|March 26, 2009||No. 2298|
Following are excerpts from a sermon by Sunni Islamic scholar Sheik Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, which aired on Qatar TV on February 20, 2009.
To view this MEMRI TV clip, visit http://www.memritv.org/clip/en/2057.htm.
To view more clips of Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi, visit http://www.memritv.org/subject/en/589.htm.
"The Prophet Muhammad Wanted Peace That is Based on Strength"
Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: "The Prophet Muhammad wanted peace that is based on strength. He does not want the peace of the weak, the peace of those who disappoint, the peace of those who surrender - like the peace Israel wants to impose on us and the Palestinians. That is not peace. That is what Allah meant when he said: 'And do not falter and cry for peace when you have the upper hand, for Allah is with you, and will not refrain from [rewarding] you for your actions.'
"Peace that is based on delusion and submission is not peace. The Prophet Muhammad wanted peace that is based on strength."
The Koran Says 'Prepare Against Them What Force and Steeds of War You Can, to Strike Terror in the Hearts of the Enemies"
"Therefore, the Koran referred to this, saying: 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies, and others besides them, whom you do not know, but Allah knows.' 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can.'"
"If We Had Nuclear Weapons, They Would Be Afraid to Attack Us"
"A few days ago, a Muslim asked me if we were allowed to possess WMDs - nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons. I said to him: 'Yes, we must possess such weapons, but not use them.' We must possess such weapons in order to strike terror in our enemies - 'Strike terror in the hearts of the enemies,' and frighten them. If we had nuclear weapons, they would be afraid to attack us, as was the case between the Soviet Union and the Americans, and between India and Pakistan. This is armed peace.
"We must acquire [military] strength. 'Prepare against them what force and steeds of war you can, to strike terror in the hearts of the enemies of Allah and of your own enemies.' The 'steeds of war' of our times are tanks, armored vehicles, and submarines. These are the steeds of our times. It is not enough to equip ourselves with horses in order to confront tanks. Horses can only be used for certain things.
"Each generation must prepare its own devices with which to strike terror in the enemies of Allah. We do not want to attack anybody, but to strike fear in our enemies, so that they will not attack us."
Friday, March 27, 2009
MEMRI TV - Sheikh Al-Qaradhawi Sermon on Qatar TV: The Arabs Must Obtain, But Not Use, Weapons of Mass Destruction- Nuclear, Chemical, And Biological - "In Order to Strike Terror In The Hearts of Our Enemies"
Posted by News Service at 10:38 AM
Sara A. Carter
Posted by News Service at 5:25 AM
Sudan and Egypt are claiming that the convoys carried "immigrants" rather than arms:
A new Egyptian newspaper, Al-Shurooq, was the first to report Tuesday on Saleem saying two convoys trying to cross into Egypt were bombed by American jets. It said there were suspicions that the convoys carried weapons for Gaza.
According to Saleem, the first strike hit 16 vehicles carrying 200 people from various African countries being smuggled across the border. It also carried some "light weapons" such as Kalashnikovs for protection, he said.
In the second attack on February 11, he said 18 vehicles were hit and they were only carrying immigrants, not weapons. He claimed several hundred people were killed in each bombing and said the first strike was about a week before the February 11 attack, but did not give a date.
A week before the February 11 attack would not correspond to the January attack of course. Were there three attacks? A Maariv report (Hebrew) claims that Sudanese officials confirmed that the convoy carried weapons.
Posted by News Service at 4:46 AM
By Anav Silverman
Posted by News Service at 3:19 AM
By William Wunderle and Gabriel Lajeunesse
As the new American administration completes its review of strategy vis-a-vis Iran, policymakers would be advised not to fixate on a nuclear threat that all agree is one to five years away from realization. President Barack Obama's recent attempt to reach out to Iran is part of a correct push for engagement; yet if Iran does not change its behavior, robust action will be needed. This should include significant and simultaneous actions to address the other Iranian threat that could drag the world into regional conflagration in the Middle East at any moment - what we call "Iranian malign influence."
Nowhere is the threat of strategic miscalculation spurred by Iranian-sponsored terror as great as it is in the Levant - in Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egyptian Sinai, Jordan and the Palestinian territories. The Al-Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps provides hundreds of millions of dollars to Hezbollah each year, along with arms, including medium-range rockets and surface-to-air missiles. These transfers violate UN Security Council Resolution 1747, which prohibited Iran from transporting arms or related material, in light of Iranian proliferation concerns. Iran transports this lethal aid overland through neighboring countries, such as Turkey, or by sea, as seen in the recent case of the Cypriot-flagged ship the Monchegorsk.
Iranian aid allowed Hezbollah to carry out rocket attacks on Israel that provoked armed conflict in 2006. It also strengthened Hezbollah's position at home, facilitating the organization's "coup" in Beirut last May, when Hezbollah gunmen gained power after taking to Beirut's streets following a showdown with the government of Prime Minister Fouad Siniora. With elections set for Lebanon this June, the country is a powder keg waiting to explode under the weight of Iranian pressure and manipulation.
Similarly, Hamas leaders have attributed their improving rocket technology and general military prowess to training by the Al-Quds Force. Iran's incitement in Gaza led to catastrophic results earlier this year, as Israeli forces conducted operations in the Strip intended to destroy the sanctuary of Hamas rocket-launching teams.
In Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran's adventurism puts hopes of regional stability at risk. Information extracted from captured terrorist leaders, Lebanese Hezbollah operatives, Iranian Al-Quds Force officers, and analysis of arms caches reveal a pattern of Iranian proxy warfare under way against the U.S. in both countries. Iranian support has also fueled sectarian violence in Iraq.
The Al-Quds Force has provided lethal support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Shi'ite militants in Iraq, in the form of weapons, training, funding and direction. For example, it is now known that such Hezbollah operatives as Ali Mussa Daqduq were dispatched to Iraq to assist the Al-Quds Force develop terror cells there, modeled on those of the Lebanese group. In addition to Iran's support to the Taliban, information declassified in the recent January 16 U.S. Treasury financial designations of Al-Qaida leaders reveals that Iran has had a clandestine relationship with Al-Qaida dating back to the 1990s, and that it continues to harbor prominent members of that organization.
Iran's malign interference in regional affairs is not limited to the Levant, Iraq and Afghanistan, but has extended at various times to support for terrorists and militants involved in destabilizing Turkey, Azerbaijan, Sudan and the Gulf states. This capacity for asymmetric warfare breeds an exaggerated confidence among Iranian leaders, who believe that the days of a renewed Persian empire are imminent.
Yet Iran is not inviolable. In fact, its reliance on human intelligence and covert operations is a critical vulnerability that is susceptible to direct and indirect influence. To exploit this vulnerability, however, the international community - and Middle East leaders in particular - must acknowledge the threat posed by Iranian agents, dedicate the proper resources to the problem, and then work together to identify and neutralize Al-Quds Forces and operations. While the governments of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Morocco have been ratcheting up pressure on Iranian networks, far more multilateral cooperation and intelligence sharing is needed. Regional law-enforcement and intelligence officers, for example, must pay careful attention to Al-Quds Force officers working out of Iranian diplomatic establishments, commercial entities and other establishments that provide non-official cover. Front companies can be identified and closed, finances seized, diplomats declared personae non gratae, and officers in non-official cover positions arrested or detained.
The international community must be diligent, and work with regional leaders to press Iran to renounce its interventionist methods, and to neutralize Al-Quds Force and its proxies. Without increased international pressure, Iran will continue to provide support to terrorists, revolutionaries and insurgents, and will use violence and the threat of violence as a means of bullying its neighbors.
Iran's current course needs serious correction. This effort cannot wait and must occur in concert with the effort to deal with Iran's nuclear aspirations. Members of the international community must work together to stand up to Iranian malign influence and aggression before Iran drags the world into additional conflict in the Middle East.
William Wunderle and Gabriel Lajeunesse are visiting associates at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Georgetown University.
Posted by News Service at 3:04 AM
Thursday, March 26, 2009
In the first Israeli death tally to appear in an official publication since the Dec 26-Jan 18 war, it said a total of 1,166 Palestinians were killed, not 1,417 as reported by Palestinian human rights activists.
The figures were contained in a briefing paper issued by the public affairs department of the Israeli embassy in London on Wednesday (http://london/mfa/gov/il).
It says 295 civilians lost their lives -- about a third of the figure of 926 reported by Gaza's Palestinian Center for Human Rights (www.pchrgaza.org), which published a full list of names earlier this month.
The document said at least 709 of the dead in Gaza were armed militants, not 236 as reported by the Palestinians.
The Palestinian group said "255 police and 236 fighters" died in Israeli bombing and shelling -- a total of 491.
Israel has made clear it regards police under the control of the Islamist Hamas ruler of Gaza as the equivalent of armed fighters.
The Israeli paper said the "degree of involvement" in the armed conflict of a further 162 killed in its offensive was "still under investigation."
It did not say how the figures were obtained.
The central aim of the embassy briefing paper was to reject charges of war crimes by Israeli forces in Gaza from human rights groups.
It said there was so far no adequate ethical code of war "to regulate the war on terror" in which "amoral" adversaries flouted the rules of war and used human shields with total indifference to human suffering.
All Western armies currently face the same dilemma, it said.
(Writing by Douglas Hamilton; editing by Philippa Fletcher)
Posted by News Service at 8:53 AM
Somebody attacked the convoy in Sudan, but it is not so clear that Israel did it: Thus far, public international efforts to curb arms deliveries to the genocidal Hamas, with the exception of our courageous friends in Cyprus, have been somewhat anemic. A European agreement calls for searching ships, but only if the ships agree to be searched. Here is the report
The Israel Air Force carried out an attack last January against a convoy of trucks in Sudan carrying arms for Hamas in the Gaza Strip, according to the American network CBS.The strike "killed Sudanese, Eritreans and Ethiopians, and injured others," Saleem added. [Here comes an HRW report blaming Israel for attacking civilians, right?]CBS News national security correspondent David Martin broke the story. He says that Israeli intelligence learned of plans to move weapons through Sudan, north toward Egypt and then via the Sinai into the Gaza Strip.According to Martin, Israel and the U.S. had signed an agreement for closer international efforts to block smuggling of arms into the Gaza Strip.During the final days of the Israeli offensive against Hamas, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and her American counterpart Condoleezza Rice signed a security-intelligence memorandum on intensifying cooperation in a joint effort to block the smuggling of arms from Iran to Hamas via Sudan.The Sudanese news site said the attack took place "in a desert area northwest of Port Sudan city, near Mount al-Sha'anun."According to SudanTribune.com, the airstrike was an "embarrassment" to Sudan's government, and it discussed the matter with Egypt's government "to gather more information to formulate a response."On the basis of the report from Sudan, American reporters sought confirmation from U.S. administration officials, which led them to the conclusion that the air strike did take place but that the U.S. Air Force was not involved and that the aircraft were Israeli.CBS correspondent Dan Raviv said that "if Israeli airplanes carried out the attack in Sudan, it would suggest that there is a shadow against Hamas and its weapons sources that is wider than the Israeli or U.S. government has revealed."In the original Sudanese report, an unidentified Egyptian official was quoted as saying that the planes that carried out the attack were based out of many countries in the region, and some observers guessed that he meant Djibouti, but there is no such confirmation.Meanwhile, Israel defense sources refused to comment on the report of an air strike in Sudan or on the role that Israel may have played in that attack.Defense sources have reiterated on a number of occasions that Iran embarked on an intensive effort to supply Hamas with weapons and ammunition during Operation Cast Lead.The Israeli security sources said that an international network has been set in place in which smugglers move arms caches from Iran through the Persian Gulf to Yemen, on to Sudan and then to Egypt and Sinai where they are brought into the Gaza Strip through tunnels.Israeli intelligence has warned that the deliveries include anti-tank missiles, small arms, and military grade high explosives, as well as missiles.Meanwhile, in May, an international conference is scheduled to take place in Ottawa, the third of its kind since the end of Operation Cast Lead, which will discuss how to prevent arms smuggling from Iran to the Gaza Strip.In addition to host Canada, Britain, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Denmark, the U.S. and Israel will also take part.
Posted by News Service at 12:52 AM
Tuesday, 24th March 2009
Australia's most controversial sheik, Taj Din al-Hilali, has been caught on videotape kicking in a door at his own mosque before calling police to report an act of vandalism.The head imam at the Lakemba mosque, who caused outrage in 2006 by comparing scantily clad women to uncovered meat, was shown on a CCTV security tape kicking open the door just minutes before reporting the incident. The Nine Network's A Current Affair last night broadcast the videotape from March 9, showing the incident, which Sheik Hilali initially denied. 'There is a trick in this camera. There is a trick in this film,' he told ACA.
...The footage shows four young men locking the door behind them at 10.28pm. Nine minutes later, Sheik Hilali checks the lock and pushes on the top of the door, bending it on its hinges. After checking the corridor, he disappears from view before rushing towards it and kicking it open at 10.46pm. It is understood the name of the suspected culprit was put forward to NSW police, but it is not known if he was interviewed by the authorities.
Posted by News Service at 12:14 AM
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
Maya Khourchid, NOW Staff , March 25, 2009
Posted by News Service at 3:39 PM
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
BESA Center Perspectives Papers No. 73, March 23, 2009
There is a new kind of warfare being waged across the globe. The antagonists in the struggle are employing the weapon of their adversaries – the rule of law – in a strategy called "Lawfare" which involves the misuse of the law to achieve objectives that cannot be achieved militarily. Lawfare can be undertaken by any group of actors of any nationality or religion, but presently Lawfare is being pursued largely by Islamic ideologues, their supporters, and their financiers who sympathize with the actions of Islamic militants.
Lawfare is exponentially effective because one lawsuit can silence thousands who have neither the time nor the financial resources to challenge well-funded terror financiers or the vast machine of the international judicial system. The potential for a "chilling effect" on both speech and conduct are limitless and the consequence can have a devastating effect on public safety and international security.
Categories of Lawfare
There are three primary categories of Lawfare. The first category is the initiation of lawsuits before courts in the international system. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) and the International Criminal Court (ICC) serve complementary but different purposes. The ICJ, established in 1945, resolves disputes between states and renders advisory opinions on legal issues submitted by international organs, agencies, and the UN General Assembly. As the ICJ solves disputes in cases that states bring before it, there is rarely a question about whether the court has jurisdiction in those matters. In contrast, the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court established the ICC as a permanent tribunal to prosecute individuals for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. UN member states had to decide whether to submit to its jurisdiction and allow their citizens to be prosecuted.
The United States and Israel had an intuitive understanding that this presented a potential for abuse in the absence of a system of checks and balances. They rejected participating in the ICC because they feared that hostile nations would initiate politically motivated lawsuits against their soldiers or political leaders and that the impartiality of the court would be compromised. The ICC is only permitted to try nations that are party to the Rome Statute, unless the United Nations Security Council permits otherwise by vote. For now, the United States and Israel are safe from prosecution by the ICC, but it is not an absolute certainty.
In the second category, the misuse of legal terminology to manipulate international institutions and the public is an underhanded mode of Lawfare because it relies on the relative inexperience of laypeople to advance ideas. United Nations resolutions, for example, are used to gain sympathy for the cause of Lawfare combatants and to intimidate their opposition. However, just as ICJ Advisory Opinions are non-binding, UN Resolutions also do not have the force of law and are simply an expression of sentiment and are often precursors to the establishment of authoritative international law by way of a UN Convention. This gives reason to worry, particularly with respect to a resolution that will be at the top of the agenda of the upcoming anti-racism conference in Geneva this April, familiarly known as Durban II.
Every year since 1999, at the request and direction of the 57-state Organization of the Islamic Conference, the United Nations has passed a resolution on Combating Defamation of Religions. The resolution has two major intrinsic flaws and is merely a political attempt by the OIC to stifle free speech and criticism of Islam. The first flaw is that it singles out Islam as a victim and makes no mention of any other religion. The second flaw is that "defamation of religions" is a legal impossibility.
Defamation involves the publication of a false statement about a person, business, group or government, all of which are tangible entities. A religion cannot be defamed because it is only a set of beliefs and, therefore, cannot sue in its own name. Even if, hypothetically, a defamation case were brought, the falsehood of a statement about a religion can never be established, because religious beliefs are subjectively determined. Furthermore, it is not possible for a judge to render a decision on a matter the very nature of which is inconclusive. By supporting this resolution, the OIC is taking advantage of the public's general lack of knowledge about defamation, which does not include a religion as a protected category.
The third and arguably most threatening category of Lawfare relates to the prosecution of foreign nationals in domestic courts for military and civilian action. With respect to military cases, there is the recent example of the prosecution of Israeli officials by a Spanish Court at the instigation of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, an NGO based in Gaza City. The organization requested that two Israeli officials, National Infrastructure Minister and former Defense Minister Binyamin Ben-Eliezer and former IAF and IDF Chief of Staff Dan Halutz be investigated for alleged crimes against humanity for their involvement in the assassination of a Hamas operative in 2002. Invoking the controversial international legal principle of "universal jurisdiction," the Justice of the Spanish Court granted the Palestinian petition.
As distinguished from the criminal jurisdiction of an international tribunal which is exercised by an international organization such as the ICC or the International Criminal Tribunals for Rwanda and the Former Yugoslavia, universal jurisdiction is exercised by states who feel that it is within their moral obligation to mankind to prosecute individuals who allegedly committed crimes outside the boundaries of the prosecuting state, regardless of any relation of the person with that state. The claim is premised on the notion that each state has the responsibility to protect populations from genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. Henry Kissinger denounced universal jurisdiction as a breach of state sovereignty and said it creates the risk of universal tyranny by judges. Despite his objections and by others in the international community, universal jurisdiction persists as evidenced by the prosecution in the Spanish Court.
Prosecutions like the one in Spain pose two dangers. They undermine international sympathy for the plight of the Israeli people, as well as other global citizens, in dealing with terrorism. But even more significantly, a defeat creates a dangerous precedent for future losses because the standard it sets can be incorporated into mainstream international law by way of customary international law – which is comprised of state practice – the repetition of similar acts by other states over time, and opinio juris – the sense of obligation of all states to act in the same manner. This would have disastrous consequences for any state in carrying out military actions and would essentially imprison the defendants in their home countries out of concern for being arrested once they step beyond their own borders. This is exemplified in the case of the attempted arrest of Israeli Major General Doron Almog at Heathrow Airport in the United Kingdom in September 2005, over accusations by Palestinian groups that he ordered the destruction of more than 50 homes in Gaza in 2002.
In cases against civilian (as opposed to military) personnel, Lawfare in both Western and non-Western domestic courts has also been attempted by Islamic groups with the goal of suppressing the free speech of their critics. To combat anti-Islamic rhetoric in the West, Islamic organizations and individuals have stepped up a legal campaign to silence criticism of Islam through attempts at civil litigation and criminal prosecution of private citizens.
A growing phenomenon called "libel tourism" has gained international notoriety as one of the most broadly threatening means of Lawfare. Libel tourism is a form of international forum shopping whereby plaintiffs bring defamation lawsuits in plaintiff-friendly jurisdictions. The United Kingdom, infamously known as the "libel capital of the Western world," has been home to nearly all the libel tourism cases in recent years. What makes British courts so appealing is that libel plaintiffs need not prove the guilt of the accused, but rather the accused must prove their own innocence – the exact opposite of the system in the United States – and often at great cost to themselves and over lengthy periods of time. In the process, the defendants are also barred from reporting about the subject matter of the ongoing litigation, which often takes years.
In a libel tourism case, free speech is shut down, posing a threat to international security when writers can no longer report about suspicious activity or the sources of terror financing. One of the plaintiffs on the libel circuit is a Saudi citizen named Sheikh Khalid Salim bin Mahfouz who has initiated roughly 40 libel cases in British courts. Two of his cases stand out which exemplify the problem of libel tourism. The first involves the publication of a book called "Alms for Jihad" in which Mahfouz is accused of funding Al-Qaeda. Cambridge University Press, the publisher, removed the book from circulation and destroyed existing copies in order to end the lawsuit that Mahfouz brought against them.
The second is the case of Rachel Ehrenfeld who Mahfouz sued over allegations that he funded terrorist groups in her book entitled "Funding Evil." As distinguished from the first case which related to a British publication, Ehrenfeld's book was neither published nor distributed in the UK, but the court granted jurisdiction because Mahfouz was able to buy 20 copies of "Funding Evil" on Amazon.com and ship them to England. Ehrenfeld lost her case in the British Court and was ruled in contempt of court for not submitting to the judgment, putting herself at risk of arrest if she travels to Britain. However, she appealed to the federal and state courts in New York to protect her from Mahfouz enforcing the judgment in the US, arguing the injustice of being prosecuted under a harsher standard than American law allowed.
In early January 2008, the New York State Assembly introduced the "Libel Terrorism Protection Act" to ensure that foreign judgments that are at odds with American law and public policy will not be enforceable in New York. The Act, signed by the Governor of New York on 30 April 2008, served as the prototype for federal legislation entitled the "Freedom of Speech Protection Act" now under review by the US Congress. Despite the American attempts to protect its citizens at home, they cannot change British laws. Therefore, libel tourism remains a threat to free speech and consequently to international security.
With regard to domestic criminal prosecutions, Jordan charged 12 Europeans in 2008 with blasphemy, demeaning Islam and Muslim feelings, and slandering and insulting the prophet Muhammad in violation of the Jordanian Penal Code. Eleven of the defendants were Danish journalists involved in publishing a cartoon of Muhammad, and the twelfth was the controversial Dutch politician Geert Wilders. Jordan requested that Interpol apprehend the defendants and bring them to trial. The case is pending, but the effect of such prosecutions, if recognized in the West, are self-evident. Countries that do not respect free speech, and whose laws are informed by their religious beliefs, oftentimes antithetical to the values that promote free expression, will be encouraged to follow Jordan's example. Essentially no one will be safe from being sued abroad in a domestic court.
We cannot ignore Lawfare tactics or downgrade them as benign methods simply because they do not cause physical injury. Lawfare is a serious assault on the ability of free nations and their citizens to exercise their legal rights under both international and domestic law and to live, speak, travel and defend themselves.
Lawfare has developed to combat the terrorists' most enigmatic enemy. They are not fighting an occupier or challenging a military incursion – they are fighting the forces of freedom, they are fighting the voice of reason, and they are attacking those who have the liberty to speak and act openly. And the weapon that the enemy is using was created by our own hands – that is the rule of law, a weapon designed to subdue dictators and tyrants is now being misused to empower the very same, and being manipulated to subvert real justice and indisputable truth. That is not the purpose the law is designed to serve.
Elizabeth Samson is a visiting fellow at the Hudson Institute. She is an attorney specializing in international law and constitutional law. This paper is based on her lecture at the BESA Center on February 25, 2009.
Posted by News Service at 2:49 AM
such term to describe witch hunt in medieval Europe, both bloody slander and public executions of animals accused of cooperation with the Devil. But human rights watchers and liberals should understand: one can break only existing laws or norms. The concept of "human rights" simply does not exist in the Arab World, so it is impossible to break them .
Posted by News Service at 2:28 AM
Monday, March 23, 2009
But why should the United States pursue a policy that we have every reason to believe will be catastrophic: namely, pushing for a situation in which radical Islamists are more likely to take over.
It is not Western policy but local conditions which are going to determine whether there will be democracy in the Arabic-speaking world. In my book, The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), I analyze both the debate and the existing groups. The assessment must be pessimistic.
Would we like to see liberal democracy and moderation prevail with rising living standards and more freedom? Of course, but the real question is what effect certain policies would have.
Why, then, does the debate seem to be between those who now run most Western governments and want to engage with the worst, most dangerous extremists and those who want to promote democracy by opening up the political process to the... worst, most dangerous extremists?
Is it really so hard to understand that US policy should be based on working closely with Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, Iraq, Lebanon (moderates, not Iranian-Syrian agents), Saudi Arabia and the smaller Gulf emirates? Is it really so hard to understand that US policy should also be based on combating Iran, Syria, Sudan, Hizbullah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhoods, as well as al-Qaida?
We saw what happened in Iran after experts predicted in 1978 that anything would be better than the shah and that moderates would inevitably prevail.
We saw what happened with the Palestinian elections, for while Fatah was no prize, Hamas is far worse and eager for bloodshed. We are about to see what will happen with Lebanese elections which are nominally democratic but influenced by Iranian-Syrian money and intimidation, as a government emerges likely to lead Lebanon into the Iranian bloc.
In Turkey, the several-times-elected AK regime, although still presented internationally as a model moderate Muslim government, is engaged in systematically Islamizing institutions and taking the country down a road leading closer to Teheran than to Washington.
But why should the United States pursue a policy that we have every reason to believe will be catastrophic: namely, pushing for a situation in which radical Islamists are more likely to take over.
Examples have been given of people who might be expected to be liberal preferring to back Islamist parties. But Egypt is virtually the only place this seems to be happening. Elsewhere, people who might be expected to be liberal are supporting the existing regimes out of fear of Islamists. I think that Egypt is a misleading case for that reason. And in Egypt, the leading "liberal" group has now been taken over by the Muslim Brotherhood and spouts a very radical anti-American line.
Do we really want to contribute to subverting the Egyptian regime, with all its faults, and making the Brotherhood more powerful? The reaction is arrogance on the part of the radicals and despair among the moderates. The liberals conclude, you hear this all the time in Turkey, that America wants the Islamists to win.
I don't prefer this situation. I don't like it. But in a world where Islamists seek to overthrow nationalists, in which an Iranian-Syrian led alliance is trying to gain hegemony in much of the region, I feel that Western policy needs to back the regimes against the revolutionaries.
There are some ethnic or religious communities which have an interest in supporting a moderate democratic approach. At present, this includes Iraqi Kurds and Shi'ites; Lebanese Sunni Arabs, Christians and Druse; and the Berbers of the Maghreb. These are, however, special cases.
There are also very systematic campaigns to fool well-intentioned, gullible Westerners. These are often carried out by having moderate statements in English directed to a foreign audience and revolutionary extremist ones in Arabic directed at one's own society. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood has created a very nicely done English-language Web site that would make it seem the organization is something between the Democratic Party and the March of Dimes.
If the West engages with Hamas, Hizbullah and the Muslim Brotherhoods, while working to create a situation in which these groups can compete for power more effectively, the results will be disastrous both for the West and for the Arabs who become victims of the resulting Islamist regimes. No argument, no matter how sincerely heartfelt or superficially clever, alters that fact. That is a tragedy, but in policy terms it is also a necessity to deal with the reality of Middle East polities and societies.
Posted by News Service at 4:47 AM
yoram ettinger , THE JERUSALEM POST
The prevention of a nuclear Iran constitutes a top US national security priority. It sheds light on a special aspect of US-Israel relationship: defiance of mutual threats.
Iran pursues nuclear capabilities to advance strategic goals, which are led by the super-goal: hegemony over the Persian Gulf and its natural resources. Those who undermine the super-goal are considered super-enemies, targeted by super-capabilities. Hence, Teheran would use its nuclear power/threat, first and foremost, to force the US and NATO out of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. It would then turn it against Iraq - its arch rival since the seventh century - and against Saudi Arabia, which is considered an apostate regime. All Gulf states are perceived by Iran as a key prize, required in order to control the flow and the price of oil and to bankroll its megalomaniac regional and global aspirations (e.g. leading Islam's drive to dominate the globe).
The Jewish state constitutes a non-Gulf basin target for Iran, not a primary target. Moreover, Israel is expected to retaliate in a traumatic manner, which would paralyze much of Iran's military and civilian infrastructure. Therefore, Iran would not sacrifice its super-goal (forcing the US out of the Gulf and subjugating the Gulf states) on the altar of a secondary-goal (obliterating the Jewish state).
FOR THE US AND ISRAEL, the preferred option against Iran is preemption rather than retaliation. Recent precedents suggest that the two countries benefit from leveraging each other's unique experience, as well as from bold unilateral military action against rogue threats.
In September 2007, the IAF destroyed a Syrian-North Korean nuclear plant, extending the US's strategic arm. It provided the US with vital information on Russian air defense systems, which are also employed by Iran. It bolstered the US posture of deterrence and refuted the claim that US-Israel relations have been shaped by political expediency.
In 1981, Israel destroyed Iraq's nuclear reactor, providing the US with a conventional option in 1991 and 2003, preventing a mega-billion dollar, mega-casualty nuclear war. In 1970, while the US was bogged down in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, Israel forced the rollback of a pro-Soviet Syrian invasion of pro-US Jordan. It prevented a pro-Soviet "domino effect" into the Persian Gulf, which would have shattered US economy.
In 2009, Israel shares with the US its battle-tested experience in combating Palestinian and Hizbullah terrorism, which are the role model of anti-US Islamic terrorism in Iraq and Afghanistan. US GIs benefit from Israel's battle tactics against car bombs, improvised explosive devices and homicide bombing. An Israel-like ally in the Persian Gulf would have spared the need to dispatch US troops to Iraq, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE and NATO commander Alexander Haig refers to the Jewish state as the largest cost-effective, combat-experienced US aircraft carrier that does not require US personnel, cannot be sunk and is located in a most critical region for US national security interests.
While the US has been Israel's indispensable ally, Israel's battle experience has been integrated into the US defense industry. For example, the F-16 includes more than 600 Israeli modifications, sparing the US a mega-billion dollar and a multi-year research and development budget. A litany of state-of-the-art US military systems have been upgraded in a similar manner, enhancing US national and homeland security and expanding US employment and exports.
Iran's nuclear threat is a symptom of endemic Middle East violent unpredictability and Muslim hostility toward Western democracies. It calls for an upgraded US-Israel win-win relationship, which requires a strong Israel as a national security producer. A weak Israel, pushed into a nine-15 mile sliver along the Mediterranean, pressured to concede the mountain ridges of Judea, Samaria and the Golan Heights, relying on foreign troops and guarantees, would become a national security consumer. It would be a burden rather than an asset to the US in a bad neighborhood, which is crucial for vital US interests.
Iran would benefit from an ineffective Israel. However, the US would have to deploy to the eastern flank of the Mediterranean real aircraft carriers and tens of thousands of US servicemen, costing scores of billions of dollars annually, denied the benefits of Israel - the largest US aircraft carrier, which does not require a single US sailor.
The writer is chairman of special projects at the Ariel Center for Policy Research.
Posted by News Service at 3:42 AM
Published: 03.21.09, 16:24 / Israel Opinion
In their current format, the negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians have been fully exhausted, mostly as result of the absence of frankness and openness, as well as the unsuccessful attempts to circumvent the truth behind the difficulties. For example, there are several misguided terms that must be removed from the peace process lexicon.
Enjoying the 'process' too much
No negotiation without representation
Being honest about issues
Published: 03.22.09, 11:19 / Israel Opinion
If President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and the international Quartet indeed desire a real peace process, they must refresh the framework of the negotiations so that the notion of "talks not at any price" would be no less important that falling in love with a futile process. Presenting conditions for talks would point to seriousness and practicality.
Western representatives should also look into the implications of signing a future agreement with Abbas, as the West may be greatly embarrassed to discover that Abbas may leave to a safe house in exile hours after signing a peace treaty.
The West must also be honest with itself in respect to Hamas' genuine intentions. The Palestinians taught us that not everyone who is interested in peace is able to also take the responsibility of implementing it. Meanwhile, Europe showed us how to postpone the addition of backward and unprepared states to the European Union, yet it forces us to accept such state as a partner for peace dialogue.
Elsewhere, the United States, which has failed in "taming Iraq" as result of a patronizing and anachronistic approach, is urging us to move quickly in order to fail similarly. And all of this is taking place under the guise of the "peace process."
Colonel (res.) Moshe Elad served as the head of the security coordination mechanism with the Palestinian Authority in the Oslo Accord period. Today he is a lecturer at the Western Galilee Academic College
Posted by News Service at 3:33 AM
States throughout the region are looking to establish nuclear programs.
By AMIR TAHERI
In the capitals of Western nations, Abdul Qadeer Khan, the man regarded as the father of the Pakistani atom bomb, is regarded as a maverick with a criminal past. In addition to his well-documented role in developing a nuclear device for Pakistan, he helped Iran and North Korea with their nuclear programs.
Posted by News Service at 2:20 AM