Showing posts with label Arab countries. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Arab countries. Show all posts

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

By Donald Sensing

Egyptians Hoping Israel Will Destroy Hamas

Over the past week there are voices coming out of Egypt and some Arab countries -- voices that publicly support the Israeli military operation against Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

They see the atrocities and massacres committed by Islamists on a daily basis in Iraq and Syria and are beginning to ask themselves if these serve the interests of the Arabs and Muslims.

"Thank you Netanyahu and may God give us more [people] like you to destroy Hamas!" — Azza Sami of the Egyptian newspaper Al-Ahram.

Isolated and under attack, Hamas now realizes that it has lost the sympathy of many Egyptians and Arabs.
Once you remember that Hamas was founded by the Muslim Brotherhood, which originated in Egypt, it make sense.

Israel and the Palestinians in five minutes

By Donald Sensing

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Thursday, June 12, 2014

A note from London

By Donald Sensing

An Israeli friend of mine snapped this photo in London and emailed it to me. This is an absolutely true statement.

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Monday, April 28, 2014

Where did you go, Tony Blair?

By Donald Sensing

Former british Prime Minster takes NBC's David Gregory to school on the threat of Islam (which to be fair, is not difficult):

From The Guardian:

"For the last 40 to 50 years, there has been a steady stream of funding, proselytising, organising and promulgating coming out of the Middle East, pushing views of religion that are narrow minded and dangerous. Unfortunately we seem blind to the enormous global impact such teaching has had and is having.

“Within the Middle East itself, the result has been horrible, with people often facing a choice between authoritarian government that is at least religiously tolerant; and the risk that in throwing off the government they don’t like, they end up with a religiously intolerant quasi-theocracy.”

Insisting that the west had to take sides, he described Islamic extremism as “not about a competing view of how society or politics should be governed within a common space where you accept other views are equally valid. It is exclusivist in nature. The ultimate goal is not a society which someone else can change after winning an election. It is a society of a fixed polity, governed by religious doctrines that are not changeable but which are, of their essence, unchangeable.”

“The threat of this radical Islam is not abating. It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is destabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. And in the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.”
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Riyadh starts kissing Moscow

By Donald Sensing

Who saw this coming? Well, just about anyone whose been paying attention: The Saudis have decided the Middle East strong horse is Vlad Putin, not B. Hussein Obama.
The Saudis have apparently judged President Obama to be rudderless in his Middle East policies, judging by their recent diplomatic moves toward Russia: They appear to have plied Putin with a deal to collude in the global oil market, while also urging him to distance himself from Syria’s Butcher Assad. 
Rumors that Prince Bandar of Saudi Arabia had met with Putin in July have been swirling about for weeks, but the Kremlin has now acknowledged that the meeting did in fact take place.
This was entirely foreseeable and foreseen. I wrote 11 days ago that this was coming and I don't think I was the first one. 

I also will immodestly point out that you did see it this first in that post:
It is not impossible to imagine even Israel gravitating toward Moscow, although it will never do so overtly. The Islamic threat to Israel gives Moscow and Jerusalem a natural affinity of interests. With Riyadh and Moscow being buddies, the Israeli government may even think that triangulating between the two capitals would make strategic sense.
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One diagram that explains the entire Middle East

By Donald Sensing

Hope everything is clear now.
The chart is a spin-off of the most amazing letter to the editor ever written, which appeared in Thursday’s Financial Times. It also explained the entire Middle East, in a few short sentences. Here they are:
Sir, Iran is backing Assad. Gulf states are against Assad!
Assad is against Muslim Brotherhood. Muslim Brotherhood and Obama are against General Sisi.
But Gulf states are pro-Sisi! Which means they are against Muslim Brotherhood!
Iran is pro-Hamas, but Hamas is backing Muslim Brotherhood!
Obama is backing Muslim Brotherhood, yet Hamas is against the U.S.!
Gulf states are pro-U.S. But Turkey is with Gulf states against Assad; yet Turkey is pro-Muslim Brotherhood against General Sisi. And General Sisi is being backed by the Gulf states!
Welcome to the Middle East and have a nice day.
KN Al-Sabah,
London EC4, U.K.
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Friday, August 23, 2013

How's that reset button working out?

By Donald Sensing

Putin Is the Victor in Egypt as Obama Stumbles

In the meantime, Russian President Vladimir Putin has slid into the great-power vacuum to call an extraordinary meeting of the Kremlin and announce that Russia is putting all her military facilities at Egypt’s disposal.  Putin also announced Russia’s willingness to replace America in the joint military exercises the Obama administration cancelled as part of its escalating sanctions against the Egyptian military. Igor Morozov, chairman of the foreign affairs committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, chastised the American administration for not understanding the threat the Muslim Brotherhood was to the entire region. 
The Russians have exploited the amateurish foreign policy of the American administration and shifted the dynamics of power in the Middle East. The Egyptian crisis has created strange bedfellows.  In Egypt, the Russians are now aligned with the Saudis and the United Arab Emirates, who are aligned with Israel. Not that these countries are coordinating directly with each other, but they all share a common goal: preventing the spread of the Brotherhood’s version of militant Islam.
In this case, I hate being right.

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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Egypt aflame

By Donald Sensing

Egypt protests: Horrifying moment Egyptian protestors push an armoured police van 50ft off a Cairo bridge before officers are stoned by mob | Mail Online

An extensive and compelling photo essay of the violence in Egypt.

Comment with dozens of thumbs-up clicks:

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Saturday, August 10, 2013

Why State Dept. won't call Egypt a coup

By Donald Sensing

US law requires that the executive cease military aid to nations in which there has been a coup mounted by the armed forces. This is exactly what happened in Egypt, even if one might breathe a sigh of relief that it did and the Muslim Brotherhood is no longer in charge there.

Nonetheless, the US Dept. of State has refused to say that the coup was a coup. In fact, State actually said that it has determined that it does not need to determine whether there was a coup or not.

Here's why billions of dollars in aid continue to flow to Egypt. That money is spent right here in the USA. Egypt never actually sees a dime of it. The billions buy military hardware from US arms makers.

The hardware is sent to Egypt, so much, in fact, that one defense analyst said that the only way Egypt could possibly need as many US-made tanks as it has is to defend against an alien invasion.

Why U.S. Won't Cut Aid To Egypt - Business Insider

Your tax dollars at work, ladies and gentlemen.

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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Syrian "rebels" behead Catholic priest, post the video

By Donald Sensing

Christian martyrdom is not an ancient phenomenon.

On Sunday, June 23 the Syrian priest Fran├žois Murad was killed in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, in the convent of the Custody of the Holy Land where he had taken refuge. This is confirmed by a statement of the Custos of the Holy Land sent to Fides Agency. The circumstances of the death are not fully understood. According to local sources, the monastery where Fr. Murad was staying was attacked by militants linked to the jihadi group Jabhat al-Nusra.
Father Francois Murad, martyred in Syria.
Photo from Gateway Pundit
This  was a deliberate attack and targeted murder. The jihadists (read: al Qaeda) brutally beheaded Fr. Murad and posted  an explicit video of the killing. More info: Syrian Jihadists behead Catholic priest

This will not deter the Obama administration from pushing ahead to supply military assistance and materiel to the Syrian "resistance," which is completely dominated by al Qaeda. In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry has already pushed for the United States to directly bomb Syrian government targets.

Helping the Syrian rebels would be like helping Frank fight Jesse over who would run the James gang. The murder of this priest is a tiny harbinger of the kind of bloodbath to come if the Assad regime falls.

Monday, March 11, 2013

War like a video game

By Donald Sensing

Here are grabs from video shot by a camera mounted atop the turret of a Syrian army tank in combat against Syrian rebels in Darya, 10 miles south of Damascus.

Not a good day for the tankers.

Note the tank just to the right of the tank gun in the center of the picture. That tank is facing away from the camera. In the video, the turret is slueing to the left, from which this frame.

The turret continued to the left when a rebel anti-tank rocket blows up the tank seen above.

The camera turret slues immediately back to the right where the camera records the burning wreckage.

To the immediate left of the gun is the flaming hull of the tank. To the immediate right is the dead tank's turret, blown clear off the hull and landing a few dozen feet away. This is a typical result of a Russian-made tank being hit by anti-tank rockets or rounds. They are not designed with much survivability built in.

The full video is posted here.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Timeline of Libya statements

By Donald Sensing

On Sept. 27, The Washington Post published a timeline of the Obama administration's statements on the attack in Benghazi that took the lives of four Americans on Sept. 11.

This is the key section for today:

“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts…No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
— President Obama, Rose Garden statement, Sept. 12

(Note: we added this statement to the timeline after Josh Gerstein of Politico asserted that the phrasing “acts of terror” showed Obama acknowledged “terrorism” was behind the attack. From our many years of covering diplomacy we would say there is a world of difference, but readers can draw their own conclusions.)
Since Gerstein's post went online the same day as the WaPo's, presumably the Post "added this statement" shortly after originally going online with the piece. Meaning it wasn't related to last night's assertion.

So, long before the heated debate about the debate, the Post observed that there was a "world of difference" between what Obama said in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12 and what he would have needed to say actually to call the Benghazi attack a terrorist one.

The Post's timeline shows that no administration official called the attack a terrorist one until Sept. 19's testimony of Mathew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, testimony before Congress.

The White house itself did not characterize ther attack as terrorist until Sept. 20, on which date spokesman Jay carney finally admitted, "It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack."

No one in or out of the media, in or out of government, ever thought that Obama's Rose Garden remarks classified the attack as terrorism.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Interview with a Cairo rioter

By Donald Sensing

I must protect my sources and means, but I have this morning conducted an interview with a Cairo resident who took part in the riot against the American embassy in Cairo last week. In fact, he was one of the relative few who actually made it over the wall into the grounds of the embassy.

My interview was with a Cairo man, 28 years old, named Muhammad Achmed Mohammed. He speaks English well but not quickly and sometimes stops and restates his point. In the transcript, I have omitted those kinds of gaps or restarts in order to enhance clarity.

Sense of Events: Hello, Muhammad, thank you for agreeing to speak with me today. I hope my readers and I will understand better what happened last week with the events at the American embassy.

Muhammad: Yes, of course. I am happy to talk with you. We need to understand one another better, I agree with you.

SOE: Well, then let's start there. What would you like Americans to understand most of all?

Muhammad: It is very simple: If you insult Muhammad the prophet, peace be upon him, we will kill you.

SOE: So if I said to you, in person, not on the telephone – and please understand that I am not saying this, I am merely proposing a fictional situation for discussion, nothing more – that Muhammad was a false prophet, what would your reaction be?

Muhammad: I would have to kill you.

SOE: Even though I am not a Muslim?

Muhammad: There is only the consideration that because you are not a Muslim of course you do not believe that Muhammad, peace be upon him, was a prophet. Nonetheless, you would deserve to die unless you immediately repented of you sin and made shahada that,"There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is his prophet." If you did that, of course then we would be brothers and you would live.

SOE: What if someone who has already made shahada said that Muhammad was not a prophet after all?

Muhammad: That is apostasy and he would have to die without hesitation. So you see, Islam is actually more forgiving of nonbelievers than Muslims.

SOE: But my fictional example was purely religious in nature, whether Muhammad was or was not a prophet. What if I said something not really religious, such as – another fictional example to help us understand, please remember – "Muhammad was a murderer and pedophile child rapist?"

Muhammad: It does not matter. You cannot insult the prophet in any way and expect to live.

SOE: So, no claiming that Muhammad snorted cocaine?

Muhammad: Afraid not.

SOE: Kited checks?

Muhammad: No, sorry.

SOE: Voted for Obama?

Muhammad: Still death, except that I would torture you first.

SOE: Let's get back to the embassy matter. What did you do that first night?

Muhammad: As I was leaving my workplace that later afternoon, my friend Achmed Muhammad Achmed called me on my cell phone and told me that we were going to storm the American embassy later that evening. I told him I wanted to take part.

SOE: Did he say why you were storming the embassy?

Muhammad: No, it was not necessary. We had been talking with the Salafis about it for a long time. They said that September 11 would be a good date. That made sense.

SOE: When you said, "we" would be going against the embassy, who do you mean by we?

Muhammad: Achmed Muhammad Achmed and two thousand of our closest friends. There were more than that in the event, but I didn't know all of them. We are aligned with the Salafis but when the riot began, the Brotherhood tried to horn in. That was rude.

SOE: Did you and the other Salafis riot because of the Youtube video?

Muhammad: Huh?

SOE: Did you and the other Salafis riot because of the Youtube video? The one that was said to insult Islam?

Muhammad: Let me see . . . Oh, yes, that was the reason, certainly.

SOE: The White House says that the riots in Cairo and Libya and eighteen or so other Muslim nations are not protests against America or the Obama administration. Your response?

Muhammad: Oh, yes, of course, that is correct. We love America and especially we love President Hussein.

SOE: Obama.

Muhammad: Gesundheit. Is that the right word?

SOE: No, I mean President Obama, not President Hussein.

Muhammad: Who?

SOE: Obama!

Muhammad: What?

SOE: I don't know! ... Okay, reset. You mentioned your workplace and that you love America and its president. What do you do for a living?

Muhammad: I own "Achmed's Flag Emporium," where my brother and my cousin make and sell American flags that are specially designed to burn easily and brightly. Business is excellent!

SOE: But you love America?

Muhammad: Of course! Selling American flags to burn is making me rich!
Update: Jump ahead to 3:07

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Friday, June 29, 2012

Syrian Christians face dim future

By Donald Sensing

I wrote earlier this month that if the so-called freedom fighters attacking Assad's regime gain victory, "expect a bloodbath of non-Sunnis, especially the Alawites and Christians." Now the New York Times understands that, too.

TEL AVIV, ISRAEL — Earlier this month, reports came from the Syrian city of Qusayr of an ominous warning to the town’s Christians: Either join the Sunni-led opposition against Bashar al-Assad or leave. Soon after, thousands of Christians fled the town.

After decades of protection by a secular-leaning dictatorship, the Qusayr ultimatum warned of a dark future for Syria’s Christian community. As the 15-month conflict rages with no end in sight, Syria’s many minorities have come face to face with the emerging threat posed by radical Sunni Islamists. These elements have established themselves as a key factor in Syria’s future, backed by immense political and economic support from the Arab world and indifference from the West.

Throughout the years, Christians, like many other minorities in the region, have lent their support to those regimes that have guaranteed their security and religious freedom. In Iraq, Christians rose to the highest levels of society under Saddam Hussein’s regime, while in Egypt, Coptic Christians were protected from ultraconservative Salafists under Hosni Mubarak. As secular leaders from the secretive Alawite sect, the Assad dynasty largely preserved Christian life, protecting Syria’s minorities from what was perceived as a collective threat from the country’s Sunni majority.

Watching their once-shielding dictators fall like dominos across the region, Christians have suddenly found themselves on the wrong side of history. Faced by a rising tide of radical Sunni Islam, Christians in Iraq and Egypt have fled by the thousands. In Syria, concern over Christian repression has fallen on deaf ears, drowned out by popular support for the country’s opposition in the face of the Assad regime’s brutal crackdown.

This March, months before the Qusayr ultimatum, Islamist militants from the opposition’s Faruq Brigade had gone door to door in Hamidiya and Bustan al-Diwan neighborhoods of Homs, expelling local Christians. Following the raids, some 90 percent of Christians reportedly fled the city for government-controlled areas, neighboring countries or a stretch of land near the Lebanese border called the Valley of Christians (Wadi al-Nasarah). Of the more than 80,000 Christians who lived in Homs prior to the uprising, approximately 400 remain today.

The cleansing of Homs’ Christian neighborhoods occurred as the Syrian military bombarded the Sunni opposition stronghold of Baba Amr, naturally focusing the international media on stories of children maimed by Assad’s artillery shells and sniper bullets. At the United Nations, Assad’s opponents could not afford to highlight Christian persecution in Homs, as they risked catering to a Russian-led campaign to preserve the dictator’s rule by de-legitimizing the Syrian rebels for their atrocities.

As rebel forces continue to chip away at Assad’s control over the country, Syria’s Christians continue to be expelled or held at the mercy of an increasingly extremist Sunni opposition.

For the newest generation of Sunni jihadists, Syria has become the latest front in the struggle to wrest control of the region from rival religious sects and foreign occupation. Many of these fighters hail from the vast reaches of North Africa and the Gulf, arriving in Syria with weapons, funds and a radical ideology.

Inside Syria, the reluctance of the international community to thwart Assad’s onslaught has left the Sunni population with feelings of isolation and abandonment, driving large swathes of youth into the arms of radical clerics. This uncompromising ideology leaves little place in Syria’s future for the country’s many minorities — including Christians.

Saving Syria’s Christian community is coherent with Western strategic interests. If the experiences of Iraq and Egypt are any indication, religious intolerance breeds insecurity and volatility. The Syrian case is no different. Assad’s opponents on both sides of the Atlantic must prevent radical Islamists from embedding themselves in the Syrian opposition and should adopt a firm stance against their patrons in the Gulf.

As Kamal Jumblatt, the former leader of Lebanon’s Druze minority, once said, “In the Middle East there is space for all men, just not their ambitions.” Jumblatt himself was eventually assassinated at the hands of Hafez al-Assad, but his words ring true to this day.

The ousting of the Assad regime has become a global moral obligation, but so has the duty to ensure that Syria’s future holds a place for all minorities.
Consider that last sentence. Because absolutely no nation is both willing and able to accomplish the entire sentence, the whole sentence is made false. There is no moral obligation to oust Assad's regime only to see it replaced by another, Sunni-Islamist regime that will likely be even more ruthless and bloody.

I say again: Stay out of Syria!

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Obama to Assad: Do what I say or I will taunt you again!

By Donald Sensing

Obama Hits Syria With Brutal Blast of Adverbs - Obama supporter Jeffrey Goldberg doesn't think too much of Obama's war of words against Syrian dictator Bashir Assad:

When the uprising began last year, the Obama administration clearly hoped that softer language would persuade Assad to cease murdering Syrians. It relied on traditional formulations of diplomatic distaste, calling on Syria to “exercise restraint” and “respect the rights of its citizens.”

When it became clear that mild criticism wouldn’t stay Assad’s hand, the administration began carpet-bombing Damascus with powerful sentences and, at times, whole paragraphs.

In April 2011, shortly after Syrian security forces killed more than 80 unarmed demonstrators, President Barack Obama said, “This outrageous use of violence to quell protests must come to an end now.” He accused the Syrian government of using “brutal” tactics against civilians.

Somehow, such combative words still didn’t persuade Assad to change course. Soon, the president’s press secretary, Jay Carney, was forced to remind Assad, and the world, of the president’s rhetorical militancy. 
“I’m sure you did see the president’s very strong statement of Friday where he condemned in the strongest possible terms the use of force by the Syrian government against demonstrators, referred to an outrageous use of violence to quell protests,” Carney said. He also mentioned that the White House didn’t merely “oppose” the Syrian government’s treatment of its citizens, but “strongly” opposed it.
How to visualize the administration's policy? Something like this:

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Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Gee, ya think?

By Donald Sensing


Dismissed Syrian general found dead under suspicious circumstances

General Ali Habib was Syria's defense minister - until yesterday. Assad fired him for opposing the increasing brutality of the regime's crackdowns against demonstrators.

Habib was found this morning dead from gunshot wounds from "an automatic weapon."

Nothing to see here, move along.

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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

An Anti-Israel President -

By Donald Sensing

Stephens: An Anti-Israel President -

The WSJ's Bret Stephens points out that President Obama's plan for Israel and the Palestinians pretty much ensures another war if it is carried out even approximately.

Obama's insistence that the "pre-1967 borders" must be the starting point for boundary agreements between Israel and the presumptively-coming Palestinian state is simple verbal legedermain. In fact, he so misrepresents the facts that he must purposely be doing so. Not even this president can unintentionally make such a fundamental error.

And that error is: there is not, and never has been, any such thing as "pre-1967 borders." There are no borders between Israel and any of the neighboring countries or territories. (There are independent agreements between Israel and Egypt and Jordan on the territorial demarcation line between them, but as I understand, these lines do not constitute "borders" as the term is used in international law, and do not correspond to the pre-1967 lines anyway.)

What the president referred to as "pre-1967 borders" actually date to 1949 and the end of Israel's war for independence (well, existence). And those lines were, and remain, nothing but the cease-fire line agreed to by Israel and the Arab countries attempting to destroy it aborning. Some of you may remember when the eastern line was called the Green Line - so named because it was drawn on the map with a green pencil.

But cease-fire lines were all the lines were. To call them borders is simply ludicrous. As Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointedly told President Obama, those lines are "indefensible." They would leave Israel less than 10 miles wide at one point and would return the Golan Heights in the northeast back to Syria. However, the Heights are the key militarily significant terrain for all of Israel - and for Syria if it wants to attack Israel again. That's why Israel made sure it captured them in 1967 and why Israel will never return them to Syria.

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It bears repeating that the United Nations resolution establishing Israel in 1948 also established a nation for Arabs in Israel who did not want to live in the Jewish state, although none would be required to displace. (It also bears repeating that Jews were already living in the land. In fact, Jews have lived there continuously since about 1200 bce.) The Arab states completely rejected all of the UN's plan and promptly attacked the Jewish rump state. Unable to prevail, they agreed in 1949 to cease military operations across the cease-fire lines that Obama dishonestly calls "borders."

What happened in June 1967 was that Syria, Jordan and Egypt, in coordination, planned and massed to attack Israel. Israel was too weak to defend - Egypt alone had more than twice as many jet planes as Israel - so it had only one choice, preemptively attack them first. This it did, beating being attacked by probably mere hours.

Fighting against Egypt, Syria and Jordan, the latter's forces augmented by an Iraqi division and warplanes, Israel destroyed their air forces on the first day. Land campaigns against the Arab forces followed. At the end of six days, Israel had crushed the Egyptian army, seized Gaza and the Sinai peninsula, thrown Syria out of the Golan Heights and had captured the West Bank, including Jerusalem.

Under terms worked out with Egypt at Camp David, sponsored by the Carter administration, Israel returned all of Sinai to Egypt while retaining administrative control of Gaza. Gaza was vacated by Israel lock, stock and barrel under the government of PM Ari Sharon in 2005. Israel presently retains possession of the Golan Heights and much of the West Bank.

I Strongly recommend Ruth Lautt's excellent and relevant essay, "The Church’s Witness on Issues in the Arab/Israeli Conflict."

Highlights of PM Netanyahu's address to the Congress today:

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Steamrolling the "Arab Spring"

By Donald Sensing

An Ill Season - Andrew C. McCarthy - National Review Online

Screaming “With our blood and soul, we will defend you, Islam,” jihadists stormed the Virgin Mary Church in northwest Cairo last weekend. They torched the Coptic Christian house of worship, burned the nearby homes of two Copt families to the ground, attacked a residential complex, killed a dozen people, and wounded more than 200: just another day in this spontaneous democratic uprising by Muslim hearts yearning for freedom.

In the delusional vocabulary of the “Arab Spring,” this particular episode is known as a sectarian “clash.” That was the Washington Post’s take. Its headline reads “12 dead in Egypt as Christians and Muslims clash” — in the same way, one supposes, that a mugger’s fist can be said to “clash” with his victim’s face.

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Al Qaeda, Islamism and the months to come

By Donald Sensing

As coincidental companion pieces to my "Perspective" column in Sunday's Knoxville News-Sentinel, here are some read-worthy essays. (Don't you love it when a plan comes together? My deadline to Knoxville was Tuesday even and these articles all cam out before the end of the week.)

1. "Ayaan Hirsi Ali: Will Muslim Brotherhood succeed where Osama bin Laden failed? Osama bin Laden is dead. Al Qaeda may soon follow him to the grave. But the doctrine of jihad – exemplified by the Muslim Brotherhood – lives on."

Unlike Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood has evolved and learned the hard way that the use of violence will be met with superior violence by state actors. The clever thing to do, it now turns out, was to be patient and invest in a bottom-up movement rather than a commando structure that risked being wiped out by stronger forces. Besides, the gradualist approach is far more likely to win the prize of state power. All that Khomeini did before he came to power in Iran was to preach the merits of a society based on Islamic law. He did not engage in terrorism. Yet he and his followers took over Iran – a feat far greater than bin Laden ever achieved. In Iran the violence came later.
2. Reuel Marc Gerecht: "Whither Jihad? Islamic militancy preceded Osama bin Laden. Unfortunately, it will probably outlast him, too."
The excesses of al Qaeda and allied Islamic groups in spilling blood in Muslim lands since 9/11—especially in Iraq—have created considerable unease and sometimes even fire-and-brimstone disgust among Muslims. The Great Arab Revolt is altering how Arabs see themselves. It’s still much too early to know where this awakening is going—whether it will lead to democracy or back to dictatorship—but it’s not too early to see how the turbulence that started in Tunisia has discombobulated the holy-warrior set. Bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri fell silent when these popular pro-democracy eruptions started. Both Iran’s ruling elite and al Qaeda finally described the Arab Revolt, surreally, as an Islamic movement that mirrored their most cherished principles.
3. "Egypt’s Other Extremists - While the Muslim Brotherhood gets all the ink, the Salafists go on a rampage." Salafism is Islamism of Saudi Arabian ancestry, while the Muslim Brotherhood is an Egyptian product. A joke in the Middle East is that a Muslim Brother is a Salafist who has learned how to read and write. In Egypt recently,
Some Salafists joined the demonstrations in Tahrir Square, and others have said they will enter politics—in many cases by supporting the Brotherhood. Often the two groups have been opposed to one another, with the Salafists accusing the Brotherhood of compromise, but in the March 19 constitutional referendum, Salafi clerics urged their followers to support the Brotherhood in campaigning for a “yes” vote.

Perhaps thinking that these more extreme Islamist currents make it appear relatively moderate, the Brother-hood condemned the killing of Osama bin Laden. Already before that, it had become more outspoken about its own desire for an Islamic state.

On April 14, at a forum in Cairo, the Brotherhood’s deputy supreme guide, Mahmoud Ezzat, said his group wanted to establish an Islamic state when they achieved sufficient support through their Freedom and Justice party. At the same forum, another Brotherhood leader, Saad al-Husseiny, stated that they aimed to apply Islamic law and establish Islamic rule. On April 22, a senior spokesman, Sobhi Saleh, said the Brotherhood wished to apply “Islamic legislation.”
4. Muslim author Irshad Manji: "Islam Needs Reformists, Not 'Moderates' - Bin Laden's followers represent a real interpretation of Islam. Why don't more Muslims challenge it?" Manji's point is the "moderate" Muslims are the problem, not the solution.
in announcing bin Laden's demise, the president fudged a vital fact. Echoing George W. Bush, he insisted that al Qaeda's icon "was not a Muslim leader."

But this is untrue. Bin Laden and his followers represent a real interpretation of Islam that begs to be challenged relentlessly and visibly. Why does this happen so rarely?

"Moderate" Muslims are part of the problem. As Martin Luther King Jr. taught many white Americans, in times of moral crisis, moderation cements the status quo. Today, what Islam needs is not more "moderates" but more self-conscious "reformists." It is reformists who will bring to my faith the debate, dissent and reinterpretation that have carried Judaism and Christianity into the modern world. ...

It is time for those who love liberal democracy to join hands with Islam's reformists. Here is a clue to who's who: Moderate Muslims denounce violence committed in the name of Islam but insist that religion has nothing to do with it; reformist Muslims, by contrast, not only deplore Islamist violence but admit that our religion is used to incite it.

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Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood Mobilizes

By Donald Sensing

Pajamas Media » The Muslim Brotherhood Mobilizes

With 75 percent of Egyptian telling Pew polling that they support the goals of the Muslim Brotherhood, the Brothers are making maximum push to capture a majority of seats in parliament. If they gain only one-third they will have enough to block any legislation unaligned with their agenda.

As I will point out in the Knoxville News-Sentinel's "Perspective" section tomorrow, bin Laden's death bodes only the continuing decline of sympathy for al Qaeda and terroristic Islamists. But the Brotherhood brand has been waxing even as bin Ladenism has been waning.

Fighting the Brotherhoods of Islam will be much more difficult than fighting al Qaeda.

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