE?
Jonathan Schanzer

Real Clear World, Sept. 18, 2013

Turkey is a member of NATO and an aspiring member of the European Union — but it has one alliance that sets it apart from its Western counterparts: It's an important base of operations for at least one high-ranking member of the Palestinian militant group Hamas.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has made no secret of his desire to transform Hamas into an accepted member of the international community. In 2011, he told a U.S. audience that the Palestinian party was not a terrorist group, and he has repeatedly vowed to visit the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. Ankara has also provided Hamas with significant financial support — as much as $300 million, according to some estimates.

In his attempts to strengthen Hamas, Erdogan has also allowed his country's ties with Israel to suffer. The Turkish leader famously stormed offstage during a contentious 2009 panel with Israeli President Shimon Peres, in protest of Israel's isolation of Gaza. Relations between Ankara and Jerusalem plummeted further the following year, after Turkey's largest NGO dispatched a flotilla that tried to break Israel's blockade of Gaza, leading to clashes between Israeli commandos and [armed] activists that left nine Turks dead.

More recently, however, the two countries have take steps to bury the hatchet. This year, U.S. President Barack Obama facilitated a phone call between Erdogan and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, which began a process that resulted in Israel issuing an apology for the incident and agreeing to pay reparations to the victims' families. Mutual interests in Turkey — namely the ouster of Syria's Bashar al-Assad — have provided additional hope for rapprochement.  However, Erdogan's support for Hamas could become a serious stumbling block for a further warming of ties with Israel. The Turkish premier's ties with Hamas remain as strong as ever — in fact, they appear to have deepened.

Turkey currently serves as the home for Hamas operative Saleh al-Arouri, whom the Palestinian movement's website identifies as the founder of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas's armed wing, in the West Bank. One senior Israeli intelligence official described him to me as "one of the most important leaders of Hamas … involved in a lot of things including finance and logistics."…

Arouri was originally recruited by Hamas while studying at Hebron University, and he has served as a high-ranking military leader for the movement since the early 1990s, according to U.S. court documents. After serving several stretches of jail time, Israel released him in March 2010, possibly as part of an effort to secure the release of captured Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit. After Arouri's release, he served as a political official in Hamas's headquarters in Damascus, where he reportedly played a role in negotiating the Shalit deal, which brokered the soldier's freedom for more than 1,000 Palestinians in Israeli custody.

When Hamas parted ways with Syria over the Assad regime's massacres in the country's ongoing civil war, Arouri left Damascus and is believed to have started operating out of Turkey last year. He has not been shy about his presence there: In March 2012, for example, he was part of a Hamas delegation that took part in talks with Turkish officials, including Erdogan. In October 2012, he traveled from Turkey to Gaza to attend the visit of Qatar's emir to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.

But diplomacy appears to be only one part of Arouri's job. He is also allegedly involved in Hamas's illicit financial networks. In April 2013, Israeli security services announced the arrest of two Palestinians for smuggling money from Jordan to Hamas operatives in the West Bank. During the interrogation, according to the Shin Bet, Israel's internal security service, one smuggler admitted that he was moving the money upon the orders of Arouri.

Presumably, those orders were issued from Turkey. The veteran Israeli analyst of Palestinian affairs, Ehud Ya’ari, recently noted that Turkey is allowing Arouri to direct efforts to rebuild Hamas's terrorism infrastructure in the West Bank. If Arouri really has, as Yaari writes, "taken sole control of the movement's activities in the West Bank," Turkey appears to have in effect taken over from Damascus and become Hamas's West Bank headquarters….

Given the strategic importance of Turkey to the United States, particularly in light of Turkey's role in helping to support the Syrian opposition, officials in Washington have demurred on confronting Ankara. Obama, who has maintained cordial ties with Erdogan, has given no indication that Turkey's relationship with Hamas is a problem for Washington. The only notable exception was a bipartisan congressional letter in May that expressed "concerns about Turkey's relationship with Hamas."

But a recent uptick in Hamas terrorism out of the West Bank may change Washington's calculus. Israel's Shin Bet recently foiled a Hamas plot to establish a terrorist cell in the West Bank city of Hebron. Meanwhile, there have been seven attempted attacks out of the West Bank so far this year, compared with six all last year.

If Arouri is behind the funding, recruiting, or planning of any of these Hamas operations in the West Bank, it will have grave consequences for Turkey. To the letter of the law, Turkey could meet criteria as a state sponsor of terrorism. Strange friends for a nation that views itself part of the Western alliance.
 
Jonathan Schanzer, a former terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Treasury Department, is vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Contents


 

LOST IN THE PIPELINE: TRACKING JIHADISTS FROM TURKEY TO SYRIA
Idris Emen

Al-Monitor, Oct. 1, 2013

 
Amid already controversial allegations that Turkey is aiding armed groups in the Syrian civil war, it has emerged that young men between 18 and 30 are being recruited to fight in Syria, mainly from the province of Adiyaman, but also from Bingol, Batman, Urfa, Diyarbakir and Bitlis. Al-Qaeda, Jabhat al-Nusra and Ahrar al-Sham, as well as pro-Assad groups, have established a presence in Adiyaman city, recruiting young men for jihad or in return for money and taking them to Syria via Kilis, Hatay and Sanliurfa in 15-strong groups.
 
About 200 people are said to have gone to Syria from Adiyaman alone. Relatives are touring camps in various regions in Syria to find their sons. Gang leaders ask for ransom or threaten to kill the recruits when families want to take their sons back. Yet, some have been able to bring their sons home. At the end of a lengthy investigation, we managed to find four families whose sons went to Syria. Our first interview was with M.D., the father of twin brothers O.D. and M.G.D., who left home on Sept. 2, saying they were going to enroll in university.
 
Here is what M.D. said: “Last year, when my sons were preparing for the university exam, they used to go out at night on the pretext of studying. Their behavior began to change in time. They first grew beards and then began telling their sisters to cover their heads. When we discussed the Syrian civil war, they would get angry with me and say: ‘There are things you do not understand. You do not understand Islam. This is jihad and everybody must fight in jihad.’ One day I followed them and saw them going to the home of a fellow in the neighbourhood who goes by the nickname ‘the Haji Butcher.’ When they came back, I asked them why they went there. They said they were meeting with a group of five to six people, called Redd-i Cuma [Friday rejection], to talk about religion and watch videos concerning Muslims. I cautioned them to not go there again. The boys kept performing prayer, but they never went to the mosque. They did not perform the Friday prayer, for instance. They rejected it. Those men tricked my sons by making them watch videos with violent content.”
 
M.D. recounted how he traveled to Aleppo in Syria and went from camp to camp until he tracked his sons down in a villa. “One day my sons telephoned to say they were in Syria, fighting. They said they were there for jihad and told me not to go after them. I went to the police to explain the situation, but they told me my sons were legally adults and did nothing. I went to Aleppo with a guide and toured six camps in four days. There were young men from Adiyaman, Bitlis and Bingol in the camps. I found both my sons in a camp in Aleppo. When I told the gang leader that I had come to take them back, he replied: ‘The boys are fighting for jihad here. Are you an infidel, since you are trying to stop them from jihad? If you show up again here, we’ll shoot and bury you on the spot.’ When I said I wanted to see the boys, he told me they would receive a 45-day training and once it was over, they could go to Adiyaman to see their family if they wished. I couldn’t bring my sons back,” M.D. said.
 
M.T.A. is another father whose son went to Syria. He said his son, 23-year-old Y.A., left home two months ago for Istanbul to work, taking 500 Turkish lira [$250] with him. “I was told that after he went to Istanbul, my son returned to Adiyaman and stayed here two days and then went to Syria, joining the Ahrar al-Sham organization. Once I learned that, I went to Kilis with a guide. I paid the guide to go to Syria and bring my son back. When the guide returned, he told me that my son had joined Ahrar al-Sham and had gone to fight after completing training. The organization changed my son’s name to Abu Musa. I don’t know whether he is dead or alive. My only wish is that they bring my son home as soon as possible,” M.T.A. said, appealing for help from the authorities.
 
F.B., for his part, was able to bring his son back. The 25-year-old A.B., married with two children, went to Syria via Hatay two months ago and joined a pro-Assad group. F.B. had to bargain for his son’s life and pay a ransom. Here is his account of what happened: “A month before Eid el-Fitr, my son suddenly vanished. I learned he went to Aleppo via Hatay. I decided to go to Syria to bring him back. I crossed to Syria from Kilis and paid 150 Turkish lira [$75] to someone to take me to the camps. In Aleppo, I learned that my son was in a camp called Abu Dijla. They let me see a commander there. I told him I had come to take my son home. The commander said my son had gone to fight and he knew nothing about him. I reacted defiantly and his men pointed their guns at me. At that moment, I fainted. When I came round, I saw my son walking toward me in a group of 50 men. They carried weapons and were clad in Arab robes. I passed out again at the sight. When I came back to my senses, they let me see another commander, who asked for a donation. I had only 200 Turkish lira [$100] left. They took the money and let my son go. As we were leaving the camp, I noticed that two boys, aged about 18, were looking at us. My son said they were also from Adiyaman. My son had been told he would be fighting against Assad, but that camp belonged to pro-Assad forces. I brought my son back at the risk of my life.”
 
The people of Adiyaman are uneasy about young men going to Syria. “We hear that some types are paying money to the youth as they organize them to go to Syria. This is scaring us all,” a shopkeeper said. Rumors in Adiyaman suggest even the existence of a gang taking young men to Syria. Yet, the governor’s office and police headquarters in Adiyaman refused to comment on our questions about the issue.

Contents


 

DESPITE APOLOGY, TURKEY BLOCKING ISRAEL-NATO COOPERATION
Herb Keinon

Jerusalem Post, Sept. 12, 2013

 
Nearly six months after Israel’s apology to Turkey for the Mavi Marmara incident, Ankara continues to completely block any NATO cooperation with Israel, Greece’s Ambassador Spiros Lampridis told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday [Sept. 11] Following the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010, NATO member Turkey adamantly opposed Israeli involvement – “even the most innocent” – in any NATO programs, he said. These programs included joint exercises, intelligence exchanges, and research and technological development programs.
 
“We were hoping that after the arrangement between [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu and [Prime Minister Tayyip Recep] Erdogan in the spring, Turkey would pull back a little and allow some of the programs,” he said. “But there is nothing.” By not allowing Israel’s participation in NATO programs, he added, Turkey was blocking participation with other Mediterranean countries, because Israel and other nations in the region – Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Mauritania and Algeria – took part in NATO projects as a bloc. “We can’t cooperate with any of them, because the programs are all blocked, nothing can go through,” he said.
 
Lampridis said he was surprised by the continued Turkish opposition, especially since practical cooperation between Turkey and Israel was taking place on a daily basis, “like where Turkey has an advantage, of course, and Israel is demonstrating goodwill.” For example, since Turkish goods can no longer be transported overland through Syria to the Persian Gulf, every week hundreds of Turkish trucks arrive via ferry to the Haifa Port where they then proceed across the country to the Jordan border crossings, carrying millions of dollars worth of goods to Jordan and onward to the Gulf.
 
“If Israel behaved in the same negative way that Turkey was behaving, it could have said ‘no’ to Turkey, told them, ‘This is your problem. I don’t need these trucks blocking my highways.’ But Israel is cooperating, and Turkey is deriving great benefit from this.” One Foreign Ministry source confirmed this arrangement, stressing that it came at the initiative of the private business sector in Turkey, which is very keen on maintaining close ties with Israel. Erdogan’s government was not involved in setting up the program.

The Greek ambassador also took Erdogan to task for blaming Jews and Israel for the unrest over the summer in Turkey and for the overthrow of Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi. “You just don’t say such things,” he said. Asked if he thought Erdogan was an anti-Semite, he replied, “Even if he is, is it the position a prime minister takes? He can do it privately if he wants. You don’t do it openly and expose a whole country – a country that has never been anti-Semitic in the past, to tell the truth, especially under the Ottoman Empire, when it was a haven for Jews. Other countries were not, Turkey was. What’s wrong with the guy? It really beats me.” He also said that he believed Erdogan’s policies and comments on Israel were directed toward the Muslim world, believing they would make him a leader there. But, he said, a series of missteps in the Arab world, first and foremost with Egypt, had weakened Turkey’s position there as well.
 
Regarding the situation in Syria, Lampridis made it clear his country was opposed to US military action at this time. “The best approach is to seek a solution that would be constructive and diminish the possibility of things going wrong in the region,” he said. “We have enough violence in the region. If there are more violent actions, nobody knows where they will lead.”  Lampridis said the peaceful removal of the chemical weapons stockpiles from Syria – as the Russians have proposed – would “obviously” be beneficial to Israel, because if there were violence “you don’t know what spillover there could be.”
 
The envoy said there was hope that the Russian proposal could lead to a positive momentum and to a “greater resolution” of the Syrian civil war. “What alternative do we have?” he asked. “We can let them kill each other for the next God knows how many years, and then expect spillover in Lebanon, Israel – God forbid – Jordan and the entire region. The region is unstable enough as it is, unfortunately.” While Assad is “bad enough,” he said that his possible replacements – be they from the Nusra Front or other al-Qaida factions – “could be much worse.”
 
While Lampridis said he was not overly confident that the Russian proposal would ignite a whole new dynamic, “we don’t have many options. “We are hearing another one from President Obama [the military option],” he said. “But he doesn’t have a clear okay from Congress; he does not have too many allies in the international community, and he does not have the majority of the public. We don’t have really too many alternatives. We always think that the peaceful alternative, if it works, is the best policy.”
 
 

Has Turkey Become the 'Pakistan of the Middle East'?Kadri Gursel, Al-Monitor, Sept. 23, 2013—Turkish territory in the border region that arches from Hatay to Gaziantep is on the way to becoming the “Peshawar of the Middle East,” that is, a region where the state has no control over the border and outlawed forces move as they like.
 
The Real Beneficiaries of Erdogan’s DemocracySemih Idiz, Al-Monitor-Turkey Pulse, Oct. 3 2013—Some view it as a “silent revolution” while others say “the mountain gave birth to a molehill.” There are also those calling it “treacherous” because it whittles away at core values for Turkish nationalists.
 
Turkish Military Linked to Christian MurdersBarbara G. Baker, World Watch Monitor, Sept. 26, 2013—Nearly six years into the court trial over the murder of three Christians in southeastern Turkey, documents have emerged confirming that secret military units were involved in those assassinations and others.
 
Turkey Protests New Police AggressionVeli Sirin, Gatestone Institute, Sept. 19, 2013—A deep split in Turkish society is visible: Both secular Turks and religious Muslim AKP voters see their lifestyles threatened and their freedoms stolen. More elections will not conceal the dissatisfaction of the Turkish populace.
 
 

 

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org

ISLAM & AL QAEDA ISLAMISTS: RETURN TO VIOLENT PAST WILL CONQUER THE WORLD; MEANWHILE, RE AL QAEDA, OBAMA HAS AMNESIA

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Contents:

Islamism: Back to the Sources: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2013— To read Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s 1984 book Islamic Education and Hasan al-Bana is to get an Islamic education. Nobody should be allowed to talk about Islam or political Islamism without having read this or similar texts. Just as with Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” the Islamists, too, disdain to conceal their aims. Yet those who don’t read their actual texts, speeches and debates but only their public relations misinformation know nothing.

 

Islamist vs. Islamist: Daniel Pipes, National Post, July 29, 2013 As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities – sectarian (Sunni vs. Shiite), political (monarchical vs. republican), tactical (political vs. violent), and attitudes toward modernity (Salafi vs. Muslim Brotherhood) – and co-operate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because “all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Sharia).”

 

A Religion at War With Itself: Robert Fulford, National Post, July 12, 2013— At the recent Oxford Union debate, the resolution “This House Believes Islam Is a Religion of Peace” won the day by 286 to 168 votes. That seems an odd conclusion to embrace in 2013.

 

The Al Qaeda Obama Forgot: Bret Stephens, Wall Street Journal, August 5, 2013— In May, Barack Obama told an audience at the National Defense University that the core of al Qaeda was "on the path to defeat." The "future of terrorism," Mr. Obama predicted, would involve "more localized threats," on the order of "the types of attacks we faced before 9/11," such as the 1988 Lockerbie bombing or the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut. "Dealt with smartly and proportionately," he added, "these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11." He ended by calling for repeal of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force—Congress's declaration of war on al Qaeda.

 

On Topic Links

The Long War With Al Qaeda Isn’t Over: Jeffrey Simpson, National Post, Aug. 17, 2013

How Al Qaeda Made Its Comeback: Ali Soufan, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2013

Snapshot of an Uneasy Community: Igal Aciman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2013

 

ISLAMISM: BACK TO THE SOURCES

Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2013

 

 

To read Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s 1984 book Islamic Education and Hasan al-Bana is to get an Islamic education. Nobody should be allowed to talk about Islam or political Islamism without having read this or similar texts. Just as with Marx’s “Communist Manifesto,” the Islamists, too, disdain to conceal their aims. Yet those who don’t read their actual texts, speeches and debates but only their public relations misinformation know nothing.

It’s easy to see why Qaradawi is the leading Sunni Islamist thinker in the world today, the spiritual guide behind Egypt’s Islamist revolution. He knows how to express his ideas clearly and persuasively.

Here is his depiction of the Muslim world before the rise of revolutionary Islamism to power and prominence: “The condition of the Muslim nation was like a wasteland in the middle of the [mid-19th century]….

Blind imitation of self-made Western laws and appreciation of foreign values had set over the lives of Muslims… whose names were no doubt Islamic but [whose] brains were West-bred.”

Notice his different angle on what for the Western author would be a tale of Western imperialism and the technological and organizational backwardness of Muslim peoples. Qaradawi does not put the emphasis on Western strength or even injustice but on Muslim weakness. He does not flinch from facing the humiliations of the situation. He promises – as the Arab nationalists did 60 years ago – that his doctrine will bring rapid development and tremendous power. Like Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev once said, Qaradawi pledges to the West, “We will bury you.”

Islamism is a formula to turn inferiority into superiority, to make the Muslim world number one in the world. It uses religion and is formed by key themes in Islam, but ultimately has nothing to do with religion as such. This is a political movement.

Qaradawi is not upset by recent US policy, but by Western policy going back over a century. This bitterness is not going to be conciliated. The problem is not in Western actions – which anyway cannot be undone – but with the interpretation of these actions. They are seen as rooted in a desire to destroy Islam, as being based on a permanent enmity, and no gesture by contemporary Western leaders can lead to the end of this view. On the contrary, such things will be interpreted through the prism of this view, as a trick or a sign of retreat and weakness.

Moreover, Qaradawi does not talk about the need for urbanization, the equality of women, modern education, and greater freedom. Indeed, his view is totally contrary to that of leftist, liberal or nationalist Muslims, who would stress the need to borrow any ideas and methods other than purely technological ones, from the West in order to gain equality and even superiority.

Think of how Asia has succeeded – Japan, South Korea, Singapore, and now even China – through eagerness to blend borrowings, adaptation and its own historic culture. No, for Qaradawi the issue is completely one of the abandonment of Islam.

Equally, while defeat in World War II taught Japan to forget about military conquest and China’s decades of relative failure taught it to change course, Qaradawi favors blood and violence, revolution and totalitarianism.

Note, too, that Qaradawi is far more sophisticated than your run-of-the-mill demagogic firebrand. He does not criticize the Muslims who wanted to become Westernized. Rather he feels sorry for them, calling them “victims.” That’s how one builds a movement with a wider base of support, though the actual Islamists in the field rarely show such a tolerant pity.

Moreover, as a man of religion, Qaradawi feels no need – at least consciously – to create a new ideology.

Indeed, human action is not at all the fountainhead of his view of history: Nevertheless, Qaradawi refers to the movement as revolutionary. He knows that its goal is to seize state power and then use that position and the compulsion it offers to transform society.

“When circumstances reached this limit, God’s will came into action. He took over the responsibility of the protection of Islam…. To revive Islam, to put life in the dead spirit of the nation, and to carry it to the climax of success and development. He chose Hasan al-Banna, who laid the foundation of the [Muslim Brotherhood] movement.”

This passage is notable for its claim that Banna was divinely inspired, literally a prophet.

Western observers often take for granted or discount the seriousness of movements claiming they are a direct instrument of God’s will. They are used to subvert far weaker contemporary Western religious impulses or look at those from the past that crumbled in a test of wills with rationalism, modernism, material interests, and personal hypocrisy.

Yet the sincere and profoundly belief that one’s worldview is a product of divine will – an attitude shared by not a single leader or party in any industrialized state – has profound implications. It means that you don’t sell out, get seduced by materialistic lusts, or moderate your ideas and goals, except as a conscious, short-term tactical expedient that you reverse at the first possible opportunity.

The West has not dealt with such a situation of a sincerely held, radical ideology that motivates people for a long time. The suicide bomber has become the symbol of that characteristic, which used to be called “fanaticism” and can now merely be summarized as people who really believe what they say and intend to do what they declare, even unto death.

Qaradawi writes, “If discourse is but verbal and the characters of such persons are free from those principles which he is propagating, then such invitations [to support these ideas] dash against the ears and become empty echoes.”

Almost 30 years after Qaradawi explained the movement’s ideas clearly, the opponents of Islamism have barely begun their attempt to understand and educate others on this ideology.

Contents

           

 

ISLAMIST VS. ISLAMIST

Daniel Pipes

National Post, July 26, 2013

 

 

As recently as 2012, it appeared that Islamists could overcome their many internal dissimilarities – sectarian (Sunni vs. Shiite), political (monarchical vs. republican), tactical (political vs. violent), and attitudes toward modernity (Salafi vs. Muslim Brotherhood) – and co-operate. In Tunisia, for example, Salafis and the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) types found common ground. Differences between all these groups were real but secondary, as I put it then, because “all Islamists pull in the same direction, toward the full and severe application of Islamic law (the Sharia).”

 

This sort of co-operation still persists in small ways, as shown by a recent meeting between a member of Turkey’s ruling party and the head of a Salafi organization in Germany. But Islamists have in recent months abruptly and overwhelmingly thrown themselves at each others’ throats. Islamists still constitute a single movement, and share similar supremacist and utopian goals, but they also have different personnel, ethnic affiliations, methods, and philosophies.

 

Islamist internecine hostilities have flared up in many other Muslim-majority countries. Sunni vs Shiite tensions can be seen in the rivalry between Turkey and Iran, which is also due to different approaches to Islamism; in Lebanon, where it’s Sunni vs Shiite Islamists, and Sunni Islamists vs. the army; Sunni vs Shiite Islamists in Syria; Sunni vs Shiite Islamists in Iraq; Sunni Islamists vs Shiites in Egypt; and Houthis vs Salafis in Yemen.

 

In many cases, it is members of the same sect who are fighting each other: Khamene’i vs Ahmedinejad in Iran; the AKP vs the Gülenists in Turkey; Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq vs Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq; monarchy vs the MB in Saudi Arabia; Islamic Liberation Front vs the Nusra Front in Syria; Egypt’s MB vs Hamas regarding hostilities toward Israel; MB vs the Salafis in Egypt; and a clash of two leading ideologues and politicians, Omar al-Bashir vs Hassan al-Turabi, in the Sudan. In Tunisia, the Salafis (called Ansar al-Sharia) are fighting the MB-style organization (called Ennahda).

 

Seemingly minor differences can take on a complex quality. Just try to follow a Beirut newspaper’s arcane account of hostilities in the northern Lebanese town of Tripoli: This pattern of fracturing brings to mind the divisions of pan-Arab nationalists in the 1950s

 

“Clashes between the various Islamist groups in Tripoli, divided between the March 8 and March 14 political movements, are on the rise … Since the assassination of March 14 figure and intelligence chief Brig. Gen. Wissam al-Hasan in October, disputes between Islamist groups in Tripoli have been heading toward a major conflagration, particularly following the killing of Sheikh Abdel-Razzaq Asmar, an official from the Islamic Tawhid Movement, just hours after Hasan’s death. The sheikh was shot dead … during an armed clash that erupted when supporters of Kanaan Naji, an independent Islamist figure associated with the National Islamist Gathering, attempted to take over the headquarters of the Islamic Tawhid Movement.”

 

This pattern of fracturing brings to mind the 1950s divisions of pan-Arab nationalists. They aspired to unify all Arabic-speaking peoples, as the expression then went, “From the [Atlantic] ocean to the [Persian] gulf.” However appealing the dream, its leaders fell out as the movement grew in power, dooming pan-Arab nationalism to the point that it eventually collapsed under the weight of kaleidoscopic and ever-more minute clashes. These included:

 

— Gamal Abdul Nasser of Egypt vs the Ba’th (or Baath) parties ruling in Syria and Iraq.

— The Syrian Ba’th party vs the Iraqi Ba’th party.

— The Sunni Syrian Ba’thists vs the Alawi Syrian Ba’thists.

— The Jadidist Alawi Syrian Ba’thists vs the Assadist Alawi Syrian Ba’thists.

 

And so on. In fact, every effort at forming an Arab union failed – in particular the United Arab Republic between Egypt and Syria (1958-61) but also lesser attempts such as the Arab Federation (1958), the United Arab States (1958-61), the Federation of Arab Republics (1972-77), the Syrian domination of Lebanon (1976-2005), and the Iraqi annexation of Kuwait (1990-91).

 

Reflecting deep Middle East patterns, dissension among Islamists likewise prevents them from working together. As the movement surges, as its members approach power and actually rule, its cracks become increasingly divisive. Rivalries papered over when Islamists languish in the opposition emerge when they wield power.

 

Should the fissiparous tendency hold, the Islamist movement is doomed, like fascism and communism, to be no more than a civilizational threat inflicting immense damage but never prevailing. This possible limit on Islamist power, which became visible only in 2013, offers grounds for optimism, but not for complacency. Even if things look brighter than a year ago, trends can quickly turn around again. The long and difficult job of defeating Islamism remains ahead.

                                              Contents

 

 

A RELIGION AT WAR WITH ITSELF

Robert Fulford

National Post, July 13, 2013

 

 

At the recent Oxford Union debate, the resolution “This House Believes Islam Is a Religion of Peace” won the day by 286 to 168 votes. That seems an odd conclusion to embrace in 2013.

 

After the 9/11 outrage, George Bush said “These acts of violence against innocents violate the fundamental tenets of the Islamic faith. The face of terror is not the true faith of Islam. That’s not what Islam is all about. Islam is peace.” We have to imagine that in 2001 he spoke out of hope rather than experience. Certainly we now know that nothing about Islam is that simple. Today, many of its adherents frequently express their religious beliefs through war.

 

The Oxford peace resolution was supported by Mehdi Hasan, a British journalist, the political editor of Huffington Post’s U.K. edition. His opponent, Anne-Marie Waters, of the National Secular Society, cited 9/11, 7/7, Mali, Somalia and other instances of war-like behaviour. Hasan argued that violence involves only a small percentage of believers and Oxford shouldn’t slander the majority and “fuel the arguments of bigots.”

 

Yet Muslims are currently involved in persistent conflicts, including many Muslim vs. Muslim struggles. We know about Syria, where Muslims have killed 100,000 or more Muslims, but there are many other cases that rarely make the international news. In Nigeria, for instance, the conflicts are numerous and bloody — and usually grounded in religion.

 

Few people in the West have even heard of Boko Haram, a Taliban-like army that is now turning regions of northern Nigeria into hell — in the interest of converting the mostly Muslim north to its own version of Islam. Boko Haram’s name roughly translates as “Western education is sinful.” A week ago today, in pursuing their ideals, its soldiers in Yobe State attacked a boarding school for girls with guns and explosives, setting fire to the building. They killed about 42 people, mostly children.

 

Since it began terrorist operations in 2009, Boko Haram has been blamed for thousands of deaths. Parents in the region are reluctant to send children to school and the emergency controls imposed by the government have made ordinary business and farming difficult; the region fears a severe food shortage. Boko Haram, while violently anti-Christian, takes pride in violence against insufficiently pious Muslims, of any age. Their sin is failing to embrace Boko Haram’s puritan Wahbist view of Islam.

 

If Islam embodies a belief in peace, why isn’t that belief sufficient to prevent Muslims from killing other Muslims in great numbers? That question has always bothered me and I notice it also bothers Murtaza Haider, a Pakistan-born professor at Ryerson University in Toronto. He recently published an online essay, “Islam at war — with itself,” pointing out that while the nations of the West have succeeded in limiting intra-European conflicts in the last 75 years, the Muslim world in the same period has fallen into one violent conflict after another.

 

The worst was the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s, but there have been many since. For instance, in Quetta, Pakistan last month, a female terrorist, pretending to be a student, boarded a bus leaving the women’s university and detonated the explosives strapped to her body. The 28 people who died included 14 students. A sectarian terror group, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, which often attacks Shia civilians, claimed responsibility and proudly issued the name of the suicide bomber. Another bomb was detonated at the hospital where those injured in the bus were being treated. As Haider says, “This was all done in the name of Islam.” He imagines that the terrorists afterward “chanted with pride, Allah-u-Akbar (God is great).”

 

When the killing takes place entirely within the Islamic world, Muslims look elsewhere for a scapegoat, often the U.S. or India

Leaders in the Muslim world focus on conflicts where Muslims are considered the victims of others, above all Palestine. When the killing takes place entirely within the Islamic world, Muslims look elsewhere for a scapegoat, often the U.S. or India.

 

It’s obvious that many Muslims hope to convince themselves and the rest of the world that Islam is in essence a religion of peace. It’s also obvious that a great many other Muslims are doing their best to demonstrate that it’s not. Why?

In the closed, fearful world of Islamic discussion, this is a question considered offensive or dangerous or both. Muslims who mention it are branded disloyal. Outsiders who raise it are called Islamophobic, which is a form of bigotry in itself, an attempt to shut down controversy by intimidation.

 

But surely this issue deserves to be treated, for Islam’s sake and the world’s, as a question of the utmost importance.

                                              

                                               Contents

 

 

THE AL QAEDA OBAMA FORGOT

Bret Stephens

Wall Street Journal, Aug 5, 2013

 

In May, Barack Obama told an audience at the National Defense University that the core of al Qaeda was "on the path to defeat." The "future of terrorism," Mr. Obama predicted, would involve "more localized threats," on the order of "the types of attacks we faced before 9/11," such as the 1988 Lockerbie bombing or the 1983 attack on the Marine barracks in Beirut. "Dealt with smartly and proportionately," he added, "these threats need not rise to the level that we saw on the eve of 9/11." He ended by calling for repeal of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force—Congress's declaration of war on al Qaeda.

 

On Monday, the front page of The Wall Street Journal ran with this headline: "Regrouped al Qaeda Poses Global Threat." The second shortest distance in Washington now runs between an Obama speech and its empirical disproof.

The news, of course, is that 19 U.S. embassies and consulates in Africa and the Middle East will be shuttered until Saturday. This is on account of electronic intercepts of terrorist communications, collected by Edward Snowden's former employers at the National Security Agency and described by Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R., Ga.) as "very reminiscent of what we saw pre-9/11." Vice President Joe Biden has delivered closed-door briefings to Congress; Rep. Peter King (R., N.Y.) has warned the attacks could come in Europe, the U.S., or as "a series of combined attacks"; Sen. Dick Durbin (D., Ill.) calls the threat "a big deal."

 

After 11 years of taking our shoes off at airports, seven years of being forced to throw away tubes of toothpaste and cans of hair spray, five years of assuming the surrender position at the X-ray machine, three years of don't-touch-my-junk anthems, eight seasons of TV's "24" and two seasons of "Homeland," it takes a lot to get Americans worked up about a speculative terrorist threat. If Mr. Durbin says the threat is a big deal, it is.

Then again, it's also a big deal that the executive branch of government has been operating on a contrary set of assumptions. Yes, the president's May speech contained all the required caveats about the abiding terrorist threat and the continued need for vigilance. But the gist of the address was clear, as was its purpose: to declare the war on terror won—or won well-enough—and go home. Facts and analysis were arranged to suit the policy goal. But the facts and analysis were wrong.

 

Specifically: Mr. Obama believed that killing Osama Bin Laden was a strategic victory. In fact, it was mainly a symbolic one (further undercut by his use of it as a political prop). He thought that ending the war in Iraq would help refocus U.S. efforts on Afghanistan. In fact, it showcased America's lack of staying power and gave the Taliban additional motivation to hold out during the president's halfhearted Afghan surge. He thought that substituting the Bush administration's approach to detainees with an approach heavy on drones would earn America renewed goodwill on the Arab street. In fact, there was no goodwill to renew in the first place, and the U.S. is more unpopular in Pakistan and Egypt today than it was six years ago.

 

He believed that staying out—completely out—of the war in Syria would contain the war to Syria and spare American lives and efforts. In fact, the war has generated a brand new branch of al Qaeda in the Nusra Front, helped regenerate the once-moribund Iraqi branch, and attracted jihadist recruits from Europe who may one day return to put their acquired skills into practice.

Finally, Mr. Obama believed that defeating "core al Qaeda"—the group around Osama bin Laden in Pakistan and Afghanistan—effectively meant defeating al Qaeda, even if a few of its lesser offshoots in Africa or the Arabian Peninsula survived. In fact, al Qaeda was designed not as an organization with subordinate branches, but as a model with multiple franchises—as Burger King not General Motors.

 

In his speech, Mr. Obama insisted that "not every collection of thugs that labels themselves al Qaeda will pose a credible threat to the United States." Yet if al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, or the Arabian Peninsula, or the Maghreb, or some as-yet unknown al Qaeda affiliate succeeds in bombing a U.S. embassy, taking down an airliner, or engineering a second 9/11, will it matter that the plot was hatched in Yemen or Somalia instead of Pakistan or Afghanistan?

 

Which brings us to the shortest distance in Washington: the one that runs between an Obama speech and the media's memory of it. The speech at the National Defense University was billed as a major presidential address. A lengthy article in the New York Times, written days later, reported it was a "window into the presidential mind," the result of "an exercise lasting months," a matter not just of Mr. Obama's policy, but of his very legacy.

 

Yet here we are, not three months later, faced with a threat that makes a comprehensive and vivid mockery of everything the president said. If there's a silver lining here, it's that the administration can put an end to the end of the war on terror without much fear of embarrassment. Better to do so now than in the wake of an attack.

 

It is in the nature of wisdom that it is only truly learned after it's first been mostly forgotten. The lesson of 9/11 was to not go back to pre-9/11 thinking. We may learn soon enough what price we'll have to pay for the benefit of rediscovering what we knew once before.

      

 

                                        

Contents

 

On Topic

The Long War With Al Qaeda Isn’t Over: Jeffrey Simpson, National Post, Aug. 17, 2013

How Al Qaeda Made Its Comeback: Ali Soufan, Wall Street Journal, Aug. 7, 2013

Snapshot of an Uneasy Community: Igal Aciman, Jerusalem Post, Aug. 6, 2013

 

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TURMOIL IN EGYPT: SINAI BREEDING INSURGENCY, M. BROTHERHOOD KILLING IT’S OWN, RULING GENERAL AL-SISI– ISLAMIST IN POPULIST CLOTHING?

We welcome your comments to this and any other CIJR publication. Please address your response to:  Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish Research, PO Box 175, Station  H, Montreal QC H3G 2K7 – Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284; E-mail:  ber@isranet.org

 

 

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Sisi's Islamist Agenda for Egypt: The General's Radical Political Vision: Robert Springborg, Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2013—Addressing graduates of military academies is a standard responsibility for high-ranking military officers all over the world. But last week, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander of Egypt’s armed forces, which recently deposed the country’s first freely elected president, went far beyond the conventions of the genre in a speech to graduates of Egypt’s Navy and Air Defense academies.

In Egypt’s Sinai, Insurgency Taking Root: Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post, July 28, 2013—More than three weeks after the military coup that ousted this nation’s first democratically elected — and Islamist — president from power, the roots of a violent insurgency are burrowing fast into the sands of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula.

Muslim Brotherhood Kills Its Own to Demonize Egyptian Military:Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2013—Killing fellow Muslims, and even the most horrific crimes, are permissible so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam.

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt’s Dilemma: Marcus Marktanner, Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2013

Egypt's Predictable Unrest: Vice Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013

About That Coup: Never Mind: Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013

Egypt's Sectarian Tensions Become Politicised: Dahlia Kholaif, Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013

A Familiar Role for Muslim Brotherhood: Opposition: Robert F. Worth, New York Times, July 28, 2013
 

 

SISI'S ISLAMIST AGENDA FOR EGYPT:
THE GENERAL'S RADICAL POLITICAL VISION

Robert Springborg

Foreign Affairs, July 28, 2013

 

Addressing graduates of military academies is a standard responsibility for high-ranking military officers all over the world. But last week, Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the commander of Egypt’s armed forces, which recently deposed the country’s first freely elected president, went far beyond the conventions of the genre in a speech to graduates of Egypt’s Navy and Air Defense academies. Sisi’s true audience was the wider Egyptian public, and he presented himself less as a general in the armed forces than as a populist strongman. He urged Egyptians to take to the streets to show their support for the provisional government that he had installed after launching a coup to remove from power President Mohamed Morsi, a longtime leader of the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood. “I’ve never asked you for anything,” Sisi declared, before requesting a “mandate” to confront the Muslim Brotherhood, whose supporters have launched protests and sit-ins to denounce the new military-backed regime.

 

Sisi’s speech was only the latest suggestion that he will not be content to simply serve as the leader of Egypt’s military. Although he has vowed to lead Egypt through a democratic transition, there are plenty of indications that he is less than enthusiastic about democracy and that he intends to hold on to political power himself. But that’s not to say that he envisions a return to the secular authoritarianism of Egypt’s recent past. Given the details of Sisi’s biography and the content of his only published work, a thesis he wrote in 2006 while studying at the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, it seems possible that he might have something altogether different in mind: a hybrid regime that would combine Islamism with militarism. To judge from the ideas about governance that he put forward in his thesis, Sisi might see himself less as a custodian of Egypt’s democratic future than as an Egyptian version of Muhammed Zia ul-Haq, the Pakistani general who seized power in 1977 and set about to “Islamicize” state and society in Pakistan.

 

Last summer, when Morsi tapped Sisi to replace Minister of Defense Muhammad Tantawi, Morsi clearly believed that he had chosen someone who was willing to subordinate himself to an elected government. Foreign observers also interpreted Sisi’s promotion as a signal that the military would finally be professionalized, beginning with a reduction of its role in politics and then, possibly, the economy. Sisi’s initial moves as defense minister reinforced this optimism. He immediately removed scores of older officers closely associated with his corrupt and unpopular predecessor. And he implicitly criticized the military’s involvement in politics after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in 2011, warning that such “dangerous” interventions could turn Egypt into Afghanistan or Somalia and would not recur….

 

Throughout Sisi’s tenure as defense minister, the Brotherhood dismissed his political potential. Obviously, they underestimated him. That is not to say that he had been planning a coup the entire time; there is not enough evidence to determine that. But there is plenty of evidence that Sisi is not nearly as modest as he has always preferred Egyptians to believe. It is significant that he not only remained minister of defense in the new government but also took the post of first deputy prime minister.

 

Following the cabinet’s formation, Sisi’s spokesperson appeared on television to say that although the general was not running for the presidency, there was nothing to prevent him from so doing if he retired from the military. Sisi also had his spokesman release a 30-minute YouTube video glorifying the general and the military, taking particular care to illustrate the military’s provision of goods and services to civilians. Not long thereafter, demonstrators in Cairo and elsewhere were seen carrying large photos of Sisi.

 

As fears of the general’s political ambitions have intensified, so have concerns about the nature of his political views. Since deposing Morsi, Sisi has clearly been trying to give the impression that he is committed to democracy. He has taken pains to ensure that civilian political figures share the limelight with him. Hazem al-Beblawi, who was appointed as the prime minister of the transitional government, claimed in his first television interview after taking office that he had not met Sisi prior to the swearing-in ceremony and that the general had not intervened in any way in his choice of ministers….

 

Morsi likely also found much to admire in the thesis that Sisi produced at the U.S. Army War College, which, despite its innocuous title (“Democracy in the Middle East”), reads like a tract produced by the Muslim Brotherhood. In his opening paragraph, Sisi emphasizes the centrality of religion to the politics of the region, arguing that “for democracy to be successful in the Middle East,” it must show “respect to the religious nature of the culture” and seek “public support from religious leaders [who] can help build strong support for the establishment of democratic systems.”

 

Egyptians and other Arabs will view democracy positively, he wrote, only if it “sustains the religious base versus devaluing religion and creating instability.” Secularism, according to Sisi, “is unlikely to be favorably received by the vast majority of Middle Easterners, who are devout followers of the Islamic faith.” He condemns governments that “tend toward secular rule,” because they “disenfranchise large segments of the population who believe religion should not be excluded from government,” and because “they often send religious leaders to prison.”

 

But Sisi’s thesis goes beyond simply rejecting the idea of a secular state; it embraces a more radical view of the proper place of religion in an Islamic democracy. He writes: “Democracy cannot be understood in the Middle East without an understanding of the concept of El Kalafa,” or the caliphate, which Sisi defines as the 70-year period when Muslims were led by Muhammad and his immediate successors. Re-establishing this kind of leadership “is widely recognized as the goal for any new form of government” in the Middle East, he asserts. The central political mechanisms in such a system, he believes, are al-bi'ah (fealty to a ruler) and shura (a ruler’s consultation with his subjects). Apologists for Islamic rule sometimes suggest that these concepts are inherently democratic, but in reality they fall far short of the democratic mark.

 

Sisi concludes that a tripartite government would be acceptable only if the executive, legislative, and judicial branches are all sufficiently Islamic; otherwise, there must be an independent “religious” branch of government. He acknowledges that it will be a challenge to incorporate Islam into government, but concludes that there is no other choice. (As an afterthought, he adds that “there must be consideration given to non-Islamic beliefs.”)

 

If Sisi’s thesis truly reflects his thinking — and there is no reason to believe otherwise — it suggests not only that he might want to stay at the helm of the new Egyptian state but that his vision of how to steer Egyptian society differs markedly from those of the secular-nationalist military rulers who led Egypt for decades: Gamal Abdel al-Nasser, Anwar al-Sadat, and Mubarak. The ideas in Sisi’s thesis hew closer to those of Zia ul-Haq, who overthrew Pakistan’s democratically elected government in 1977 and soon began a campaign of “Islamicization” that included the introduction of some elements of sharia into Pakistani law, along with a state-subsidized boom in religious education….

 

If Sisi continues to seek legitimacy for military rule by associating it with Islamism, it could prove to be a disaster for Egypt. At the very least, it would set back the democratic cause immeasurably. It would also reinforce the military’s octopus-like hold on the economy, which is already one of the major obstacles to the country's economic development. And it would also pose new dilemmas for the military itself: somehow it would need to reconcile serving the strategic objectives of Islam and those of its American patrons. It’s not clear whether that circle could be squared. And the experiment would likely come at the expense of the Egyptian people.

Contents

 

 

IN EGYPT’S SINAI, INSURGENCY TAKING ROOT
Abigail Hauslohner
Washington Post, July 28, 2013

 

More than three weeks after the military coup that ousted this nation’s first democratically elected — and Islamist — president from power, the roots of a violent insurgency are burrowing fast into the sands of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. The rapid thud of machine-gun fire and the explosions of rocket-propelled grenades have begun to shatter the silence of the desert days and nights here with startling regularity, as militants assault the military and police forces stationed across this volatile territory that borders Israel and the Gaza Strip.The emerging Sinai crisis gives Egypt’s military a pretext to crack down on Islamist opponents across the country, including in Cairo, where at least 72 people were killed over the weekend when security forces opened fire on demonstrators rallying in support of ousted president Mohamed Morsi….

In the Sinai, long Egypt’s most elusive and neglected region, a familiar cycle of repression has already taken hold. The military has clamped down hard on all routes in and out. And Saturday, the armed forces launched Operation Desert Storm in the peninsula, ­according to the state-run al-Ahram newspaper. The operation got underway after millions of Egyptians took to the streets Friday to heed the military’s call to give it the popular “mandate” to crack down on violence and “terrorism.”

Interior Minister Mohamed Ibrahim said Egypt’s security forces have been given permission to confront those who threaten the state’s “stability.” “The people have given the army and the police a popular mandate to stand firmly against anyone who shakes the stability of the nation with terrorist or criminal acts,” Ibrahim said Sunday at a graduation ceremony for police recruits.

Bedouin leaders and Islamists in the Sinai say locals have been angered by the coup because it brought an end to Egypt’s nascent democracy — a concept that was slow to catch on in this deeply conservative territory that has long been suspicious of Cairo. Many others, particularly Bedouin smugglers, in a population long accustomed to sweeping arrests, state-sanctioned discrimination and torture under Mubarak, say that they tasted freedom in the anarchy that prevailed under Morsi and that they are determined to avoid a return to the past even if it costs them their lives….

Lawlessness, smuggling and militancy have thrived on the peninsula since the 2011 fall of Mubarak’s regime. Bedouin arms dealers who are sympathetic to the militants said in recent days that fighters have launched shoulder-fired anti­aircraft Stinger missiles (known to the U.S. intelligence community as MANPADs) at military aircraft, laid improvised bombs along roads traversed heavily by troops, and fired barrages of bullets and RPGs at security personnel stationed here.

 

On Sunday, a police commander who spoke on the condition of anonymity said police had located a fourth bomb outside the Sheik Zweid village police station in less than 48 hours. The first three exploded, injuring several police officers, the official said.

 

Both police commanders and Bedouin leaders say the militants are a minority in the desert peninsula; the latter group says the militants consist mostly of locals who operate in small cells, with little to no command structure. But Bedouin leaders fear that the territory’s population may soon get swept up in the military’s crackdown, escalating the conflict into a wider war.

 

On a night last week, militants struck the Hay al-Safa military base near Rafah with an RPG and then gunfire. Hours later, they struck again — with what local arms dealers said were armor-piercing bullets. Families living in the area said they have grown afraid to transit through security checkpoints at night, lest they get caught in the crossfire or get targeted by nervous troops. At least 10 civilians have died in the violence this month.

 

Unlike mainland Egypt, where Morsi supporters have staged thousands-strong protests that have shut down major roads and convulsed cities from Cairo to the Nile Delta, the Sinai has quickly taken its dissent to a more violent level. Local Bedouins say it is the route borne of the territory’s cyclical history of state repression and a natural response from a local population flush with weapons and budding extremist groups. “Protests aren’t really in our nature,” Abu Ashraf, a powerful tribal leader and smuggler in North Sinai, said last week using his nickname. “Our nature is…” he said, then stopped, smiled and pantomimed firing a gun.

 

In the wake of the coup, Egyptian security forces locked down the single bridge that connects the peninsula to the mainland and set up a battery of checkpoints along the highways that link Cairo to the Suez Canal, and onward across North Sinai, where soldiers check IDs and sift through luggage in the trunks of cars. They shine strobe lights into vehicles at night. The Sinai Bedouin feel as if the state is targeting them — again.

 

Analysts and local political leaders in North Sinai interpreted the call by Gen. Abdel Fatah al-Sissi, Egypt’s military commander, for a mandate to fight terrorism as a signal that a Mubarak-style crackdown was imminent. “I think Sissi wants public cover for his bloody work,” said Ahmed Salem, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood in el-Arish, capital of North Sinai.

 

As much as the Sinai insurgency derives from militant anger at Morsi’s ouster, it is also a preemptive backlash rooted in fear, say Bedouin leaders who sympathize with the militants. “People here have gotten some freedoms, and they will not allow those to be taken away now,” said Mohamed, a fundamentalist sheik in North Sinai who requested that his last name not be used. “The coup took us back to square one,” he said, and the Sinai’s Islamists are expressing anger at the military “in any way they can.”

 

“If the state does not reverse al-Sissi’s mistake, there will be more for them to endure,” he said. Morsi’s rule offered some respite from the repression — a new kind of freedom, some Bedouin leaders said. He didn’t deliver the roads, schools or hospitals that local leaders say would help break the territory’s cycle of violent resistance. But he left them alone. “Nothing happened the year that Morsi was in power,” said one Bedouin smuggler who spent eight years in prison under Mubarak. “Morsi had no control here. But at least he didn’t insult or arrest anyone. When you would pass by the checkpoints, they would respect you. Now we’re back to the way it was before.”

 

The military says its crackdown is necessary to fight terror, but the Bedouin here say it only adds fuel to their rebellion, in a cycle that may soon spiral out of control. Security officials say they have seized Syrian, Palestinian and even Russian fighters in the Sinai since Morsi’s ouster. They have accused the Muslim Brotherhood, which backs Morsi, and the Islamist militant group Hamas, which controls the Gaza Strip, of orchestrating the violence, and say that many of the Sinai’s fighters are well-trained jihadists.

 

Last week, the Interior Ministry said a “car accident” in the South Sinai resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh led to the arrest of a jihadist who had fought in Syria. On Sunday, a police official said security forces had killed 10 “jihadists” and arrested 20 others over the weekend.The police also have blamed the Brotherhood for the deadly weekend clashes in the Egyptian capital, sparked by police attacks on demonstrators. The Brotherhood says it does not condone violence. “We do not support, and we do not accept it, even if it seems like the violence is in support of us,” said Salem, the spokesman. But the Sinai, he said, was beyond the group’s control. “We had tried to tell them that democracy would give them another chance to be good people and to be involved in society,” he said of the region’s smugglers and fugitives. “But this coup made them lose faith.”….

 

Contents

 

MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD KILLS ITS OWN
TO DEMONIZE EGYPTIAN MILITARY

Raymond Ibrahim

Gatestone Institute, July 25, 2013

 

Killing fellow Muslims, and even the most horrific crimes, are permissible so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam. New evidence indicates that some of the pro-Morsi protesters reportedly killed by the Egyptian military, after the Muslim Brotherhood president's ouster, were actually killed by fellow pro-Morsi protesters. They did this, according to the report, to frame the military, incite more Islamist violence and unrest, and garner sympathy from America, which has been extremely critical of the military, especially in the context of the post-Morsi violence.

 

The Arabic satellite program, Al Dalil, ("The Evidence") recently showed the evidence, which consisted mostly of video recordings. One video records events on July 8, during pro-Morsi protests in front of the Republican Guard building in Cairo, where Morsi was being held, and where the bloodshed between the military and Brotherhood began. The video shows a young man with a shaven head and a Salafi-style beard approaching the Republican Guard barrier; he gets shot, collapses to the ground, and dies—as other protesters fly into a rage against the military. As the video plays, it seems clear that the military shot him.

 

However, watching the video in slow motion and in zoom clearly indicates that someone from behind him, from the pro-Morsi throng, shot him. The whole time he falls, in slow motion, he is still facing the Republican Guard. Yet when the camera zooms in, the bullet wound and blood are visibly at the back of his head; his front, facing the military even after he falls, does not appear to have a scratch. Considering that the military was facing him, it seems apparent that a fellow Morsi-supporter shot him from behind.

 

On the same day this man in the video and others were killed, Muhammad Mahsoub, a former Brotherhood member and politician tweeted the following: "The Brotherhood sacrifice their youth in the streets, even as the sons of their leaders are at the beach resorts… Allah curse the hypocrites [based on a Koran verse];" and "I repeatedly warned al-Baltagi against his plan to antagonize the military in order to implicate it an attack on the protesters, but he insists on his plan…"

 

Baltagi is a Brotherhood leader who has been especially vocal about "getting back" at the military; he apparently also enjoys close relations with the widely disliked U.S. ambassador to Egypt, Anne Patterson.

Another video shown on Al Dalil is even more obvious. An armored vehicle appears slowly driving by a group of pro-Morsi protesters, many easily discernible with their Salafi-style beards. A shot is heard and the man nearest the passing vehicle collapses. Again, at first it appears that the men in the armored vehicle shot him.

 

Played, again in slow motion, however, it becomes apparent that the man in a gilbab [long Muslim style robe] standing directly behind the murdered man is actually the one who shot him, then walked over to another man near him, gave him the weapon, and then quickly walked off the scene. Even the man on the roof who is taping this scene is heard to be asked, "Did the car [armored vehicle] shoot?" only to reply, "No, no."

 

Even so, the desired effect of all these "human sacrifices" by the Brotherhood was accomplished: as with the other man, shot in front of the Republican Guard, many other pro-Morsi protesters rushed to the fallen man, screaming Islamic slogans and vowing relentless war on the military, as it supposedly "shot first." This second incident prompted the Freedom and Justice Party, the Muslim Brotherhood's political arm, to call for "an uprising by the great people of Egypt against those trying to steal their revolution with tanks."

 

To many Islamists, killing an ally to empower Islam is legitimate, especially in the context of two Islamic ideas: 1) jihad [war in the service of Islam], in Islamic jurisprudence — for its function, under Muhammad, of making Islam supreme — is considered the "pinnacle" of Islam; and 2) Islam's overarching juridical idea that "necessity makes the prohibited permissible" – in other words, that a pious end, such as empowering Islam, justifies the use of forbidden means. All that matters is one's intention, or niyya.

 

Thus, killing fellow Muslims, lying, prostitution, even sodomy all become permissible, so long as they are seen as ways of advancing and empowering Islam. Those who commit or promote even the most horrific crimes are exonerated, and those "sacrificed" to empower Islam — as those pro-Morsi supporters killed by the Brotherhood — are deemed martyrs who will achieve the highest level of paradise. From an Islamist point of view, it is a win-win situation.

 

Raymond Ibrahim is a Middle East and Islam expert.  He is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center, associate fellow at the Middle East Forum.

 

Contents
 

A Familiar Role for Muslim Brotherhood: Opposition: Robert F. Worth, New York Times, July 28, 2013—Among the muddy, crowded tents where tens of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members have been living for weeks in a vast sit-in protest, men in Islamic dress can still be seen carrying incongruous signs above the teeming crowd: “Liberals for Morsi,” “Christians for Morsi,” “Actors for Morsi.”

 

Egypt’s Dilemma: Marcus Marktanner, Jerusalem Post, July 28, 2013—Recent events in Egypt reveal the following dilemma: On the back of a powerless majority of moderate Egyptians who yearn for democracy, the country faces an epic battle between a secular military and a powerful Islamist movement, neither of which is deeply interested in democracy.

 

Egypt's Predictable Unrest: Vice Adm. (res.) Eliezer Marom, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013—The unrest in Egypt in recent days shouldn't surprise anyone. Former President Mohammed Morsi's ouster after three days of demonstrations was no doubt a military coup — there is no other way to define it.

 

About That Coup: Never Mind: Elliot Abrams, Israel Hayom, July 29, 2013—There are many good reasons to maintain U.S. aid to Egypt under current circumstances, but American law presents a problem. Under the Foreign Assistance Act, "none of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available pursuant to this Act shall be obligated or expended to finance directly any assistance to any country whose duly elected head of government is deposed by a military coup or decree."

 

Egypt's Sectarian Tensions Become Politicised: Dahlia Kholaif, Al Jazeera, July 26, 2013—The army’s removal of Egypt’s first civilian elected president may have unleashed deadly clashes but for the country’s Coptic Christian minority it has brought relief.

 

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L’ISLAMISME CONDAMNÉ À DISPARAÎTRE ?

 

 

 

 

 

L'islamisme probablement condamné à disparaître

Daniel Pipes

The Washington Times, 22 juillet 2013

Adaptation française: Johan Bourlard

 

Pas plus tard qu'en 2012, les islamistes semblaient pouvoir coopérer en surmontant leurs nombreuses dissensions internes – religieuses (sunnites et chiites), politiques (monarchistes et républicains), tactiques (politiques et violentes), ou encore sur l'attitude face à la modernité (salafistes et Frères musulmans). En Tunisie, par exemple, les salafistes et les Frères musulmans (FM) ont trouvé un terrain d'entente. Les différences entre tous ces groupes étaient réelles mais secondaires car, comme je le disais alors, « tous les islamistes poussent dans la même direction, vers l'application pleine et sévère de la loi islamique (la charia) ».

 

Ce genre de coopération se poursuit à un niveau relativement modeste, comme on a pu le voir lors de la rencontre entre un membre du parti au pouvoir en Turquie et le chef d'une organisation salafiste en Allemagne. Mais ces derniers mois, les islamistes sont entrés subitement et massivement en conflit les uns avec les autres. Même s'ils constituent toujours un mouvement à part entière caractérisé par des objectifs hégémoniques et utopistes, les islamistes diffèrent entre eux quant à leurs troupes, leurs appartenances ethniques, leurs méthodes et leurs philosophies.

 

Les luttes intestines que se livrent les islamistes ont éclaté dans plusieurs autres pays à majorité musulmane. Ainsi, on peut observer des tensions entre sunnites et chiites dans l'opposition entre la Turquie et l'Iran due aussi à des approches différentes de l'islamisme. Au Liban, on assiste à une double lutte, d'une part entre sunnites et islamistes chiites et d'autre part entre islamistes sunnites et l'armée. En Syrie c'est la lutte des sunnites contre les islamistes chiites, comme en Irak. En Égypte, on voit les islamistes sunnites contre les chiites alors qu'au Yémen ce sont les houthistes qui s'opposent aux salafistes.

 

La plupart du temps, toutefois, ce sont les membres d'une même secte qui s'affrontent : Khamenei contre Ahmadinejad en Iran, l'AKP contre les Gülenistes en Turquie, Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq contre Moqtada al-Sadr en Irak, la monarchie contre les Frères musulmans en Arabie Saoudite, le Front islamique de libération contre le Front al-Nosra en Syrie, les Frères musulmans égyptiens contre le Hamas au sujet des hostilités avec Israël, les Frères musulmans contre les salafistes en Égypte, ou encore le choc entre deux idéologues et hommes politiques de premier plan, Omar el-Béchir contre Hassan al-Tourabi au Soudan. En Tunisie, les salafistes (dénommés Ansar al-charia) combattent l'organisation de type Frères musulmans (dénommée Ennahda).

 

Des différences apparemment mineures peuvent revêtir un caractère complexe. À titre d'exemple, essayons de suivre le récit énigmatique d'un journal de Beyrouth à propos des hostilités à Tripoli, ville du nord du Liban :

 

Des heurts entre les différents groupes islamistes à Tripoli, divisés entre les mouvements politiques du 8 Mars et du 14 Mars, sont en recrudescence. … Depuis l'assassinat, en octobre, du Général de Brigade Wissam al-Hassan, figure de proue du mouvement du 14 Mars et chef du service des renseignements, des différends entre groupes islamistes à Tripoli ont abouti à une confrontation majeure, surtout après le meurtre du cheikh Abdel-Razzak al-Asmar, un représentant du Mouvement d'unification islamique, quelques heures seulement après la mort d'al-Hassan. Le cheikh a été tué par balles… pendant un échange de tirs survenu lorsque des partisans de Kanaan Naji, islamiste indépendant associé à la Rencontre nationale islamique, ont tenté de s'emparer du quartier général du Mouvement d'unification islamique.

 

Cet état de fragmentation rappelle les divisions que connaissaient, dans les années 1950, les nationalistes panarabes. Ces derniers aspiraient à l'unification de tous les peuples arabophones « du Golfe [Persique] à l'Océan [Atlantique] » pour reprendre l'expression d'alors. Malgré la grandeur de ce rêve, ses leaders se sont brouillés au moment où le mouvement grandissait, condamnant un nationalisme panarabe qui a fini par s'effondrer sous le poids d'affrontements entre factions toujours plus morcelées. Parmi ces conflits, on note :

 

-Gamal Abdel Nasser en Égypte contre les partis Baas (ou Ba'ath) au pouvoir en Syrie et en Irak.

-Le parti Baas syrien contre le parti Baas irakien.

-Les baasistes syriens sunnites contre les baasistes syriens alaouites.

-Les baasistes syriens alaouites jadidistes contre les baasistes syriens alaouites assadistes.

 

Et ainsi de suite. En réalité tous les efforts en vue de former une union arabe ont échoué – en particulier la République arabe unie rassemblant l'Égypte et la Syrie (1958-1961) mais également des tentatives plus modestes comme la Fédération arabe (1958), les États arabes unis (1958-1961), la Fédération des Républiques arabes (1972-1977), la domination syrienne du Liban (1976-2005) et l'annexion du Koweït par l'Irak (1990-1991).

 

Reflet de modèles bien ancrés au Moyen-Orient, les dissensions qui surgissent parmi les islamistes les empêchent en outre de travailler ensemble. Une fois que le mouvement émerge, que ses membres accèdent au pouvoir et l'exercent réellement, les divisions deviennent de plus en plus profondes. Les rivalités, masquées quand les islamistes languissent dans l'opposition, se dévoilent quand ils conquièrent le pouvoir.

 

Si les tendances à la fragmentation perdurent, le mouvement islamiste sera condamné, comme le fascisme et le communisme, à n'être rien de plus qu'une menace pour la civilisation, capable de causer des dommages considérables mais sans jamais pouvoir triompher. Ce frein potentiel au pouvoir islamiste, devenu manifeste seulement en 2013, ouvre la voie à l'optimisme mais pas à la complaisance. Même si les choses semblent meilleures qu'il y a un an, la tendance peut à nouveau s'inverser rapidement. La tâche ardue qui consiste à vaincre l'islamisme demeure une priorité.

 

Les Etats-Unis face aux Frères musulmans

Dore Gold

Le CAPE de Jérusalem, 17 juillet 2013

 

La grogne des manifestants du Caire contre l’administration Obama vient en grande partie du soutien présumé des Etats-Unis à la confrérie des Frères musulmans. Dans les images diffusées par CNN avant la chute du président Morsi, nous avons vu plusieurs pancartes marquées d’un « Obama cesse ton soutien au régime fasciste des Frères musulmans ! » La colère était également dirigée contre l’ambassadrice américaine en Egypte, Anne Patterson.

 

Cette colère avait déjà éclaté après le discours d’Anne Patterson prononcé le 18 juin dernier, quelques semaines seulement avant la destitution de Morsi. La représentante américaine avait voulu mettre un terme aux rumeurs de conspiration selon lesquelles le soutien de Washington aux Frères musulmans était à l’origine de la chute de Moubarak. Elle avait expliqué que « tous les pays du monde entretiennent des relations avec des opposants au régime car les chefs des partis de l’opposition peuvent un jour devenir les leaders du pays. » A la fin de son allocution, elle avait quelque peu désavoué les manifestations contre Morsi : « Mon administration doute que les démonstrations de rue soient préférables à des élections au suffrage universel ». Quelques jours plus tard, Anne Patterson rencontrait Mohammed Khairat al-Chater, le numéro deux de la confrérie musulmane.   

 

Cette rencontre et les propos de l’ambassadrice avaient provoqué un tollé général, la classe politique et la presse arabes y voyant une intervention américaine directe dans les affaires intérieures de l’Egypte. Le journal libanais Al Nahar citant des voix libérales égyptiennes fit remarquer que les Etats-Unis avaient évité à ce jour de condamner les méthodes totalitaires du président Morsi.

 

Le secrétaire d’Etat John Kerry avait rejeté catégoriquement ces accusations et affirmé avec force que Washington ne soutenait aucun mouvement ni parti politique. Toutefois, le Wall Street Journal a rappelé que la critique des Egyptiens remontait à la visite effectuée par Hillary Clinton au Caire au moment même où Morsi renforçait son pouvoir en affaiblissant la magistrature et les autorités judiciaires.

 

La politique américaine à l’égard des Frères musulmans a surpris les observateurs et les chancelleries, mais il serait injuste de dire que cette politique a commencé avec l’installation d’Obama à la Maison Blanche. Déjà, en 2007, la revue Foreign Affairs avait publié un article intitulé « Les modérés Frères musulmans ». En se basant sur des entretiens avec des dirigeants de la confrérie, les auteurs de l’article concluaient que les Frères musulmans agissaient dans le but d’éviter le djihad ; une affirmation contraire au texte publié sur le site officiel de la confrérie.

 

Ceux qui souhaitent collaborer avec la confrérie musulmane prétendent que celle-ci représente une alternative aux groupes djihadistes et à al-Qaida. Encore une erreur d’analyse puisque les Frères musulmans ont parrainé et hébergé au Soudan des dirigeants djihadistes tels que Ben Laden ou les leaders du Hamas. Dans les années 1990 ils avaient même permis l’ouverture de camps d’entraînement.

 

Le régime de Morsi n’est pas allé jusqu’à cette extrémité, mais il a amnistié des dirigeants djihadistes condamnés en raison de leur implication dans la tentative d’attentat contre le président Moubarak et dans le massacre commis à Louxor en 1997 (62 personnes avaient été tuées). Morsi avait aussi exigé que des membres de la confrérie musulmane et des combattants extrémistes intègrent l’Académie militaire. Rappelons enfin que les Frères musulmans ont collaboré étroitement avec le Hamas et n’ont pas agi énergiquement contre la multiplication des tunnels et le trafic d’armes.

 

En conclusion, sans prétendre que les Etats-Unis sont des sympathisants des Frères musulmans, nous affirmons qu’il existe au sein de l’administration, surtout depuis le départ de George W. Bush de la Maison Blanche, un courant de pensée qui pense très naïvement que les Frères musulmans forment un mouvement modéré.

 

Il est trop tôt pour savoir si ce courant de pensée survivra à la chute de Morsi et s’il s’imposera un jour à l’égard d’un autre pays dans le contexte du « printemps arabe ».

 

Critique littéraire :

Le judaïsme et l’environnement, par Jonathan Aichenbaum

Pierre Itshak Lurçat

upjf.org, 23 juillet 2013

   

Un petit livre érudit et pédagogique sur un sujet brûlant – Quelle meilleure période que l’été pour découvrir un livre consacré au judaïsme et à l’écologie, deux choses qu’on pourrait penser, à tort, très éloignées l’une de l’autre… J’avais lu il y a quelques années avec bonheur le beau livre du rabbin Alexandre Safran, Sagesse de la Kabbale, qui comporte de très belles pages sur les rapports entre l’homme et la nature et notamment sur l’analogie établie par la Kabbale entre l’homme et l’arbre.

 

« L’homme de la Kabbale – écrit le rav Safran – éprouve une grande émotion à la mort – violente – d’un arbre comme à la mort de son prochain : il apprend qu’il y a des moments où des voix traversent le monde d’un bout à l’autre, sans qu’on s’en aperçoive : au moment où l’on coupe un arbre fruitier et au moment où l’âme quitte le corps humain ».

 

C’est dans une perspective différente de celle de la Kabbale que se situe le livre de Jonathan Aichenbaum. L’auteur enseigne en effet la politique de l’environnement à l’université Bar Ilan, et anime le cercle d’étude « Makom », consacré au judaïsme et à l’environnement. Son livre, nous dit la quatrième page de couverture, « répond de manière claire et argumentée aux questions essentielles qui concernent la perspective de la tradition juive sur la crise de l’environnement. L’homme a-t-il tous les droits sur la nature ? Quel équilibre entre développement économique et préservation des ressources et de milieux naturels ? La disparition d’espèces animales et végétales pose-t-elle un problème éthique ?, etc. » J’ajouterai que son livre montre de manière très convaincante que le judaïsme, loin d’être un corpus de textes vieillots, est une pensée vivante, qui apporte des réponses très claires aux questions les plus brûlantes que pose la « crise de l’environnement ».

 

Trop souvent, en effet, les médias occidentaux nous présentent l’écologie comme étant le combat exclusif de partis politiques très orientés (et souvent anti-israéliens, pour des raisons que le livre évoque). Or l’écologie, rappelle Jonathan Aichenbaum, est avant tout une question éthique qui, à ce titre, concerne tout Juif et tout homme conséquent.

 

Le Judaïsme et l’environnement est rédigé sous la forme de dialogues, qui rappellent les Dialogues de Platon. Ce choix audacieux de l’auteur donne à son propos une fluidité et une clarté remarquables, qui mettent en relief ses qualités de pédagogue. La double érudition de l’auteur – à la fois sur le thème de l’écologie, des questions qu’elle pose et des différents courants qui l’illustrent en Occident, et sur les sources juives – confère à ce livre relativement court une profondeur et une richesse qui donnent envie d’en savoir plus…

 

Je ne dirais pas que le lecteur reste sur sa faim, mais plutôt que, comme après un très bon repas, il pense déjà au prochain… J’attends donc avec impatience le prochain livre de Jonathan Aichenbaum et j’invite tous ceux qui s’intéressent au judaïsme, à l’écologie ou aux deux à courir acheter ce livre!

IRAN: SAME OLD SAME OLD TOMORROW’S “ELECTION” WILL CHANGE NOTHING —SAME “SUPREME LEADER”, SAME REPRESSION, SAME NUCLEAR DRIVE…


Contents:                          
Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Ahmadinejad 2.0? Conservatives Dominate Iran Presidential Lineup: Reese Erlich, Global Post, June 12, 2013—With Iran’s presidential elections Friday, Tehran is in full campaign mode. Political posters are hanging from city walls, and enthusiastic rallies and informal marches are taking place across the capital. Six major candidates approved by the Guardian Council, a government religious body, are running to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s head of state.

 

Ayatollah Khamenei Is Iran’s Supreme Investor: Meir Javedanfar, Bloomberg, June 12, 2013—The best way to understand Iran’s elections this week is to think of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the regime’s supreme investment manager. Like Warren Buffett, or any other top fund manager, Khamenei is answerable to his shareholders when making a big investment pick. Both men enjoy enormous personal authority, but if they keep hurting the interests of their shareholders by getting the big choices wrong, that authority will erode.

 

Another Iran Crisis Is Looming: Yaakov Lappin, Gatestone Institute, June 12, 2013—At a time when news headlines from the Middle East are dominated by battles in Syria, growing Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and mass disturbances in Turkey, it is easy to forget about Iran's nuclear program; but early warning indicators are signaling an impending, explosive crisis over Iran's refusal to halt its covert nuclear weapons program.

 

On Topic Links

 

Who Brought Iran Close to a Nuclear Bomb?: Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, June 12, 2013

Iran’s Apocalyptic Policy Makers: Saeed Ghasseminejad, Times of Israel, June 10, 2013

Days Before Vote, Huge Majority of Iranians Favor Sharia Law: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, June 12, 2013

Hardliners Split As Iran Election Campaign Ends: Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2013

Analysis: Iran Election Won't Impact Nuclear Policy: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2013

Missing Mahmoud: Reza Aslan, Foreign Policy, June 12, 2013

Iran’s Deep-Rooted Terror Networks Pose ‘Real Risk’: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, June 13, 2013

 

 

AHMADINEJAD 2.0? CONSERVATIVES
DOMINATE IRAN PRESIDENTIAL LINEUP

Reese Erlich

Global Post, June 12, 2013

 

With Iran’s presidential elections Friday, Tehran is in full campaign mode. Political posters are hanging from city walls, and enthusiastic rallies and informal marches are taking place across the capital. Six major candidates approved by the Guardian Council, a government religious body, are running to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s head of state.

 

This year's contest is a far cry from four years ago, when tens of thousands of Iranians took to the streets in spontaneous protests prior to the presidential election. That activism is missing this year as voters focus on a stalled economy. The lineup of mostly conservative candidates are unlikely to take on the ruling establishment.

 

Several weeks ago, the Guardian Council eliminated two of the strongest candidates who might have challenged Iran’s religious and military leaders, including former President Ali Hashemi Rafsanjani and Ahmadinejad ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.

 

The contenders are now mostly conservative supporters of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s highest-ranking political and religious authority. None of the candidates suggest major shifts in Iran's pursuit of nuclear power. The government is also working hard to prevent mass demonstrations similar to those that broke out both ahead of and following the 2009 polls against what demonstrators said was a fraudulent vote. The state is also encouraging voters to head to the polls in a bid to boost its legitimacy after the last vote’s fallout.

 

High turnout in Friday’s elections “would show [the government’s] popularity,” said Mohammad Sadegh Jananansefat, a prominent economist and editor of Industry and Development, an economic and political magazine. As part of the government effort to pique voter interest ahead of the June 14 polls, the candidates were featured in three televised debates last week. Powerful rhetoric flowed, and even some personal invective, but candidates discussed few specific policy issues. None offered detailed suggestions for ending Iran’s diplomatic isolation due to its nuclear program, nor for improving the country’s economic situation.

 

Official unemployment now stands at 13 percent, and inflation hit 31 percent last month, with food prices jumping a staggering 50 percent over the past few months. Analysts here attribute the economic problems to the impact of US sanctions, along with government mismanagement of the economy. "The US sanctions on oil exports means less hard currency and higher inflation, which mostly hurts ordinary Iranians," Janansefat said. Former nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rohani has gathered some popular momentum since a successful showing during the third television debate last Friday.

 

He is largely viewed as a moderate, and some who participated in the 2009 protests — which later became known as the "Green Movement" — are rallying behind him, including at his public campaign events in Tehran. Rafsanjani, who champions better international ties, endorsed Rouhani for president on Tuesday.

“Rohani is a moderate who will support people’s rights,” said one supporter, Maryam, who asked that her full name not be used. At a Rohani campaign rally in Tehran on Saturday, which thousands attended, she wore a Green Movement plastic wristband. “It’s important to vote for him, even if he loses — to show popular support for reform,” she said. But Rohani faces an uphill battle against a league of strong conservative contenders with the implicit backing of Ayatollah Khamanei. Iran has a weak presidential system with all real power resting with the Supreme Leader. He makes key decisions about foreign policy and the nuclear power program, for example.

 

Mohammad Baqer Ghalibaf, a leading conservative candidate, is the former police chief and mayor of Tehran. He recently bragged of his participation in a brutal crackdown on students at the University of Tehran in 1999. "We were part of the group that beat people," he said at a campaign event. "And I am proud of it.”

 

At a small grocery in central Tehran, owner Mocher Odaj has plastered his windows with Ghalibaf posters. “He brought law and order to Tehran,” Odaj said. Iran’s current chief nuclear negotiator is Saeed Jalili, who maintains a hard-line position when it comes to talks with the US. He has criticized both the Green Movement the moderate politicians who questioned the 2009 crackdown as “promoting sedition.” hat endears him to many conservative voters. "He didn't compromise during the nuclear negotiations," said Saeed Mohammad Husseini, a Jalili supporter who works at a store selling religious CDs.

 

The third major conservative candidate is Ali Akbar Velayati, a senior adviser to Khamenei, former foreign minister and former nuclear negotiator. Velayati's deputy Tehran campaign manager, Naeim Alinaghi, stressed his candidate's diplomatic background. "Velayati will skillfully negotiate with the West," Husseini said. However, Western powers — not Iran — will have to shift positions "because we shouldn't change our nuclear power program, which is for peaceful purposes only," he said.

 

If no candidate wins 50 percent plus one vote, then the top two contenders will participate in a runoff on June 21.

Contents

 

 

AYATOLLAH KHAMENEI IS IRAN’S SUPREME INVESTOR

Meir Javedanfar

Bloomberg, June 12, 2013

 

The best way to understand Iran’s elections this week is to think of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as the regime’s supreme investment manager. Like Warren Buffett, or any other top fund manager, Khamenei is answerable to his shareholders when making a big investment pick. Both men enjoy enormous personal authority, but if they keep hurting the interests of their shareholders by getting the big choices wrong, that authority will erode.

 

Khamenei’s shareholders consist mainly of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Principalists, a broad coalition of conservative politicians. Where Buffett is judged by the companies and stocks in which he invests, Khamenei is judged by the politicians he picks or supports for positions of authority, and how those people further the economic and political interests of the supreme leader’s supporters. And the most important pick Khamenei has to make this year is Iran’s next president.

 

Khamenei’s last presidential investment, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, didn’t work out so well. Instead of uniting Iran’s conservative elite, Ahmadinejad’s antics and leadership style created infighting and division. He ravaged the regime’s standing abroad with inflammatory speeches, such as his denial of the Holocaust. At home, his populist economic policies caused extensive damage, which today can be witnessed in Iran’s high level of inflation — which the nation’s official statistics agency put at 30 percent in May — and 12 percent unemployment, according to International Monetary Fund data.

Appalling Record

 

Coupled with international sanctions triggered by Iran’s alleged nuclear-weapons program, this appalling economic record has hurt not only the Iranian people, but also the business interests of the revolutionary guard. Today, the guard has major business interests in the construction, oil-and-gas, and automotive industries, as well as in the manufacture and importing of electronic goods. To give just one example, the U.S. administration last year named National Iranian Oil Co., Iran’s state oil company, as an “agent or affiliate” of the revolutionary guard.

 

As powerful as the guard is, however, its companies rely on the Iranian population to buy their products. The less money consumers have, and the more inflation erodes their purchasing power, the less they can spend on goods that the revolutionary guard makes and imports. Compounding the stakes for Khamenei is that, despite Ahmadinejad’s damaging antics and policies during his first term as president, the supreme leader backed him again for a second term in 2009. Khamenei asked his stakeholders to support that decision, which they did.

 

This makes it even more important that Khamenei invests his political capital and reputation in the right candidate this time. The next president needs to strengthen the regime’s cohesion, its domestic- and foreign-policy performance, and the economy. If Khamenei makes another poor choice, his credibility and even authority may suffer as important regime stakeholders begin to doubt his ability to secure their interests. Khamenei’s top priority right now is to promote cohesion in the regime’s increasingly divided ranks, a major concern for the Principalists. Infighting has increased at an unprecedented rate during Ahmadinejad’s second term, a phenomenon that is more and more difficult to conceal.

 

Even Khamenei’s family has been affected. The supreme leader’s ultraconservative older brother, Sayyed Mohammad Khamenei recently attacked former President Ali Akbar Rafsanjani, who was planning to run for the office again, but was disqualified by the Guardian Council. Khamenei’s younger brother Hojatoleslam Hadi Khamenei then publicly defended Rafsanjani by stating that those who attack the former president “want to destroy the Islamic Republic.”

 

Infighting is one of the main reasons why the supreme leader had Rafsanjani’s candidacy disqualified. Economics played an even bigger role. Rafsanjani and his backers want to open Iran’s economy to new investors, both domestic and foreign, to promote growth. This would create competition for the revolutionary guard, hurting its business interests. Forced to choose between the guard and Rafsanjani, Khamenei had little choice — he couldn’t afford to risk alienating the revolutionary guard, a vital pillar of support for his rule.

 

Presidential candidates, such as chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili and Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf look like better investment options for the supreme leader. Both are close to the revolutionary guard and to the conservative circles that surround Khamenei.

 

The major difference between these two conservative candidates is that Qalibaf has more genuine grass-roots support, especially in Tehran, where he has spent eight years as mayor and is fairly popular. That also gave him valuable experience in managing domestic affairs, giving him an edge over some of the other candidates. This support base makes it more likely that, as president, Qalibaf would be willing to criticize or oppose the supreme leader’s policies, whereas Jalili has proved himself to be a yes-man. Unlike Ahmadinejad, however, Qalibaf would probably air his differences in private.

 

The widespread use of election fraud in 2009, when the Iranian regime went so far as to fake ballot papers for Ahmadinejad in Jerusalem — 48 voters produced 79 ballots — shows that the supreme leader doesn’t care much about whom the majority of Iranian voters would like to see as their leader. The whole system has been designed to narrow choices and tilt the process to ensure that a candidate approved by the supreme leader wins.

 

Still, a low voter turnout this time could also damage Khamenei’s image as the supreme investor, exposing low levels of public faith in his leadership. To address this challenge, it seems that Khamenei hopes the three election-campaign debates — between the eight candidates the Guardian Council permitted to stand (out of 686 hopefuls) — will create the impression that the elections will be fair.

 

In 1989, Warren Buffett wrote in a letter to shareholders that: “It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.” That’s good advice for Iran’s Khamenei, too. He needs to back a convincing candidate for the presidency this week, even if that means paying a higher price in terms of choosing someone who won’t always toe the line. The Iranian regime’s shareholders are watching and judging. After a bad investment in Ahmadinejad, Iran’s supreme investment manager needs to show his worth.

 

(Meir Javedanfar is an Iranian-Israeli Middle East analyst. He teaches the contemporary Iranian politics at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Israel. Follow him on Twitter.)

 

Contents

 

 

ANOTHER IRAN CRISIS IS LOOMING

Yaakov Lappin

Gatestone Institute, June 12, 2013

 

At a time when news headlines from the Middle East are dominated by battles in Syria, growing Sunni-Shi'ite conflict in Iraq and Lebanon, and mass disturbances in Turkey, it is easy to forget about Iran's nuclear program; but early warning indicators are signaling an impending, explosive crisis over Iran's refusal to halt its covert nuclear weapons program.

 

At enrichment facilities in Natanz and Fordow, Iran is continuing to inch closer to the point of nuclear breakout, as a report by the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) recently noted.

 

The report confirmed what defense analysts had been saying for months: that Iran installed hundreds of additional centrifuges for uranium enrichment, enhancing its nuclear program, while continuing enrichment activities. Tehran has also taken steps to create a parallel path to nuclear weapons through its plutonium plant at Arak. Iranian engineers are constructing a reactor at the heavy water plant at Arak, which could enable the production of a plutonium-based atomic bomb.

 

Meanwhile, Iran continues to deny IAEA inspectors access to its suspected nuclear trigger facility at Parchin, and has been busy shifting earth around the site to cover its activities. At this point, the IAEA said, even if inspectors were allowed to visit, the cover-up would mean they may not find a thing. These developments have led leading Israeli defense experts at the Institute for National Security Institute in Tel Aviv to conclude that unless the White House soon adjusts its policy on Iran, the U.S. may end up adopting a policy of nuclear containment rather than prevention.

 

The analysts, Emily Landau, director of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program at the INSS, and Ephraim Asculai, a senior research associate, questioned President Barack Obama's assertion that the US will know ahead of time if Iran took a decision to produce nuclear weapons. They cited historical failures by intelligence agencies, and cautioned that relying on the IAEA to identify the danger in time could prove disastrous. Even if a timely warning were received, they said, it remains unclear that there would enough time to reverse Iran's trajectory, or that the White House would be willing to employ force.

Most importantly, their paper said that it is now "blatantly apparent" that the diplomatic approach for solving the Iranian crisis has failed, "even though the US administration has yet to admit this. Their stance was echoed on Monday by the United Nation's top nuclear diplomat, IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano. Amano told the IAEA's board of governors that talks with Iran are simply "going around in circles," and described the past ten rounds of negotiations as failures. Using unusually blunt language to underscore the dead-end situation, Amano said: "To be frank, for some time now, we have been going around in circles. This is not the right way to address issues of such great importance to the international community, including Iran."

 

Iran's intransigence, and its unwillingness to cooperate or provide assurances about the absence of nuclear material and activities were all to blame, he said. "These activities are in clear contravention of resolutions adopted by the Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council," Amano added. Israel, which is more threatened by Iran's nuclear program than is the U.S., as well as militarily weaker than Washington, has less time to make its up mind on how and when to proceed to avert a threat to its existence.

 

Israel's Minister for Strategic Affairs, Yuval Steinitz, reflected the urgency of the situation in a warning he sent out to the public last week. "Time is running out," he said. "We have only a few months. The danger is a global one, which will change the face of history. Iran could have hundreds of atomic bombs and hundreds of long-range missiles." He added: "The danger is many times bigger than North Korea."

 

Against this background, the Israeli military's former intelligence chief, Maj.-Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, and former Vice-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. James Cartwright USMC (ret.), published an analysis in the Atlantic examining what would happen if either Israel or the US launched military strikes on Iran's nuclear program. Yadlin and Cartwright simulated a classified phone call between Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and U.S. President Barack Obama, which would take place later this year. During the call, the two leaders agree that the diplomatic-sanctions route to stopping Iran has failed. Their starting position is the current situation, and the timing of their piece is not coincidental. Their envisaged phone call may well occur sooner rather than later.

A central conclusion reached by the defense figures is that Israel has the highest moral authority to launch military action, as it faces the greatest threat. Practically, an Israeli strike might also safeguard the U.S.'s ability to act as a broker and negotiate a permanent diplomatic solution to the crisis after a strike – a role the U.S. could not undertake if it carried out the strike itself. Nevertheless, the U.S. enjoys superior military capabilities to launch such an operation.

 

Iran's response to an attack from either side could range from a limited retaliation to launching a regional war. The other day, an Israeli defense official said the production of Arrow-3 anti-ballistic missile defense systems – which intercept incoming long-range missiles in space – have been fast-tracked.

 

Eight months ago, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told the international community at the United Nations that the clock was ticking for a resolution to the Iranian crisis, and that time could be up by the spring or summer of 2013. A growing number of alarms are ringing.

 

Contents

 

Who Brought Iran Close to a Nuclear Bomb? : Lt. Col. (ret.) Michael Segall, JCPA, June 12, 2013—With a few days remaining before the June 14 presidential elections in Iran, the most fraught, sensitive issue in the campaign concerns Iran’s foreign policy – its relations with the West in general and the nuclear talks in particular. Whereas the “principalist” [hard-line] candidates take a dogmatic, uncompromising line on Iran’s foreign relations and its stance on the nuclear issue, the “pragmatic” candidates show a readiness to open a new chapter in Iran’s dealings with the world and conduct the nuclear talks in a calmer atmosphere.

 

Iran’s Apocalyptic Policy Makers: Saeed Ghasseminejad, Times of Israel, June 10, 2013—Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, the Iranian nuclear scientist who was killed in a bomb blast, was not only a man of science but also a man of faith. He had a master, Ayatollah Azizollah Khoshvaght, a little-known but highly-ranked cleric.

 

Days Before Vote, Huge Majority of Iranians Favor Sharia Law: Haviv Rettig Gur, Times of Israel, June 12, 2013—2

Iranians favor implementing Sharia law in Iran by a huge majority — 83 percent to just 15 opposed — according to a new survey of Iranians published Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. A majority of Iranian Muslims already believe that is the case in the country.

 

Hardliners Split As Iran Election Campaign Ends: Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2013 —Campaigning in Iran's presidential election ended on Thursday, a day before the vote in which the sole moderate candidate has an unlikely chance to steal victory from his hardline rivals. Hardliners have failed to agree on a unity candidate, potentially splitting their vote and improving the chances of moderate cleric Hassan Rohani to progress to a run-off poll.

 

Analysis: Iran Election Won't Impact Nuclear Policy: Ariel Ben Solomon, Jerusalem Post, June 13, 2013—Is the Islamic Republic a rational actor and could it be deterred if it gets nuclear weapons, as the Soviet Union was during the cold war? And is the presidential election in Iran this Friday a significant event that could alter the trajectory of events and negotiations with the West?

 

Missing Mahmoud: Reza Aslan, Foreign Policy, June 12, 2013—What's that saying? You don't know what you've got 'til it's gone? Well, after eight long years of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as president of Iran, I'm willing to bet that even those of us who loathe the man are going to end up missing him — not just because of the comedy he provided with his bellicose rhetoric and his inane populism, but because he may have been the last, best hope of stripping the clerical regime of its "God-given" right to rule Iran. Don’t snicker. Once President Ahmadinejad is gone, there’ll be no one left to stand up to Iran's mullahs.

 

Iran’s Deep-Rooted Terror Networks Pose ‘Real Risk’: David Horovitz, Times of Israel, June 13, 2013—There are “clear signs” that terrorist networks first established by Iran in several South American countries in the 1980s and 1990s are still in place, and there are indications that Iran has similar networks in Europe, the Argentinian prosecutor who investigated the 1994 AMIA bombing in Buenos Aires told The Times of Israel. In a telephone interview a week after he issued a 500-page report on the bombing and Iran’s wider terrorist infiltration of South America, Alberto Nisman said that Tehran had established its terror networks for the strategic long term, ready to be used “whenever it needs them.”

 

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JORDAN-SYRIA TENSION — ASSAD’S ADVANCE THREATENS AMMAN’S STABILITY: ISRAEL, WATCHFUL, WAITS


Contents:                          
Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

Jordan Jittery as Assad Troops Advance: Osama Al Sharif, Al-Monitor, June 9, 2013—Reports of a major military breakthrough by the Syrian army in Qusair, a strategic town close to the Syrian-Lebanese border, and surrounding areas last week [June 4-7] have given Jordan — which has felt the grave impact of more than two years of instability in its northern neighbor — the jitters.

 

Jordan is Reforming Without a Revolution: Hamada Faraenah, Al-Ayyam (P.A.)., June 9, 2013—Jordan is not safe from having major demonstrations by partisan and union bodies that oppose the government’s economic and social policies. Jordan has the factors that caused the Arab Spring wave, which started in Tunisia before moving to Egypt, Libya and Syria.

 

Ex-Jordanian Spy: Abdullah is Anti-Israel: Rachel Avraham, Jewish Press, May 19, 2013—Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen is a former senior level Jordanian agent who is Christian. He defected from Jordan because he objected to the Jordanian monarchy’s practice of assassinating Jordanian citizens who have protested against the current regime.

 

Jordan, a Fake Country: Batya Medad, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013—Jordan’s land was supposed to be part of the Jewish State.  When the League of Nations assigned Great Britain the responsibility to prepare former Turkish land aka Mandated Palestine to be the Jewish State, it included both sides of the Jordan.

 

On Topic Links

 

Canadian Military in Jordan for Exercise: Lee Berthiaume, National Post, June 10, 2013

Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan: Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013

Jordan Threatens to Expel Syrian Envoy: Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2013

The Agreement on Jerusalem btw the P. A. and Jordan: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, Apr. 4, 2013

Jordan’s Syria Problem: Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books, Jan. 10, 2013

 

 

JORDAN JITTERY AS ASSAD TROOPS ADVANCE 

Osama Al Sharif

Al-Monitor, June 9, 2013

 

Reports of a major military breakthrough by the Syrian army in Qusair, a strategic town close to the Syrian-Lebanese border, and surrounding areas last week [June 4-7] have given Jordan — which has felt the grave impact of more than two years of instability in its northern neighbor — the jitters. Commentators have tried to analyze the effect of this victory by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's regime over rebel forces, who had to flee the town after a siege by the regular army and Hezbollah forces that lasted more than two weeks. The pressing question on everyone’s mind was this: Can Assad survive and win?

 

The answer to this question may determine the future stability of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. For months, since the eruption of the Syrian uprising in March 2011, Jordan has embraced a calculated position, calling for a political solution to the conflict and rejecting foreign intervention. But it also backed efforts to depose Assad and allow for a transitional phase so that the Syrian people could choose a new leadership. It was a tough line to follow.

 

Meanwhile, Jordan has opened its borders to hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees whose presence exacerbated the country’s economic problems. It has also received defecting officers and senior officials, including a sitting prime minister. The Damascus regime did not appreciate Jordan’s position, especially after allegations that Amman had allowed Jihadists and shipments of weapons to cross into Syria. At one point, Assad threatened that the fire in Syria would not spare Jordan.

 

Jordanians remain divided, though not equally, in their perception of the Syrian debacle. The majority supported the uprising, but die-hard Arab nationalists and Baathists stood by the Damascus regime. Under pressure from the United States and Gulf countries, Jordan slowly abandoned its calculated policy on Syria and joined the anti-Assad camp. In May, Amman hosted a meeting of the so-called Friends of Syria core group and signed onto a statement that called for Assad to leave power. The thin red line had been crossed, and Jordan found itself on the opposite side.

 

Still, Jordan did not evict the Syrian ambassador in Amman, Bahjat Suleiman, or hand over the embassy to the opposition. It thought that it could still manage its relations with Damascus and stay within the enemies of Assad's group. Suleiman, an ardent critic of Jordan, launched a scathing attack on the government for hosting the Friends of Syria group and later for announcing that it will deploy a Patriot anti-missile system along its northern borders. The batteries will arrive in Jordan, along with F-16 jet fighters, as part of multinational military exercises that will be held here, under the name of Eager Lion, later in June.

 

After Suleiman’s attack on Jordan, which he posted on Facebook, Jordan’s Foreign Minister Nasser Judeh warned the envoy that he risks being expelled if he does not stop criticizing his host. “This is a final warning,” Judeh told the Associated Press. “Failing to commit, Suleiman risks becoming persona non grata,” he said.

It was another indication that the tension between Amman and Damascus has reached a boiling point. Jordan’s parliament is also pressuring the government to expel the Syrian ambassador. Suleiman had said that the answer to the Patriot system was the Iskandar missiles — a variation of Scuds that could reach northern Jordan.

 

The possibility of Assad surviving the civil war has raised questions about the future stability of Jordan. Pundits in Amman are worried that a vindictive Assad could retaliate by destabilizing Jordan. In a major foreign policy speech last week, Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain warned that Assad will not end the two-year-old civil war that has killed more than 80,000 Syrians as long as he is winning on the battlefield, and anyone who thinks otherwise is “delusional.” Speaking at the Brookings Institution in Washington, McCain said, “Jordan cannot last under this present scenario as we’ve seen; fighting has started in Lebanon and this thing could spread and engulf the entire Middle East in a civil war.”

 

McCain called on the Obama administration to renew US leadership in the Middle East and develop a credible Syria strategy. While the battle for Qusair will not decide the fate of Syria, many Jordanians believe that recent victories against the rebels in the Damascus countryside and along the Damascus-Amman highway will pave the way for attempts to take over Aleppo, Deraa and Homs from the rebels.

 

Amman still supports a political deal, in the form of the Geneva II peace conference, but there are signs that the meeting faces many logistical difficulties. Jordan stands to lose the most from a major shift in the military situation in Syria. While few are talking about Assad’s political survival, Amman is worried that divisions within the Syrian National Coalition and the retreat of the Free Syrian Army could strengthen Assad’s position and might have dire effects on Jordan’s stability.

 

Even if that does not happen for now, Jordan is already facing grave challenges in hosting half a million Syrian refugees. This week, a senior UN official said that the number of refugees in Jordan could swell to one million by the end of the year. The UN is launching a historic appeal to collect more than $5 billion to help host countries deal with the Syrian refugee problem. Jordan was forced to abandon its calculated policy on Syria. Now it appears as one of the biggest regional losers if the Assad regime survives or if the war drags on for a few more years. Either way, Jordan is feeling the heat.

 

Osama Al Sharif is a veteran journalist and political commentator based in Amman, Jordan, who specializes in Middle East issues.

Contents

 

 

JORDAN IS REFORMING WITHOUT A REVOLUTION

Hamada Faraenah

Al-Ayyam (P.A.)., June 9, 2013

 

Jordan is not safe from having major demonstrations by partisan and union bodies that oppose the government’s economic and social policies. Jordan has the factors that caused the Arab Spring wave, which started in Tunisia before moving to Egypt, Libya and Syria. The Arab Spring may keep moving to other countries, both monarchies and republics, because the same conditions exist in those countries. The people reject regimes built around a single person, family, party or ethnicity. The factors that lead to the Arab Spring are:

 

    The lack of independence and sovereignty standards. The placing of foreign interests above national interests. Foreign armies and unfair foreign agreements control the Arab order. Arab countries have a high debt burden. Some regimes receive military protection from the West. All that is helping maintain the occupation of Palestine, Syria, Iraq and southern Lebanon. There are foreign military bases in the Arabian Gulf. Binding agreements have been imposed on Jordan, Egypt, Yemen, Djibouti and others.

 

    The lack of democracy, pluralism and peaceful transfer of power through the ballot box.

 

    The lack of social justice and the poor state of health services, housing and transportation. The unfair distribution of wealth. The high poverty rates and the widening gap between rich and poor, which causes conflict.

 

The above conditions do apply to Jordan. But the country has so far not experienced a popular revolution like other Arab countries. Rather, Jordan achieved positive, reasonable and balanced results for many reasons:

 

    The Jordanian opposition is weak and fragmented. It took contradictory positions, such as its position on the National Dialogue Committee or on whether to participate in the parliamentary elections. The opposition is composed of the Muslim Brotherhood as well as nationalist and leftist parties. There are also the youth who mistakenly think that they are a substitute for the two traditional camps. As a result, Jordanian demonstrators have been divided and did not attract the general population. Therefore, the impact of Jordanian demonstrators was limited.

 

    Most Jordanians fear the devastating effects of the Arab Spring, as happened in Libya, Syria and Iraq. Jordanians want reform and change, but most of them don’t want to see violence, like what happened in Maan for example. Jordanians are reluctant to join the protest movement, even though they do wish to see reform and gradual democratic change.

 

    That the Arab Spring allowed the Muslim Brotherhood to reach power in the Gaza Strip, Egypt and Tunisia has made the Jordanians wary of making moves that would replicate the same result in their country.

 

    The Jordanian leadership has been responsive to change. It did not clash with the protesters but tried to accommodate them. The king accurately read the changes sweeping the Arab world. He spoke about a constitutional monarchy, parliament and political parties — terms that used to be forbidden. He amended the constitution. As much as one-third of the constitution was changed. He issued a new electoral law. The new law allows for national electoral lists, created an independent supervisory body and redresses electoral transgressions through the courts.

 

Despite that, the king said that more changes will be made and that there will be further constitutional amendments. He described the election law as “not ideal.” Improving the electoral law is on the current parliament’s agenda.

 

Jordan is still at the heart of the change process. It has averted violence so far. Most Jordanians — including the king, the nationalists and the leftists — believe in gradual change toward a constitutional monarchy having an elected parliament, despite the forces pushing in the opposite direction. Those regressive forces include the conservatives, which are backward and reactionary, and the Muslim Brotherhood, which does not believe in religious, ethnic, ideological or partisan pluralism.

 

Contents

 

 

EX-JORDANIAN SPY: ABDULLAH IS ANTI-ISRAEL

Rachel Avraham

Jewish Press, May 19th, 2013

 

Ouni Abed Botrous Hadaddeen is a former senior level Jordanian agent who is Christian. He defected from Jordan because he objected to the Jordanian monarchy’s practice of assassinating Jordanian citizens who have protested against the current regime. Ouni was born to the tribe of Hadadeen, which is supportive of the Hashemite dynasty that has traditionally filled significant positions within the Jordanian government and armed services.

 

While he worked as a senior level Jordanian intelligence “collaborator” (spy), Ouni was ordered by the Jordanian government to confront anti-government protests and to lead counter protests in support of the Jordanian monarchy. In addition, he was told to write articles within the Arab media in support of the Jordanian government to prevent Jordan’s power base from collapsing, as was the case in Egypt during the “Arab Spring.” Hadaddeen claims that supporting the current Jordanian regime is not in the best interest of Israel and has accused Jordan’s King Abdullah of manipulating the Jordanian people to have negative views and even hatred of Israel.

 

Hadaddeen is presently a political refugee in Norway, while his family remains within Jordan. He claims that the Jordanian government has constantly threatened to rape and murder his wife and three young daughters. When asked if the threats were credible, Ouni said that rape is a systematic tool used by the Jordanian intelligence and the fact that he is Christian, rather than from a Muslim tribe, makes the regime less concerned about repercussions. Despite the threats, Hadaddeen continues to be an outspoken advocate against the Jordanian monarchy, out of the belief that at this point only public exposure will help his family.

 

There is evidence to back up Ouni’s claim that the Jordanian regime is fomenting hatred for Israel among the Jordanian people. The Jordanian educational system, instead of teaching the country’s youth to peacefully co-exist with Israel, educates youngsters that Palestine was stolen by the Jews. A report published by Anti-Semitism and Xenophobia Today, states that in Jordanian school textbooks, “references to Zionists as agents of imperialism and proponents of expansionists’ schemes […] occur.” Many of the anti-Israel textbooks that are presently used within Palestinian schools were originally Jordanian textbooks.

 

However, according to Hadaddeen, it seems that the Jordanian regime doesn’t merely publish anti-Israel textbooks. “One of the main foundations of King Abdullah’s regime is establishing hatred for Israel under the table,” Hadaddeen reports. He says that:

 

During the protests, [Abdullah] would tell Jordanian intelligence operatives, with me only being one of them, to sneak into protests and chant anti-Israeli slogans, both to distract the attention of people from the king and to give the impression that if he falls, Israel will be next.

 

Furthermore, a year and a half ago, the Jordanian intelligence establishment organized a massive march to the Israeli border, where Jordanians were told to “cross the border into Palestine.” But when Jordanians began to attempt to cross the borders, Jordanian intelligence officials attacked the protesters. Hadaddeen said this was a ploy in order to convince the Israelis that it was in their best interest to keep the Jordanian king in power.

 

Hadaddeen said that after the Israeli diplomatic mission was evacuated, as a result of this march, Jordanian intelligence officers went into the streets and proclaimed, “Haha, the Israeli chickens have left.” Hadaddeen compares the Jordanian king to Yasser Arafat, claiming that they are both double-faced. Just as Arafat told westerners he was dedicated to peace yet called for shahids among his own people, the Jordanian king portrays himself as the lone front against the Islamists, while getting his intelligence people to organize Islamist, anti-Israel and pro-regime protests, as the secular opposition, opposed to terror, is persecuted.

 

Unlike the situation in Egypt during the Arab Spring, the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan was and is on the same side as the regime. As Zaki Bani Rushied –leader of the Islamic Action Front Party—the Brotherhood’s political arm—informed the media, “The people of Jordan have chosen to reform the regime; people can choose to topple the regime or reform it, and here in Jordan we have chosen to reform the regime.”

 

Indeed, Hadaddeen asserts that in Jordan the Muslim Brotherhood is a “tool used by the king himself.” He said that the Jordanian king is “using the Muslim Brotherhood to terrorize Israel. He would meet them, and this is documented by media, and one day after they would start massive protests against Israel. It is not even a secret.”

 

Hadaddeen made the claim that in Jordan not a single Muslim Brotherhood member is in jail, and their members drive brand new German cars, in a country where such things are considered an extreme luxury. Hadaddeen described the cooperation between the Jordanian monarchy and members of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, claiming that the Jordanian monarchy has supported the Muslim Brotherhood for decades.

 

Hadaddeen decided to abandon the Jordanian monarchy mainly because of the killings that have taken place “under the radar,” that have gone unreported in mainstream media. He claims that “they have been doing a lot of killing.” A Jordanian named Khairi Jameel, who was mildly injured while protesting against the Jordanian government, apparently was murdered by Jordanian intelligence upon boarding an ambulance.

 

Hadaddeen is certain that the regime attempted to make an example out of him. “I was there that day leading the pro-monarch counter-protests, and we were told by our intelligence officer someone was going to get killed that day. I saw Khary Jameel boarding the ambulance alive with a minor injury, pronounced dead hours later.” Hadaddeen believes that since that he is a Christian, he has dispelled the Jordanian government’s “facade to the western media” that all opposition members are Islamists.

 

Contents

 

 

JORDAN, A FAKE COUNTRY

Batya Medad

Jewish Press, June 10, 2013

 

Jordan’s land was supposed to be part of the Jewish State.  When the League of Nations assigned Great Britain the responsibility to prepare former Turkish land aka Mandated Palestine to be the Jewish State, it included both sides of the Jordan. But it didn’t take long for Britain to give Transjordan aka the East Bank of the Jordan to the Hashemites, from Saudi Arabia. They financially and diplomatically supported their new/fake/pet country for decades.

 

The inevitable is starting to happen.  There are serious cracks in the Hashemite Kingdom.  There’s a limit how long foreigners can rule.

 

For the last two years, Jordan has been witnessing regular protests calling for reform, with some demanding the king give up his powers. On November 15, 2012, massive protests broke out in Jordan after the Jordanian government, in compliance with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, raised fuel prices. Protests, as The Independent noted, swept the country, “with most chanting for toppling the regime” despite the fact that protesters had previously “rarely targeted the king himself.”

 

For the first time, the Palestinians engaged fully in the protests; As Al-Jazeera reported, Palestinians, including those from refugee camps, have been fully involved, calling for toppling the regime in most of their major residential areas, including the Al-Baqqa refugee camp, the Al-Hussein refugee camp, close to downtown Amman, Douar Firas, Jabal Al-Nuzha, and the Hitteen refugee camp. [Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013]

 

And there’s also a limit how long a country without any real history, common culture etc can stay united and peaceful.  The land was pretty empty when Britain invented Jordan.  It was easy to give it to the Hashemites, because there had never been more than nomads, villages and towns.  There was no regional culture.  There had never been an independent country based only in that part of the work.  It had been part of the Biblical Jewish Kingdoms, from the time of Joshua, which even predates the kings.  Two and a half Jewish tribes lived there, their capital being Shiloh and later Jerusalem.

 

Anarchy on the other side of the Jordan, visible from my home in Shiloh, will probably last quite a while.  Actually, Israel is usually safer when Arabs fight each other.  The only thing that unites them is their aim to destroy the State of Israel and murder/terrorize Jews. Let them continue to fight each other.

 

Contents

 

Canadian Military in Jordan for Exercise Amid Reports Assad’s Forces in Syria on Verge of  Breakthrough:Lee Berthiaume, Postmedia News June 10, 2013—Canada is one of 19 countries participating in a major military exercise in Jordan that is taking place amid reports government forces in neighbouring Syria are on the verge of a breakthrough against rebel forces.

 

Jordan’s Secular Opposition: Plan B for Jordan: Mudar Zahran, Jewish Press, June 10, 2013—For the last two years, Jordan has been witnessing regular protests calling for reform, with some demanding the king give up his powers.  On November 15, 2012, massive protests broke out in Jordan after the Jordanian government, in compliance with the requirements of the International Monetary Fund, raised fuel prices.

 

Jordan Threatens to Expel Syrian Envoy: Jerusalem Post, June 7, 2013—US ally Jordan threatened on Thursday to expel Syria's ambassador, after he warned the kingdom Syrian missiles could be used against Patriot batteries due to be deployed soon along their border.

 

The Agreement on Jerusalem between the Palestinian Authority and Jordan: Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi, JCPA, Apr. 4, 2013—On March 31, Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), in his role as leader of the PLO, president of the state of Palestine, and chairman of the Palestinian Authority, signed an agreement on the safeguarding of Al-Quds (Jerusalem) and its holy places with Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

 

Jordan’s Syria Problem: Nicolas Pelham, New York Review of Books, Jan. 10, 2013—While Jordan’s own secular monarchy contends with hundreds of thousands of newly arrived Syrian refugees, it is fearful that the conflict is also creating a powerful cause for its own restless Islamists.

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Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

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ALTHOUGH EGYPT TOTTERS ON BRINK OF COLLAPSE, DON’T COUNT ISLAMIST BRETHREN OUT


Contents:                          

 

Download a pdf version of today's Daily Briefing.

 

The Region: Passivity in the face of Islamism: Barry Rubin, Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013—A colleague wrote me the following thoughts: “As the expert on this issue, may I pose a question to you? I accept the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is messing up in Egypt – that they are suffering a credibility gap between promise and performance.

 

Egypt's Summer of Discontent: Eric Trager, Real Clear World, May 29, 2013—Due to a moribund economy, fuel and food shortages, and a lack of political opportunities, Egypt faces a tumultuous summer, and conditions will likely continue to deteriorate thereafter.

 

Mohamed Morsi’s Betrayal of Democracy: Editorial Board, Washington Post, May 13, 2013—Ahmed Maher, one of the leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, supported Islamist Mohamed Morsi in last year’s presidential election because he believed Mr. Morsi’s victory over a military-backed candidate would be more likely to consolidate democracy in their country.

 

On Topic Links

 

Egypt’s Supreme Court Rules Against Shura Council: Zenobia Azeem, Al-Monitor, June 3, 2013

Monthly Infiltration from Sinai Drops from 2,000 to 2: Prime Minister's Office, June 2, 2013
Ethiopian Dam Project Raises Fears of Water Deficit in Egypt: Ahmad Mustafa, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2013

Jihad on Egypt's Christian Children: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2013

 

 

THE REGION: PASSIVITY IN THE FACE OF ISLAMISM

Barry Rubin

Jerusalem Post, June 3, 2013
 

A colleague wrote me the following thoughts: “As the expert on this issue, may I pose a question to you? I accept the fact that the Muslim Brotherhood is messing up in Egypt – that they are suffering a credibility gap between promise and performance. But could this not also be positive in that in the process political Islam itself gets discredited? You would recall the Islamist Revolution heralded by Hasan al-Turabi in Sudan. However when I [met some of them], Turabi’s own students [were] critical about the Islamist revolution and indeed told me there should now be a division between state and faith. Could a similar development not happen in Egypt?”

This is a clever point, and it could certainly happen. Yes, by mismanaging Egypt’s affairs the Brotherhood could become unpopular and be voted out of office. To put this idea another way: Might despair be moderation’s best friend? There are examples of such a phenomenon right now in Egypt: An anti-Islamist media now exists to point out this discontent, though the opposition’s power is sometimes overestimated. The mistaken lesson of the 2011 Egyptian revolution at the time was that a lot of people protesting or voting equals democracy.

 

Yet power balances still matter. The old regime only fell because the old ruling elite wouldn’t save it due to exhaustion and factional conflict. The new Islamist ruling elite won’t make that mistake, at least for decades to come. A recent poll shows how Egyptians are becoming understandably gloomy over the situation.

 

Now Egypt faces a huge economic crisis. The country has only about two months’ reserves to pay for imported food. Where is it going to get the around $5 billion a month it needs to pay this bill? A proposed loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that would pay for one month or so is being held up by the Egyptian government’s refusal to sign the deal because the IMF’s conditions require cutting subsidies, and cutting subsidies on food could lead to massive riots.

 

Westerners generally believe that repression and suffering lead to angry responses by the masses. Yet institutions can control the situation, propaganda reshapes beliefs, repression stifles opposition. Moreover, in Third World countries, a predominantly poor people can – because they know they have no choice in economic, political and social terms – put up with a lot more unhappiness and suffering than do middle class Americans or Europeans who have the leisure, information, freedom, and luxury of acting (albeit not necessarily effectively) on even minor complaints.

 

In short, dissatisfaction in Egypt doesn’t necessarily mean change.  Despair usually leads to passivity. If the last revolution failed or was disappointing are people going to want to mobilize for another one? Isn’t the message that politics don’t work or the forces making the mess are too strong? Thirty-four years after Iran’s Islamist revolution a lot of despair has only led to two peaks of moderate activity there. The first was co-opted (the Khatami presidency which achieved nothing), and the second was put down through repression (the 2009 Green Movement after the regime stole an election).

 

The Arab nationalist regime in Egypt lasted for almost 60 years and involved a lot of suffering and four lost wars (Yemen, and against Israel in 1956, 1967, and 1973). By the time the Brotherhood is discredited it will be far more entrenched in power and therefore harder to remove. Perhaps future elections will be fixed, or not even held at all. The Brotherhood will, for example, control the court system in future – this is currently its highest priority – and thus can guarantee electoral victories. By then, repression will set in deeper, discouraging open dissent. Much of the time it is true that the heavier the penalty for speaking out, the fewer who will do so. Even if you have a lot of discontented people on your side it is not easy to moderate, much less, overturn an Islamist dictatorship.

 

Speaking of Iran (and this is quite interesting), in the past, especially in the 1990s, it was argued that the visible failures of Iran’s revolution would discourage other countries from having Islamist revolutions, and at the time that did seem quite logical. Around the year 2000 the Islamist movement was widely considered to have failed. Yet disastrous precedents don’t necessarily discourage revolutionary Islamists, who simply claim, “We can do it better.” And it doesn’t mean the masses necessarily will not believe them, especially since Islam is such a passionate, powerful force.

 

If the highest goal of the Middle East peoples is democracy, freedom, human rights and material progress, the argument that these forces will triumph might be plausible. But is that in fact true? Just because people in the West think that way doesn’t make it accurate. Ideological enthusiasm and religious passion may carry the day rather than the everyone-wants-their-kids-to-get-a-better-life-as-their-top-priority school believes.

 

Not every parent celebrates their kid becoming a suicide bomber, for example, but a large number do. And even though they might be angry about the children being misled by demagogues, they know well enough not to speak publicly about it. Attacking a Christian church also lets off a lot of steam, as does blaming the Jews. Many people give up, thinking (or knowing) that there is no real road immediately visible for transforming their societies into prosperous and democratic ones. Others benefit materially by supporting a dictatorial regime. The government better ensure that one of these groups are military officers.

 

It is also often true that outside observers look at every specific development in isolation, ignoring the revolutionary rulers’ ideology and blueprint. With the armed forces apparently determined to be passive, there is only one effective institution holding back the Brotherhood: the courts. Judges appointed under the old regime are largely secular, and many of them showed pro-democratic independence even under the Mubarak dictatorship. One way or another, however, the Brotherhood is moving toward replacing the judges by forcing them into retirement. And then the regime will name its own judges, who will interpret things the way the Brotherhood likes as well as putting a very high priority on making Sharia the law of the land. The same process will be happening in the schools, mass media, religious and other institutions, finally reaching the entrance and promotion of Brotherhood sympathizers in the officer corps….

 

Indeed, it is very sobering to consider the Sudan, my colleague’s example of anger at an Islamist government leading to moderation. While the extreme Islamists did become discredited there eventually, the process took almost 25 years. Even today, the country is under an authoritarian dictator. And it is very significant to note that Sharia law largely continues to rule the country. The current Sudanese dictatorship, which has been credibly accused of genocide against black Africans in the south, merely uses the pedestal provided by the Islamist predecessor. On its behalf, the Muslim clerical association has just called for jihad against anti-government rebels.

 

Egypt is a more advanced country than Sudan and the Islamists there are badly split. There are now four main Islamist parties in Egypt. Yet they can also work together and are all pushing in the same direction. The moderates are still weak even if you add in all the other non-Islamists (including radical nationalists and leftists). And the opposition to Islamism is more fragmented than the Islamists, lacking even an ideology or program….

 

Thus, while anger and despair are going to rise in Egypt these factors are not in themselves enough to bring down a regime. Unless the army is convinced that the country is going to fall apart – and perhaps not even then – the Brotherhood is going to be in power for a long time. And that also applies to everywhere else Islamists are ruling – in the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Tunisia, Turkey, and perhaps soon in Syria.

 

The writer is the director of the Global Research in International Affairs (Gloria) Center.

 

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EGYPT'S SUMMER OF DISCONTENT

Eric Trager

Real Clear World, May 29, 2013

 

Due to a moribund economy, fuel and food shortages, and a lack of political opportunities, Egypt faces a tumultuous summer, and conditions will likely continue to deteriorate thereafter. While Washington should encourage Cairo to undertake necessary political and economic reforms that might calm the situation and improve governance, the Obama administration should concentrate on preserving vital strategic interests in the event of renewed upheaval.

Since Egypt's 2011 revolution, persistent political uncertainty and plummeting domestic security have undermined foreign investment and harmed the country's once-vibrant tourism industry. According to the Interior Ministry, the past year has witnessed a 120 percent increase in murders, 350 percent increase in robberies, and 145 percent jump in kidnappings. Foreign currency reserves dropped from approximately $36 billion at the time of Hosni Mubarak's ouster to $14.42 billion at the end of April 2013, with a $2 billion Libyan cash deposit in late March inflating the latter figure. Meanwhile, according to the Financial Times, Egypt's public sector salary bill has risen by 80 percent since the uprising to $25 billion annually; 400,000 government jobs have been added, and an additional 400,000 will be made permanent by the end of June.

This combination of shrinking reserves and growing expenditures is threatening the government's ability to import wheat and fuel, which it sells at subsidized rates. Fuel and fertilizer shortages have also impacted domestic wheat production, which is unlikely to reach Cairo's goal of 9.5 million tons — a benchmark intended to reduce Egypt's dependence on foreign imports. The fuel shortages have also catalyzed regular electricity outages (including multiple times in one day at Cairo International Airport), and rural areas are reporting water outages. These problems are expected to worsen as Egyptians turn on their air conditioners during the summer; the situation will become especially uncomfortable once Ramadan begins in early July, when approximately 90 percent of the population will be observing the month-long fast during daylight hours.

Historically, wheat shortages and subsidy cuts have sparked mass protests in Egypt, such as the 1977 "Bread Riots" and the demonstrations that accompanied the 2008 global food crisis. Indeed, fuel shortages have already given rise to sporadic protests nationwide since March. Although these demonstrations have been relatively small thus far, summertime power outages that make it too uncomfortable to be indoors could force more people into the streets.

Since November 2012 — when President Muhammad Morsi asserted virtually unchecked executive authority and rushed an Islamist-dominated constitutional process to ratification — Egypt's non-Islamist opposition has protested the Muslim Brotherhood-led government's autocratic behavior and increasingly questioned its legitimacy. For many activists, the Brotherhood's use of violence against non-Islamist protesters on December 5 represented the point of no return; the group's subsequent assaults on media freedom (e.g., prosecuting journalists who criticize Morsi) have led some to call for the military to return to power.

The latest iteration of this movement is the "Tamarod" (rebellion) petition campaign, which opposition activists launched on May 1. The campaign seeks to "withdraw confidence" in Morsi and rally public support for early presidential elections by focusing on specific grievances, including the persistent lack of security, ongoing poverty, and Morsi's supposed "subservience to the Americans." While the petition will likely fall short of the 15 million signatures its supporters hope to collect by June 30 — the one-year anniversary of Morsi's inauguration — the fact that it has already collected 2 million indicates widespread frustration, and June 30 may emerge as a major protest date.

The Brotherhood's response to these political challenges has only exacerbated the situation and seemingly strengthened the opposition's resolve. Rather than engaging its opponents, the government is repressing them. Ahmed Maher, founder of the "April 6" opposition movement, was recently arrested after returning from a trip to the United States, charged with inciting protests outside the interior minister's house. The prosecutor-general is also investigating two prominent television hosts — Amr Adib and former parliamentarian Mohamed Sherdy — for supporting the Tamarod campaign.

Unfortunately, Egypt's political polarization will likely persist well beyond the summer. The opposition will probably continue to be excluded from the political process. The next parliamentary elections, which have not yet been scheduled, are unlikely to occur before September, leaving street protests as the only viable avenue for opposition dissent. Moreover, when elections finally do occur, the Brotherhood will likely win again: even if the main opposition bloc (the National Salvation Front) abandons its current boycott commitment, as many analysts expect, its late entry will complicate efforts to compete with the Brotherhood's nationwide network, which has been in campaign mode since the beginning of the year.

In the interim, the Brotherhood appears unlikely to abandon exclusivist rule. Morsi's latest round of cabinet appointments further expanded the number of Brotherhood-affiliated ministers without adding any from non-Islamist parties, and he has rebuffed opposition demands to remove the interior and information ministers. Moreover, the officials who will lead the negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a $4.8 billion loan are all Muslim Brothers.

This polarization will significantly inhibit Egypt's economic recovery for the foreseeable future. Morsi's apparent focus on consolidating the Brotherhood's power is contrary to the IMF's insistence on more inclusive governance, which the agency views as necessary for ensuring broad political support for any loan. In addition, persistent political tension and civil strife will deter foreign investment and keep tourists away, leaving Egypt reliant on petrodollar infusions (e.g., from Qatar and Libya) that are unlikely to continue flowing indefinitely. The cash crunch will also complicate government efforts to restore security, further compounding lawlessness and economic woes.

Meanwhile, the military does not appear willing or able to steer the country in a more positive direction. Although the armed forces are generally considered Egypt's strongest institution, the generals have repeatedly signaled their lack of interest in returning to power. They recognize that they performed poorly when they ran the country prior to Morsi's election, and they seem to know they are no more likely to succeed in governing than the Brotherhood given the extent of Egypt's challenges. In addition, the military's undemocratic nature makes it incapable of engendering the kind of broad consensus needed for reform.

 

Egypt's worsening economic and political frustrations, coupled with the state's declining ability to maintain order, make upheaval a strong possibility this summer and beyond. Washington should therefore focus on two goals.

 

First, it should continue encouraging Egypt's political actors to dial down the tension. This means telling the opposition not to give up on politics, since participation in the current system provides a more likely path to power sharing than calling for a "rebellion" against Morsi, which would only exacerbate the country's instability and further damage the economy. As for the Muslim Brotherhood, Washington should tell Cairo that the painful choices required by necessary economic reform (e.g., tax increases and subsidy cuts) make including the opposition and forging political consensus vital. U.S. officials should also point out that Egypt cannot rely on petrodollar infusions to sustain its shrinking cash reserves indefinitely, and that failure to institute vital reforms will ultimately lead its benefactors to view it as a bad investment.

 

Second, Washington should prepare for the likelihood that the Brotherhood and opposition will reject this advice, and plan for potential instability. In particular, the administration should focus on the three strategic interests that could be jeopardized:

 

1. The Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty, which may come under pressure if turmoil leads to greater violence from Sinai or more hostile populist politics from Cairo

 

2. The security of the Suez Canal, which recent civil unrest has already put at risk

 

3. Counterterrorism cooperation, given the recent emergence of Salafist jihadists in Egypt

 

Since the Egyptian military is primarily responsible for each of these items, the Obama administration should work with the generals to ensure that contingency plans are in place if the country's summer of discontent boils over.

 

Eric Trager is the Next Generation fellow at The Washington Institute.

 

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MOHAMED MORSI’S BETRAYAL OF DEMOCRACY

Editorial

Washington Post, May 13, 2013

 

Ahmed Maher, one of the leaders of Egypt’s 2011 revolution, supported Islamist Mohamed Morsi in last year’s presidential election because he believed Mr. Morsi’s victory over a military-backed candidate would be more likely to consolidate democracy in their country. But during a visit to Washington last week, Mr. Maher told us that Mr. Morsi had betrayed him and his April 6 Youth Movement. “They lied, they broke promises, they killed members of April 6,” Mr. Maher said. Mr. Morsi’s government, he said, increasingly resembled that of former strongman Hosni Mubarak: “They only seek power.”

 

Mr. Maher’s strong charges soon were substantiated by another transgression: Upon returning to Cairo from the United States on Friday, he was arrested at the airport. The 32-year-old, who founded the April 6 movement in 2008 to organize protests against the Mubarak regime, was charged with inciting a protest in March against Mr. Morsi’s interior minister. His transfer to a high-security prison quickly provoked a backlash both in Cairo and in Washington, and on Saturday authorities backed down. Mr. Maher was released, his case was transferred to a lower court and Mr. Morsi’s office and political party repudiated the airport arrest.

 

That retreat still left Mr. Maher facing charges, according to the state news agency, of “resisting the authorities, insulting the police, gathering and obstructing traffic” — counts frequently used by the former dictatorship against public demonstrations. It offered new cause for concern about a government that repeatedly has proclaimed its commitment to both democracy and compromise with its opponents even as it prosecutes critics and prepares repressive new laws.

 

Mr. Maher’s youth movement has resisted the polarization that has overtaken Egyptian politics in the past year. Though its leaders are secular liberal democrats with left-leaning views, they supported Mr. Morsi after obtaining direct assurances from him that he would seek consensus on the terms of a new constitution. The president broke that commitment in November, when he granted himself absolute power in order to force through a constitution favoured by the Muslim Brotherhood. Meanwhile, a state prosecutor Mr.Morsi appointed in what opponents contend was another illegal manoeuvre has been bringing charges against critics, including journalists and organizers of demonstrations. A legislative body dominated by the ruling party has given preliminary approval to a law that would eviscerate Egypt’s civil society, shutting down almost all government-watchdog and human rights groups.

 

Mr. Morsi’s spokesmen have asserted that he does not favour the political prosecutions and that the government is preparing a new version of the civil society law. But the president has not removed the prosecutor he appointed nor met other reasonable opposition demands, such as the correction of a gerrymander of electoral districts legislated by his party.

 

Mr. Maher opposes counterproductive strategies embraced by other opposition leaders, including a boycott of future elections or support for a military coup. But he warns that the United States is repeating past mistakes in Egypt by appearing to tolerate Mr. Morsi’s consolidation of power. “If you want to support democracy, say we are here in Egypt to support democracy, not whoever is in office,” Mr. Maher says. That’s advice the Obama administration should heed.

 

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Egypt’s Supreme Court Rules Against Shura Council: Zenobia Azeem, Al-Monitor, June 3, 2013—In a surprising decision, Egypt’s Supreme Constitutional Court (SCC) ruled on June 2 that the Shura Council, currently the country’s only functioning legislative body, and the Constituent Assembly, which drafted the December 2012 Constitution, are unconstitutional.

 

Monthly Infiltration from Sinai Drops from 2,000 to 2: Prime Minister's Office, June 2, 2013—Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Sunday, "The fence that we built in the south is achieving the result for which it was erected.

 

Ethiopian Dam Project Raises Fears of Water Deficit in Egypt: Ahmad Mustafa, Al-Monitor, May 30, 2013—Ethiopia's decision to begin diverting the course of the Blue Nile (the largest of the Nile river’s branches), as a prelude to the construction of the Renaissance Dam, put Egyptian diplomacy in a difficult position and stirred fears over Cairo’s declining share in the Nile waters, but the Egyptian presidency managed to tame these fears.

 

Jihad on Egypt's Christian Children: Raymond Ibrahim, Gatestone Institute, June 3, 2013—Attacks on Christian children in Egypt are on the rise. Earlier this week, a six-year-old Coptic Christian boy, Cyril Yusuf Sa'ad, was abducted and held for ransom. After his family paid the ransom, the Muslim kidnapper, Ahmed Abdel Moneim Abdel-Salam, killed the child and threw his body in the sewer of his house

Top of Page

 

 

Visit CIJR’s Bi-Weekly Webzine: Israzine.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing is available by e-mail.
Please urge colleagues, friends, and family to visit our website for more information on our ISRANET series.
To join our distribution list, or to unsubscribe, visit us at http://www.isranet.org/.

The ISRANET Daily Briefing is a service of CIJR. We hope that you find it useful and that you will support it and our pro-Israel educational work by forwarding a minimum $90.00 tax-deductible contribution [please send a cheque or VISA/MasterCard information to CIJR (see cover page for address)]. All donations include a membership-subscription to our respected quarterly ISRAFAX print magazine, which will be mailed to your home.

CIJR’s ISRANET Daily Briefing attempts to convey a wide variety of opinions on Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish world for its readers’ educational and research purposes. Reprinted articles and documents express the opinions of their authors, and do not necessarily reflect the viewpoint of the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

 

 

Ber Lazarus, Publications Chairman, Canadian Institute for Jewish ResearchL'institut Canadien de recherches sur le Judaïsme, www.isranet.org

Tel: (514) 486-5544 – Fax:(514) 486-8284 ; ber@isranet.org