Archive for the ‘Arabs’ category

Updated: Mordechai Kedar destroys Muslim claims to Jerusalem on Al-Jazeera TV – full video with English subtitles

December 27, 2017

When posted the video of Mordechai Kedar speaking on Al-Jazeera TV, I only had a subtitled version of a 2 minute segment. I noted that I didn’t have the full video with English subtitles and that I would update if I found it.

Reader Gideon Kantorovich very kindly sent me the video of the full interview (10 minutes) complete with English subtitles, which I hereby post below.

Enjoy Mordechai Kedar’s wit and his deep knowledge of Islam and Arab culture:

 

Kaf Tet beNovember: 70 years since UN Resolution 181

November 29, 2017

Kaf Tet beNovember: 70 years since UN Resolution 181 | Anne’s Opinions, 29th November 2017

Today 29th November, or as it is quirkily called in Hebrew “kaf tet beNovember”, is the 70th anniversary of the fateful UN Resolution 181 which aimed to partition Palestine and created a Jewish area and an Arab area. As we all know, the resolution was rejected by the Arabs who never fulfilled any of its provisions or conditions, while it was accepted in full by the Jews. No sooner had the vote passed in the UN than 5 Arab armies invaded the newborn Jewish state with the overt intent of destroying it before it was born. They lost the war and the rest is history.

It would serve us well to recall the events of that historic day. The Israel-advocacy organization Legal Grounds, which promotes Israel’s legal rights to all the Land of Israel, sent out this important backgrounder with vital facts that are either unknown, misunderstood or ignored:

INFORMATION ALERT: 70 YEARS SINCE RESOLUTION 181

In June, Attorney Karen Stahl-Don made a presentation in The Hague, on behalf of the Legal Grounds Campaign, on the subject of UNGA Resolution 181 of 1947:

The Resolution, which is often misunderstood, was merely a recommendation and carried no weight in international law.

Palestinian Arabs refer to it as “The Partition Plan,” claiming, after all this time, that it gives them rights to a state. This is blatantly false, as they rejected this plan 70 years ago. According to international law, a party that rejects an agreement does not retain any rights based on that agreement.

What is more, the recommendation was not simply that two states, one Jewish and one Arab, be established. It proposed that two states be joined by an economic union, with a myriad of requirements. The states were to share currency, transportation, postal systems, and a great deal more; both were to be democratic, provide civil rights and prohibit discrimination.

Israel accepted this partition. However, acceptance was premised on what was described in the Resolution: economic cooperation and peaceful coexistence. Israel never agreed to disregard the nature of the Arab state recommended for creation at its border.

In the end, Resolution 181 was abandoned and never came to fruition. The UN Palestine Commission charged with facilitating the Resolution never even met, and the Security Council would not lend support. The Commission was officially relieved of its duties.

Israel, the sole party to accept Resolution 181, is not responsible for its failure, and is certainly not in violation of international law by not complying with it now.

Keep this last paragraph in mind as we now read of the UN’s efforts to delegitimize Israel on a daily basis.

In order to “celebrate” this auspicious day, the UN – as it has done every year for 70 years – makes it its business hold an International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Not the International Day of Solidarity with Israelis and Palestinians mind you. Just those most pampered self-made “refugees” in the world, the Palestinians, who only arrived at this glorified status because of their constant rejection of any Jewish State, of any size, anywhere in the Middle East at all.

Isn’t it pathetic that the UN (Useless Nations) cannot find it within themselves to celebrate a National Day for the Inalienable Rights of the Jewish People to their own Homeland in the State of Israel.

Surely after 70 years it is about time that the UN gave up this charade? Gerald Steinberg of NGO Monitor demanded of the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the UN repudiate its ingrained anti-Israel hatred:

The seventieth anniversary of the passage of UN Resolution 181 partitioning Palestine into Jewish and Arab states on November 29 will be marked by UN offices around the world as the “International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People.” The global organization first designated the date as a day of Palestinian solidarity in 1977, with a General Assembly resolution authorizing the practice as an “annual observance.”

In a letter to Guterres, Prof. Gerald Steinberg – president of the Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor – argued that the Day of Solidarity, along with the numerous UN bodies that promote an anti-Israel agenda through various pro-Palestinian committees and agencies, undermine the UN’s stated desire for peace based on a “two-state” solution.

“Too often, UN officials are willing and active players in this dynamic, applying double standards and singling out Israel for attack,” Steinberg wrote. “Next week, as occurs every year, the UN will hold a special meeting in Geneva on the occasion of ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’ featuring anti-Israel demagogues and highlighting agendas that undermine the spirit of UNGA 181.” Among the events planned is a photographic exhibition at UN Headquarters in New York entitled “The Palestinian People: Everlasting Roots, Infinite Horizons.” The exhibition, according to the UN’s web page devoted to the “Question of Palestine,” “…celebrates the lives and careers of Palestinians who have contributed to humanity in different walks of life, in the face of extraordinary challenges. The UN General Assembly will also hold its annual debate on the question of Palestine on this day.”

Steinberg highlighted a number of UN bodies – such as its dedicated Division for Palestinian Rights and its annual condemnation of Israel through the UN Human Rights Council’s Agenda Item 7 – as contributing decisively to the anti-Israel environment at the UN. The Division for Palestinian Rights in turn services the “Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People” (CEIRPP), created on November 10, 1975 – in the same session of the General Assembly that passed the infamous Resolution 3379 denouncing Zionism as a “form of racism.”

In his letter to Guterres, Steinberg pointed out that the UN spends millions of dollars on pro-Palestinian activities every year. “In October 2017, 24 separate UN agencies contracted with the Palestinian Authority to spend more than $18 million on campaigns aimed at isolating Israel through coordinated political, economic, and legal attacks,” he noted, emphasizing the need for the UN as a whole to “accept the obligation to end the rampant and systematic discrimination against Israel that currently plagues the UN.

“A good place to start will be in your remarks to be read on November 29 in Geneva at the forthcoming ‘Special Meeting on the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People,’” Steinberg told Guterres. “Your repudiation of anti-Israel hate and rejectionism on this occasion would send a strong message that the vision and principles expressed in the 1947 Partition Plan remain guiding principles in the UN.”

The amount of money spent pampering the Palestinians is mind-boggling. Imagine how many genuine refugees and other minorities could be assisted with this money.

Gutteres is actually relatively sympathetic to Israel, but whether he will have the intestinal fortitude to stand up and condemn his own institution’s racism is another matter. And if he does, will his words be heeded? I doubt it somehow.

Meanwhile, over in Geneva at the UN Human Rights Wrongs Council, the 29th November – in fact any day at all – is a day to be marked by condemning Israel for .. well…. anything it can think of. The most popular crime du jour is the settlements of course, and the HRC last year put together a list of companies “profiting” from the settlements – and that includes neighbourhoods of Jerusalem and other major cities – so that their products should be boycotted. Doesn’t this have echoes of a much darker time in our history? 1933 anyone? And then in September the UN began sending out warning letters to these companies that they will be added to this blacklist:

The UN’s Human Rights Commissioner began sending letters two weeks ago to 150 companies in Israel and around the world, warning them that they are about to be added to a database of companies doing business in Israeli settlements in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem, senior Israeli officials and Western diplomats involved in the matter told Haaretz.

The Israeli official, who requested to stay anonymous due to the sensitivity of the issue, noted that the letters, sent by Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said these firms were doing business in the “occupied Palestinian territories” and could thus find themselves on the UN blacklist for companies acting in violation of “internal law and UN decisions.” The letters, copies of which also reached the Israeli government, request that these firms send the commission clarifications about their business activities in settlements.

The Washington Post reported in August that among the American companies that received letters were Caterpillar, Priceline.com, TripAdvisor and Airbnb. According to the same report, the Trump administration is trying to work with the UN Commission on Human Rights to prevent the list’s publication. Israel’s Channel 2 reported two weeks ago that the list includes some of the biggest companies in Israel, such as Teva, Bank Hapoalim, Bank Leumi, Bezeq, Elbit, Coca-Cola Israel, Africa-Israel, IDB, Egged, Mekorot and Netafim.

Senior Israeli officials said the Israeli fear of divestment or scaled-down business due to the blacklist is already becoming a reality. They said that the Economy Ministry’s Office of Strategic Affairs has already received information that a number of companies who received the letters have responded to the human rights commissioner by saying they do not intend to renew contracts or sign new ones in Israel.

“These companies just can’t make the distinction between Israel and the settlements and are ending their operations all together,” the senior Israeli official said. “Foreign companies will not invest in something that reeks of political problems – this could snowball.”

Countering this vicious boycott attempt, fighting fire with fire, a pro-Israel law group, The Lawfare Project, has announced that companies targeted by the UN HRC for working in the settlements will have legal recourse:

International firms targeted by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) for doing business with Israeli settlements will have legal recourse, a US-based pro-Israel nonprofit law group noted this week.

It is expected that a “blacklist” of such companies will be published by the UNHRC by the end of this year — a move which both the US and Israel oppose and are lobbying against.

According to the Washington Post, the list could include Caterpillar, TripAdvisor, Priceline.com and Airbnb.

On Monday, the Lawfare Project issued a statement saying the purpose of the UNHRC’s potential action was “clear” — “to coerce the blacklisted companies into reducing or ceasing their Israeli operations, and/or to prompt other business entities (and consumers) to boycott or refuse to deal with the named companies.”

However, the Lawfare Project continued, “what the UNHRC seems to ignore, perhaps purposefully, is that compliance by business enterprises with the boycott of Israel can violate a slew of US federal and state laws.”

“It comes as no surprise that the proponents of the Israeli boycott — the Human Rights Council, NGOs, Arab League member states, and others — do not acknowledge the serious legal implications of actually carrying out the discriminatory conduct for which they advocate,” Benjamin Ryberg — the Lawfare Project’s chief operating officer and director of research — said.

… “When corporations are faced with such proposals or consider implementing boycotts based on the HRC’s database, it is imperative that they are well-versed in the relevant laws so that they can act in their own self-interest, which is to firmly reject the boycott,” he went on to say. “To this end, the Lawfare Project drafted a comprehensive analysis of US and foreign law relating to the boycott of Israel, which we have disseminated to a number of Fortune 500 companies that have been or may be targeted. Our aim is not to threaten legal action, but to prepare these entities to protect themselves from liability that could ensue should they succumb to pressure from the boycott campaign.”

Good for them! Kol hakavod to the activists in the Lawfare Project for throwing the boycott back in the UN’s face, and equally as important, for involving Congress in this anti-boycott legislation:

Lawfare Project Director Brooke Goldstein stated, “For years, the Human Rights Council has focused obsessively and disproportionately on Israel, while turning a blind eye to the most egregious and rampant human rights violators in the Middle East and around the world. With this blacklist, the HRC continues to unabashedly devote disproportionate resources to foment discrimination based on national origin. It continues to make a mockery of its mission to the detriment of human rights worldwide.”

Lawrence Hill — the chairman of the Lawfare Project’s board — said the UNHRC’s “farcical conduct” demonstrated the necessity of the Israel Anti-Boycott Act — which is currently making its way through Congress.

The six Nos of the Arabs besides the 3 Nos of Khartoum

As a reminder of the complete irrelevance of the settlements to the Palestinian’s self-made predicament, it is worthwhile looking back at the article written by John B McCormick, (chairman of Hawke’s Bay Friends of Israel Association and a member of Hawke’s Bay Branch of NZ Institute of International Affairs) which was published in Hawke’s Bay Today newspaper back in January 2017, which I quoted from in this blog at the time. Here is a relevant excerpt:

The focal point for peace efforts was (and many say should still be) UNSC Resolution 242 of November 1967 – the way the UN dealt with the outcome of the 1967 Six Day War. This requires an understanding of its wording. It calls for:
Clause 1 (I) Withdrawal of Israel armed forces from territories occupied in the recent conflict;

It is very precise wording. The words “all” or “all the” are not used. The UK’s UN Ambassador Lord Caradon who helped write 242 said in 1978: “We didn’t say there should be a withdrawal to the 67 line, we did not put the ‘THE’ in, we did not say ‘all the’ territories deliberately… we all knew – that the boundaries of 67 were not drawn as permanent frontiers, they were a ceasefire line of a couple of decades earlier…. We did not say that the 67 boundaries must be forever.”

President Johnson said in 1968 relating to UNSC242 that “We are not the ones to say where other nations should draw lines between them that will assure each the greatest security. It is clear however that a return to the situation of June 4 1967 will not bring peace.”

In 2005 Israel withdrew completely from the Gaza Strip without any kind of peace agreement. At the same time they also withdrew from the West bank city of Jenin and four nearby settlements, again without any agreement. The Palestinian response was indiscriminate firing of rockets from Gaza into Israel.

The British were granted the mandate for Palestine at the San Remo Conference in 1920.
In 1921 Britain separated what we now know as Jordan from the rest of the mandate, making Transjordan the Arab Palestinian State on 78 per cent of the mandate area, and banned Jewish settlement east of the River Jordan. In 1923 Britain ceded the Golan Heights to the French mandate of Syria. The remaining mandate area, 22 per cent of the original total, was to be the Jewish homeland. Read it for yourself! Do the UN and the Arabs want to go there?

So where to now? On January 3 on Palestinian TV Palestine Liberation Organisation executive committee member Hanan Ashrawi, said: “We have refused and still refuse to say that Israel is a Jewish state.” The PLO was formed in 1964 when there was no Israeli occupied territory.

So until there is a Palestinian leadership that accepts Israel as the Jewish State nothing much will happen.

And I will leave it to the redoubtable Melanie Phillips who succinctly sums up the entire argument about the irrelevance of settlements to the Arab-Israeli conflict in her article: The signature cause of Western progressives is purging every Jew from Israel:

MEMRI has translated a report in the the Urdu daily Roznama Urdu Times in wihich al Habbash said: “Every Palestinian will continue the struggle till the complete freedom of Palestine. Those who started the movement for the freedom of Palestine took a pledge, while leaving this world, from the next generation that it will continue this struggle until the land of the first qibla [direction of prayer, i.e. Palestine] is purified of the impious existence of Jews.”

As is clear from the rest of his remarks, he was not talking merely about the “West Bank” and Gaza. He meant the whole of Israel would be “purified” of Jews. This man does not speak for Hamas. He is part of the Palestinian Authority, regarded by the west as “moderate”, and religious adviser to Abbas, regarded by the west as a statesman-in-waiting.

Western “progressives” support the Palestinian Authority and support the Palestinan cause. What do they imagine Mahmoud al Habbash means by the world “purified”? How do they think he intends to put that word into practice in Israel? I’ll give them a clue. It will involve, at the very least, a war of annihilation, racist ethnic cleansing and mass murder.

Only when the West finally admit to themselves that what they are working for is ethnic cleansing of the worst sort against the Jews, and when they apply the force of law and morals to the Palestinians, to all the Arab states and their international supporters, only then will we have a chance for peace.

The Arabs’ Real Grievance against the Jews

May 7, 2016

The Arabs’ Real Grievance against the Jews, Gatestone InstituteFred Maroun, May 7, 2016

♦ The Arab world still does not today accept the concept of a Jewish state of any size or any shape. Even Egypt and Jordan, who signed peace agreements with Israel, do not accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and they continue to promote anti-Semitic hatred against Israel.

♦ During Israel’s War of Independence, Jews e cleansed from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and in the years that followed, they were ethnically cleansed from the rest of the Arab world.

♦ Jews demand the right to exist, and to exist as equals, on the land where they have existed and belonged continuously for more than three thousand years.

♦ We would rather claim that the conflict is about “occupation” and “settlements.” The Jews see what radical Islamists are now doing to Christians and other minorities, who were also in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Muslim Prophet Mohammed was even born.

♦ The real Arab grievance against the Jews is that they exist.

As Arabs, we are very adept at demanding that our human rights be respected, at least when we live in liberal democracies such as in North America, Europe, and Israel. But what about when it comes to our respecting the human rights of others, particularly Jews?

When we examine our attitude towards Jews, both historically and at present, we realize that it is centered on denying Jews the most fundamental human right, the right without which no other human right is relevant: the right to exist.

The right to exist in the Middle East before 1948

Anti-Zionists often repeat the claim that before modern Israel, Jews were able to live in peace in the Middle East, and that it is the establishment of the State of Israel that created Arab hostility towards Jews. That is a lie.

Before modern Israel, as the historian Martin Gilbert wrote, “Jews held the inferior status of dhimmi, which, despite giving them protection to worship according to their own faith, subjected them to many vexatious and humiliating restrictions in their daily lives.” As another historian, G.E. von Grunebaum, wrote, Jews in the Middle East faced “a lengthy list of persecutions, arbitrary confiscations, attempted forced conversions, or pogroms.”

The right to exist as an independent state

Zionism stemmed from the need for Jews to be masters of their own fate; no longer to be the victims of discrimination or massacres simply for being Jews. This project was accepted and formally recognized by the British, who had been granted a mandate over Palestine by the League of Nations. The Arab world, however, never accepted the recognition formulated by Britain in the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and it never accepted the partition plan approved by the United Nations in 1947, which recognized the right of the Jews to their own state.

The Arab refusal to accept the Jewish state’s right to exist, a right that carries more international legal weight than almost any other country’s right to exist, resulted in several wars, starting with the war of independence in 1948-1949. The Arab world still does not today accept the concept of a Jewish state of any size or any shape. Even Egypt and Jordan, which signed peace agreements with Israel, do not accept that Israel is a Jewish state, and they continue to promote anti-Semitic hatred against Israel.

The right to exist in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem

In 2005, Israel evacuated all its troops and all Jewish inhabitants from Gaza, in the hope that this would bring peace at least on that front, and to allow the Gaza Strip, vacated by Jews, to be a flourishing Arab Riviera, or a second Singapore, and perhaps to serve as a model for the West Bank. The experiment failed miserably. This is a case where Jews willingly gave up their right to exist on a piece of land, but sadly the Palestinians of Gaza took it not as opportunity for peace, but as a sign that if you keep on shooting at Jews, they leave — so let’s keep on shooting.

There are many opinions among Zionists as to what to do about the West Bank. These opinions range from a total unilateral withdrawal as in Gaza, to a full annexation, with many options in between. At the moment, the status quo prevails, with no specific plans for the future.

Everyone, however, despite the treacherous UNESCO’s rewriting of history, knows that before that piece of land was called the West Bank, it was called Judea and Samaria for more than two thousand years.

Everyone knows that Hebron contains the traditional burial site of the biblical Patriarchs and Matriarchs, within the Cave of the Patriarchs, and it is considered the second-holiest site in Judaism. Every reasonable person knows that Jews should unquestionably have the right to exist on that land, even if it is under Arab or Muslim jurisdiction. Yet everyone also knows that no Arab regime is capable or even willing to protect the safety of Jews living under its jurisdiction from the anti-Semitic hatred that emanates from the Arab world.

East Jerusalem, which was carved away by the Kingdom of Jordan from the rest of Jerusalem during the war of independence, is part of Jerusalem, and contains the Temple Mount, the Jews’ holiest site. The Old City in East Jerusalem was inhabited by Jews up until they were ethnically cleansed by Jordan in the war of 1948-1949.

1588In May 1948, the Jordanian Arab Legion expelled all of the approximately 2000 Jews who lived in the Old City of Jerusalem, and then turned the Jewish Quarter into rubble.

Although Israel has twice in the past, first under Prime Minister Ehud Barak then under Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, offered East Jerusalem as part of a Palestinian state, that offer is not likely to be made again. Jews know that it would mean a new wave of ethnic cleansing, which would deny the Jewish right to exist on the piece of land where that right is more important than anywhere else.

The right to exist in the Middle East now

During Israel’s War of Independence, Jews were ethnically cleansed from Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem, and in the years that followed, they were ethnically cleansed from the rest of the Arab world.

Today, Israel’s enemies, many of them Arab, are challenging its right to exist, and therefore the right of Jews to exist, on two fronts: threats of nuclear annihilation and annihilation through demographic suffocation.

Iran’s Islamist regime has repeated several times its intention to destroy Israel using nuclear weapons. Just in case Iran is not “successful,” the so-called “pro-Palestinian” movement, including the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, has a different plan to destroy the Jewish state: a single state with the “return” of all the descendants of Palestinian refugees. The refusal of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and his predecessor Yasser Arafat to accept any two-state solution presented to them is part of that plan.

The right to exist elsewhere

Anti-Zionists claim that Jews are imperialists in the Middle East, as were the British and the French, and like them, they should leave and go back to where they belong. This analogy is of course not true: Jews have an even longer history in the Middle East than do Muslims or Arabs.

Do Jews belong in Europe, which tried only a few decades ago to kill every Jew, man, woman, or child? Do Jews belong in North America where until a few hundred years ago, there were no Europeans, only Indians?

Saying that Jews “belong” in such places is not reality; it is just a convenient claim for anti-Zionists to make.

The Jews will not give up

As Arabs, we complain because Palestinians feel humiliated going through Israeli checkpoints. We complain because Israel is building in the West Bank without Palestinian permission, and we complain because Israel dares to defend itself against Palestinian terrorists. But how many of us have stopped to consider how this situation came to be? How many of us have the courage to admit that waging war after war against the Jews in order to deny them the right to exist, and refusing every reasonable solution to the conflict, has led to the current situation?

Our message to Jews, throughout history and particularly when they had the temerity to want to govern themselves, has been clear: we cannot tolerate your very existence.

Yet the Jews demand the right to exist and to exist as equals on the land where they have existed and belonged continuously for more than three thousand years.

In addition, denying a people the right to exist is a crime of unimaginable proportions. We Arabs pretend that our lack of respect for the right of Jews to exist is not the cause of the conflict between the Jews and us. We would rather claim that the conflict is about “occupation” and “settlements”. They see what radical Islamists are now doing to Christians and other minorities, who were also in the Middle East for thousands of years before the Muslim Prophet Mohammed was even born: Yazidis, Kurds, Christians, Copts, Assyrians, Arameans, and many others. Where are these indigenous people of Iraq, Syria and Egypt now? Are they living freely or are they being persecuted, run out of their own historical land, slaughtered by Islamists? Jews know that this is what would have happened to them if they did not have their own state.

The real Arab grievance against the Jews is that they exist. We want the Jews either to disappear or be subservient to our whims, but the Jews refuse to bend to our bigotry, and they refuse to be swayed by our threats and our slander.

Who in his right mind can blame them?

‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’ Columnist: The Arab Spring Exposed The Failure Of All Shades Of Arab Opposition

March 25, 2016

‘Al-Sharq Al-Awsat’ Columnist: The Arab Spring Exposed The Failure Of All Shades Of Arab Opposition, MEMRI, March 24, 2016

“In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood showed an additional model, according to which the Islamic Arab parties, or most of them, tend to impose a dictatorship because they do not believe in democracy. They adopt it as a tactic only in order to attain their objectives, and when they take power, their true face is revealed, and they turn to tyranny and absolute rule.”

**********************

In his column in the London-based Saudi daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat, ‘Uthman Al-Mirghani argued that the Arab Spring had exposed not only the failure of the Arab regimes, but also the various Arab oppositions’ failure to constitute an alternative to the tyrannical regimes that had been brought down. He stated that these oppositions, of all political shades – liberal, leftist, rightist, and Islamic – were just as opportunistic, egocentric, and dictatorial as the regimes they had deposed. Furthermore, he wrote, they had distanced themselves from the Arab peoples so much that the peoples now yearned for the previous regimes. In light of the powerlessness and failure of all the oppositions in the Arab world, he added, it is no wonder that the young people have abandoned them and turned to the ‘online party’ as an arena for opposition and for voicing their distress.”

Below are translated excerpts from the column:[1]

27372‘Uthman Al-Mirghani (Image: Alarabiya.net)

“Many maintain that the ‘Arab Spring’ failed to actualize even one of the hopes and dreams pinned on it in its initial days and months – and that, on the contrary, it even led the region to a series of disasters and crises. Undoubtedly, there are many factors in how the fleeting ‘[Arab] Spring ended as it did, in chaos, crises and wars…

“[However,] what is most important of all is that the Arab Spring exposed not only our crisis and the crisis of the regimes against which the peoples rose up, but also the failure of the [various] Arab oppositions to present themselves as a convincing, credible alternative [to these regimes] that could actualize the peoples’ hopes and aspirations. The crisis of the Arab oppositions definitely preceded the Arab Spring, but is etched more deeply in the people’s minds [since the Arab Spring] because of these oppositions’ frustrating performance, the disappointing outcomes[of their actions], and the current regression, wars, and chaos.

“The widespread impression today is that the weakness of the opposition parties and groups, and likewise their internal division and their intense preoccupation with their own interests and dreams of power, have distanced them from the people, and they have become detached from the issues that preoccupy the people. For this reason, [these opposition elements] can no longer convince [the people] that they are fit to rule as an option that is better than the regimes that they oppose. To prove this, we need only point out that today the people are lamenting, yearning for the past and for the era of the regimes that [the opposition elements] brought down, against the backdrop of widespread fear that change could mean [only] chaos and wars.

“The problem with the Arab oppositions is not with a specific stream of thought, but is general and crosses ideological boundaries. It includes the liberal streams as well as parties of the left or those who wield religious slogans. Many of the opposition parties accusing the existing regimes of tyranny are, within themselves, undemocratic. Thus, for example, some opposition leaders’ leadership of their own parties predates the regimes of the rulers whom they oppose and accuse of dictatorship and of stubbornly clinging to power. The leftist parties have, in the eyes of the people, become a model of the elitism that is sunk in developing theories, while the Islamic parties have become a model of egocentrism and opportunism.

“In Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood showed an additional model, according to which the Islamic Arab parties, or most of them, tend to impose a dictatorship because they do not believe in democracy. They adopt it as a tactic only in order to attain their objectives, and when they take power, their true face is revealed, and they turn to tyranny and absolute rule. In Sudan, the Islamists carried out a military coup against democracy when they were still part of the parliament, and saw fit to impose their rule with tanks instead of obeying the ballot box.

“Some may argue that the Islamic parties in Tunisia and Morocco are currently presenting a different model, and that they have proven their desire for a peaceful and democratic transfer of power. A response to this is that, while the experience in both these countries justifiably sparks hope, it is [just] at the beginning of its path, and we must wait and monitor it to see how it develops before taking a stand on it.

“It is not only the Islamists who have not passed the test of democracy. The left, with its communist and national parties, has also [failed it],by turning to coups that they call revolutions; the region’s history is rife with examples [of such revolutions] that have left in their wake dictatorships, wars and crises. There are of course other streams and parties, that transcend the label of political left and religious right, but they too are helpless and failing, like the other Arab oppositions, with all their elements.

“So it is no wonder that the young people have abandoned the traditional opposition, as became clear in the Arab Spring revolutions, and have turned to what can be called ‘the online party’ as an arena for opposition and for voicing their distress… The young people are not alone in this, of course, because frustration becomes generalized when people see the internecine wars and the internal rift – such as in Libya, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen – that is caused by the failure of the political elites and opposition [there]…

“The Arab Spring…was not a message just to the regimes, as some people think. Its outcomes are an indictment of the Arab oppositions, which seem, to this day, not to have gotten the message.”

 

Endnote:

[1]  Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), January 21, 2016.

Dividing the Arabs: America and Europe’s Double Game

August 29, 2015

Dividing the Arabs: America and Europe’s Double Game, The Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, August 29, 2015

  • Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be “zero.” Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to major American cities, directly from Iran, from South America, or — making identification and retaliation impossible — from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.
  • Obama with one hand allows Iran to glide to nuclear capability and encourage the Muslim Brotherhood and similar Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula — while with the other hand, he claims to support Israel.
  • Qatar’s role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS.
  • Hamas, since last year’s war, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of developing businesses and turning the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas’s failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.
  • The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam’s taqiyya [dissimulation] — religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: “Death to America; Death to Israel.”

The United States is playing a double game in the Middle East: empowering Shiite Iran, while at the same time enabling Sunni ISIS to overthrow the moderate Arab regimes, as if to stop Iran.

The Americans are well aware that the Sunni Arab countries around Iran will now have to arm themselves to the teeth, thereby gutting the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

America, despite its power and the image it projects of working against ISIS in Iraq, does not touch ISIS in its real headquarters, Syria, where ISIS actually could actually be hurt. So nothing really changes, and both Iran and ISIS continue to strengthen.

Even as the members the UN Security Council, eager do business with Iran, voted to allow Iran to build nuclear weapons, the Iranians continue to fund Hezbollah, Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip — all Iranian proxies — in order to split the Arab ranks.

In other words, the hypocritical Obama administration, in backing the Iranians, keeps trying to sabotage the Arabs and provoke dissension.

The U.S. “divide-and-conquer” policy can also be seen in America’s ongoing support for Turkey and Qatar, both loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood. Turkey and Qatar, however, do nothing but foment incitement and support terrorist organizations. Both countries have totally abandoned the real existential interest of the Arab nation: its historic battle against Iran.

Qatar’s role is duplicitous. It plays host to U.S. military bases at the same time that it funds and supports ISIS, which is working against the West and against moderate Arab regimes.

The worst, however, is Turkey, which supports ISIS — the enemy of the West — despite Turkey being a member of NATO. Turkey also expends inordinate efforts at retaining its control of occupied Cyprus. Above all, its hypocrisy is scandalous. While it claims to care about the independence and human rights of the Palestinians, Turkey is really nothing but a radical Islamist country now denying independence and human rights to its own Kurdish citizens. At the same time, it supports Hamas and Iran in their effort to crush the unity of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the PLO as the only legitimate representatives of the Palestinian people.

Turkey, like many other nations, including the countries that negotiated with Iran, is just waiting for the sanctions to be lifted from Iran, so that its dubious military and economic relations with the Mullahs will finally be acceptable.

Turkey and Qatar have also divided the Sunni Islamic camp and fragmented the Arab ranks. Both countries give the Palestinians political support, the deluded hope of “return,” and funding that is used for rebuilding Hamas’s military capabilities and kidnapping tunnels.

It is both folly and underhandedness for the United States to provide these countries with even a tattered umbrella of military aid.

Not only the U.S. but Europe, which supports Iran, would like to see Hamas — a terrorist offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood — become stronger at the expense of the Palestinian people.

Europe would like to empower Hamas even further by handing it diplomatic and political support. There are rumors that the UN is planning to grant Hamas observer status in the General Assembly, as it did the Palestinian Authority.

We all know that the issue of Palestine could have been resolved long ago by establishing a demilitarized Palestinian state next to Israel, and giving the descendants of the original Palestinian refugees living in the Arab states full citizenship. But the manipulations employed by the Europeans and Americans deliberately perpetuate the Palestinian issue by using “good cop – bad cop” tactics. (Emphasis added. — DM)

Europe and the U.S. whitewash not only Hamas’s threats to Israel, but also, more importantly, its deadly subversion of Palestinian Authority. Both Europe and America totally disregard Hamas’s planned coup against PA leader Mahmoud Abbas last year, Hamas’s war crimes in the Gaza Strip, and the unspeakable treatment of its own people at home. Only one year ago, Hamas was murdering its own citizens extra-judicially, and ordering them to be cannon fodder for the benefit of international television crews.

Hamas, since then, has chosen to use its scant resources to rebuild its kidnapping tunnels and war capability, instead of to develop businesses and turn the Gaza Strip into a magnificent Arab Riviera, as Dubai has become. Hamas’s failure does not come from a lack of resources; it comes from a deliberate choice of how to use them.

Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are now operating against Egypt and Israel not only from the Gaza Strip, but from the Sinai Peninsula as well. Thus, in addition to allowing Iran to sail to nuclear weapons capability, President Obama encourages the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist terrorist organizations such as the Islamic State in the Sinai Peninsula with one hand, while with the other hand he claims to support Israel.

After all is said and done, if we Arabs had joined ranks — even temporarily and even with Israel — we could have long ago put a stop to Iran’s plans for expansion.

But because of our own shortsightedness, we waited too long and now the Iranians have established footholds in the Arabian Gulf and the Red Sea, and are increasing their control of Arab states such as Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen.

Iran is on its way in a few years to having nuclear weapons capability. The breakout time, according to President Obama, would effectively be “zero.” Iran could then make as many bombs as it would like, along with intercontinental ballistic missiles to delver them to the major cities of the “Great Satan,” the United States, directly from Iran, from South America, or — making identification and retaliation impossible — from submarines submerged off the U.S. coast.

The Iranians, in opposing American policy, which is a tissue of amateur plans and plots, are flexible and exploit Islam’s taqiyya [dissimulation] — religious approval to lie in the cause of Allah and to further Islam. However, they are not even bothering with that, they are telling the truth: “Death to America; Death to Israel.”

1225U.S. President Barack Obama (left). Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (right).

By this point, near the end of the process of Sunni Muslim self-destruction, a large part of the Arabs’ energy has been wasted on internal wars and the misallocation of resources to the barren, useless confrontation with Israel, even while many Arab states secretly collaborate with the Zionists.

All that will be left for the Arabs will be to continue to argue among themselves and with the Israelis about the Palestinian issue. We should instead stop the distractions and the wounds we are inflicting upon ourselves, and put the Palestinian problem behind us by granting equal rights and citizenship to Palestinians residing in Arab countries, in order to shift our focus totally, if belatedly, to the real battle: The Islamic Republic of Iran.

The Kurd-Shia War Behind the War on ISIS

June 5, 2015

The Kurd-Shia War Behind the War on ISIS, The Daily BeastMat Wolf, June 5, 2015

1433495718557.cachedAhmed Jadallah/Reuters

“We could see outright civil war,” Farhan Siddiqi, a research fellow on international politics and national security at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), tells The Daily Beast. Siddiqi says he believes the Kurds and the Shia central government would face domestic and international pressure to avoid such a conflict, but if cooler heads failed a hypothetical conflict could escalate into something even worst than the current ISIS war.

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In a dusty town near the Iranian border, the terror group was defeated, but the victors are at each other’s throats.

JALAWLA, Iraq — Behind Iraq’s front lines against the so-called Islamic State, Kurdish and Shia factions already are drawing a blueprint for what could be the region’s next major conflict.

In the city of Jalawla in Iraq’s Diyala province, near the Iranian border approximately 80 miles east of Baghdad, Kurdish forces have given the boot to the Shia militia they previously allied with to take the city from ISIS in a bloody November battle. Last month, the commanding Kurdish Peshmerga general in Jalawla threatened to start shooting if the Shia refused to leave the city immediately.

“This area is ours now, and that’s not changing,” Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Sangawi told The Daily Beast. He added that Jalawla, an abandoned city that previously had 83,000 people and was 80 percent Sunni Arab in 2003, would soon have a Kurdish mayor. Sangawi bragged that henceforth the city would also be called by its new Kurdish moniker, “Golala.”

Not so fast, say the Shia militias. They were recruited in the name of a fatwa from Iraqi Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in June 2014, following the Iraqi army’s humiliating loss of Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, virtually without a fight. Many are trained and advised by Iranians, and they have been the spearhead of Baghdad’s efforts to recover lost territory in the name of the national government.

The Kurds, meanwhile, have fought hard to protect, consolidate and indeed expand areas they consider “their” territory.

“They [the Kurds] need to recognize this region is Iraq,” says Ali Khorasani, the commander of the Hashd al-Shaabi militias that Sangawi’s Peshmerga expelled from Jalawla. Hashd al-Shaabi is the Arabic term for Popular Mobilization Units, the name preferred by the volunteer Shia militias.

Khorasani said the Kurds “are strong, and they’re very organized, and our relationship was good, but now our relationship has problems.” And that appears to be an understatement. When asked if Kurdish moves in the region might lead to another war, Khorasani replied tersely: “Maybe.”

For now, Khorasani’s unit has been dispersed to the south of Jalawla around a town called Sadiya. It’s only a five-minute drive from Jalawla, but Kurdish forces are limiting access to Sadiya and prevented us from going there. Khorasani spoke to The Daily Beast by phone.

The ISIS blitz of northern and central Iraq one year ago sent the on-paper highly trained and well-equipped Iraqi army scrambling, and led to the sacking of controversial Shia Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. He was widely criticized for his sectarian policies that alienated the country’s Sunni Arabs, who are now the main support base for ISIS.

The Iraqi army’s retreat also opened the door for Kurdish forces to seize large swaths of territory abandoned by government forces.

Now, the central government’s inability to deal decisively with ISIS in Anbar province and its loss of the Anbar provincial capital Ramadi has seen the Kurds acting even more brazenly in anticipation of an independence push. Iraqi Kurdistan President Masoud Barzani has promised a long-awaited Kurdish independence referendum.

“Certainly an independent Kurdistan is coming,” Barzani said on a visit to Washington D.C. on May 6. “It will take place when the security situation is better and when the fight against ISIS is over.”

“We could see outright civil war,” Farhan Siddiqi, a research fellow on international politics and national security at the Middle East Research Institute (MERI), tells The Daily Beast. Siddiqi says he believes the Kurds and the Shia central government would face domestic and international pressure to avoid such a conflict, but if cooler heads failed a hypothetical conflict could escalate into something even worst than the current ISIS war.

Since the summer of 2014, the Kurds have increased their territory by 40 percent, most notably around the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, often called the “Kurdish Jerusalem.” Today Kirkuk has a Kurdish population of around 50 percent combined with large groups of Arabs and Turkmens. The city and its outlying territories were frequent targets of “Arabization” by the Saddam Hussein regime, a policy meant to shift the ethnic balance of power there as he waged a genocidal war against the rebellious Kurds. Now they want the city back, but Arab families who have lived there for decades have no place to go.

Areas like Jalawla are a different matter. It is closer to Baghdad than to the Iraqi Kurdish capital Erbil. It, too, was the target of waves of Arabization, but it has been a majority Arab city for decades. By Sangawi’s own admission the population was less than 10 percent Kurdish in 2003.

“The Baath regime had a process of oppressing the Kurdish people. They had to change their names to Arab names or leave the city,” Sangawi says. “When filling out forms they had to register as Arab. In 1970, 32 percent of this city was Kurdish. The city was only 8 percent Kurdish at the time of the American invasion in 2003. The Arabs tried to rob the Kurds of their land.”

Today, Jalawla has been completely abandoned by its civilian inhabitants, many of whom supported ISIS, according to Sangawi. Feral dogs dart in front of Peshmerga convoys and Kurdish graffiti proclaims the city part of Kurdistan. The immediate surrounding area of the town—dusty flat fields speckled with palm groves—clashes with the green, mountainous terrain often associated with Kurdistan, and syncs up more with stereotypically Arab lands.

Parts of Jalawla, especially the former ISIS command center on high ground overlooking the city, have been reduced to rubble. However, a spring bloom of un-manicured pink desert roses has overrun the walls and sidewalks, offsetting the many bullet holes and craters that otherwise dot the settlement.

“One-hundred and ten Peshmerga died in the fighting. When ISIS came in here they left many IEDs and explosives on the roads,” says Sangawi.

But the November fighting wasn’t the area’s first battle, and likely not its last. The Kurdish-Arab rift in the city goes back over a millennium.

Golala, Jalawla’s Kurdish name, means the “land of flowers.” Its Arabic title’s etymology is more grisly. In 637 AD, Arab Muslim forces during the early Islamic conquest of the Middle East won a decisive battle here against a Zoroastrian Persian force. A popular tale in the region holds the Arabs named the location Jalawla from an Arabic verb meaning to cover or to fill, as so many Zoroastrian corpses filled the landscape.

Sangawi knows this tale, and says he considers the Zoroastrians the Kurds’ forebears before Arabs took their territory—a perfect and historically convenient parable for Kurdish claims on the region.

Dark haired with a round face, thick droopy mustache and rosy cheeks, the 63-year-old Sangawi at first comes across as a friendly grandfatherly type, albeit one who travels with an entourage equipped with RPGs and machine guns. And most grandfathers don’t blithely threaten former heads of state.

“We’ve killed lots of people, a lot of them like Maliki,” he says of the former Iraqi prime minister, who said in a TV interview last month that anyone wishing to break up Iraq would create a “river of blood.”

“Maliki can eat shit,” Sangawi chuckles.

Sangawi’s been with the Peshmerga since the 1970s and has jumped around the Kurds’ various political parties, at one point even becoming a Marxist before joining up with the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK), the party of former Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Compared to Sangawi’s stance of bold antagonism, Khorasani is more conciliatory. The 45-year-old says he was in the legal profession before volunteering for the militia, and he makes a point of saying how the liberation of Jalawla was a joint effort. Even before then, he adds, the Kurds and Shia Arabs could find common cause.

“This is Iraq. We used to be united. They opposed the former regime and so did we,” he laments. “We were one.”

But Sangawi counters: “We were both against Saddam Hussein. We fought together. However, when the Shias came to power they treated us the same as Saddam Hussein, that’s why we don’t have a good relationship now.”

Siddiqi, at the Middle East Research Institute, says that the new Baghdad government under Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has shown a willingness to negotiate and be more accommodating to Iraq’s minorities, but the country’s age-old tensions still run deep.

“Saddam Hussein is gone, but his authoritarianism still survives along all levels of Iraqi society,” Siddiqi says. “It remains to be seen if the government becoming more accommodating will reduce calls for independence.”

If a conflict were to occur, he adds, the Hashd al-Shaabi would be at the forefront of any government pushback against the Kurds. “The central government could easily call on the Shia militias it’s currently using against ISIS, using religious pretexts and slogans to drive them forward,” he says.

The central Iraqi government has already come under fire for its use of the militias, whose religious zealotry exacerbates sectarian tensions in Iraq. The government’s operation to retake the Sunni-majority Ramadi was originally named “At Your Service, Hussein,” in honor of a major Shia historical and religious figure. Human Rights Watch has also raised concerns that the Hashd al-Shaabi have committed serious human rights abuses while ostensibly fighting ISIS.

Siddiqi says the international community, including the central government’s main ally, Iran, would be wary of seeing another war in the region. “Iran wants peace, it does not want Iraq to become another Syria or another Yemen,” he says, adding that although opposed on many issues, the U.S. and Iran have tacit tactical cooperation in Iraq these days, and neither would support a Shia-Kurd conflict.

If a fight did occur, Siddiqi says he believes world powers would do their best to take a “hands-off” approach to avoid further escalation. If Kurdish independence were to succeed, he continues, it would only be accomplished via an agreement with Baghdad, not another war.

But far from Tehran and the beltway, on the dusty plains of disputed Jalawla, Sangawi says he’s ready for that war, drawing little distinction between Shia Hashd al-Shaabi and Sunni ISIS, and viewing them both as his people’s ancient enemies.

“The Shia militias believe if they kill ISIS they’re going to heaven, and ISIS believes if they kill the Shia people they are going to go to heaven,” Sangawi declares. “They fight over religion, not for land.”

“For me, if they attack me I will attack them, because this is my land. If they come to this land, of course I will fight them.”

Take Them At Their Word: Iran Might Destroy Us | Bill Whittle

April 9, 2015

Take Them At Their Word: Iran Might Destroy Us | Bill Whittle via You Tube, April 9, 2015