Posted tagged ‘Arabs’

The Arabs’ Historic Mistakes in Their Interactions with Israel ( a must read )

July 11, 2016

The Arabs’ Historic Mistakes in Their Interactions with Israel

by Fred Maroun

July 10, 2016 at 5:00 am

Source: The Arabs’ Historic Mistakes in Their Interactions with Israel

A top notch peace !

  • We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians. Our worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947.
  • Perhaps one should not launch wars if one is not prepared for the results of possibly losing them.
  • The Jews are not keeping the Arabs in camps, we are.
  • Jordan integrated some refugees, but not all. We could have proven that we Arabs are a great and noble people, but instead we showed the world, as we continue to do, that our hatred towards each other and towards Jews is far greater than any concept of purported Arab solidarity.

This is part one of a two-part series. The second part will examine what we Arabs can do differently today.

In the current state of the relationship between the Arab world and Israel, we see a patchwork of hostility, tense peace, limited cooperation, calm, and violence. We Arabs managed our relationship with Israel atrociously, but the worst of all is the ongoing situation of the Palestinians.

The Original Mistake

Our first mistake lasted centuries, and occurred well before Israel’s declaration of independence in May 1948. It consisted of not recognizing Jews as equals.

As documented by a leading American scholar of Jewish history in the Muslim world, Mark R. Cohen, during that era, “Jews shared with other non-Muslims the status of dhimmis [non-Muslims who have to pay protection money and follow separate debasing laws to be tolerated in Muslim-controlled areas] … New houses of worship were not to be built and old ones could not be repaired. They were to act humbly in the presence of Muslims. In their liturgical practice they had to honor the preeminence of Islam. They were further required to differentiate themselves from Muslims by their clothing and by eschewing symbols of honor. Other restrictions excluded them from positions of authority in Muslim government”.

On March 1, 1944, while the Nazis were massacring six million Jews, and well before Israel declared independence, Haj Amin al-Husseini, then Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, declared on Radio Berlin, “Arabs, rise as one man and fight for your sacred rights. Kill the Jews wherever you find them. This pleases God, history, and religion. This saves your honor. God is with you.”

If we had not made this mistake, we might have benefited in two ways.

Jews would likely have remained in the Muslim Middle East in greater numbers, and they would have advanced the Middle Eastern civilization rather than the civilizations of the places to which they fled, most notably Europe and later the United States.

Secondly, if Jews felt secure and accepted in the Middle East among Arabs, they may not have felt the need to create an independent state, which would have saved us from our subsequent mistakes.

The Worst Mistake

Our second and worst mistake was in not accepting the United Nations partition plan of 1947. UN resolution 181 provided the legal basis for a Jewish state and an Arab state sharing what used to be British-controlled Mandatory Palestine.

As reported by the BBC, that resolution provided for:

“A Jewish State covering 56.47% of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem) with a population of 498,000 Jews and 325,000 Arabs; An Arab State covering 43.53% of Mandatory Palestine (excluding Jerusalem), with 807,000 Arab inhabitants and 10,000 Jewish inhabitants; An international trusteeship regime in Jerusalem, where the population was 100,000 Jews and 105,000 Arabs.”

Although the land allocated to the Jewish state was slightly larger than the land allocated to the Arab state, much of the Jewish part was total desert, the Negev and Arava, with the fertile land allocated to the Arabs. The plan was also to the Arabs’ advantage for two other reasons:

  • The Jewish state had only a bare majority of Jews, which would have given the Arabs almost as much influence as the Jews in running the Jewish state, but the Arab state was almost purely Arab, providing no political advantage to Jews within it.
  • Each proposed state consisted of three more-or-less disconnected pieces, resulting in strong geographic interdependence between the two states. If the two states were on friendly terms, they would likely have worked in many ways as a single federation. In that federation, Arabs would have had a strong majority.

Instead of accepting that gift of a plan when we still could, we Arabs decided that we could not accept a Jewish state, period. In May 1948, Azzam Pasha, the General Secretary of the Arab League, announced, regarding the proposed new Jewish part of the partition: that, “This will be a war of extermination, a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.” We initiated a war intended to eradicate the new state in its infancy, but we lost, and the result of our mistake was a much stronger Jewish state:

  • The Jewish majority of the Jewish state grew dramatically due to the exchange of populations that occurred, with many Arabs fleeing the war in Israel and many Jews fleeing a hostile Arab world to join the new state.
  • The Jews acquired additional land during the war we launched, resulting in armistice lines (today called the green lines or pre-1967 lines), which gave Israel a portion of the land previously allocated to the Arab state. The Jewish state also acquired much better contiguity, while the Arab portions became divided into two parts (Gaza and the West Bank) separated by almost 50 kilometers.

Perhaps one should not launch wars if one is not prepared for the results of possibly losing them.

In May 1948, Azzam Pasha (right), the General Secretary of the Arab League, announced, regarding the proposed new Jewish part of the partition: that, “This will be a war of extermination, a momentous massacre, which will be spoken of like the Mongolian massacres and the Crusades.”

More Wars and More Mistakes

After the War of Independence (the name that the Jews give to the war of 1947/1948), Israel was for all practical purposes confined to the land within the green lines. Israel had no authority or claim over Gaza and the West Bank. We Arabs had two options if we had chosen to make peace with Israel at that time:

  • We could have incorporated Gaza into Egypt, and the West Bank into Jordan, providing the Palestinians with citizenship in one of two relatively strong Arab countries, both numerically and geographically stronger than Israel.
  • We could have created a new state in Gaza and the West Bank.

Instead, we chose to continue the hostilities with Israel. In the spring of 1967, we formed a coalition to attack Israel. On May 20, 1967, Syrian Defense Minister Hafez Assad stated, “The time has come to enter into a battle of annihilation.” On May 27, 1967, Egypt’s President Abdul Nasser declared, “Our basic objective will be the destruction of Israel”. In June, it took Israel only six days to defeat us and humiliate us in front of the world. In that war, we lost much more land, including Gaza and the West Bank.

After the war of 1967 (which Jews call the Six-Day War), Israel offered us land for peace, thereby offering us a chance to recover from the mistake of the Six-Day War. We responded with the Khartoum Resolutions, stating, “No peace with Israel, no recognition of Israel, and no negotiations with Israel”.

Not having learned from 1967, we formed yet another coalition in October 1973 and tried again to destroy Israel. We achieved some gains, but then the tide turned and we lost again. After this third humiliating defeat, our coalition against Israel broke up, and Egypt and Jordan even decided to make peace with Israel.

The rest of us remained stubbornly opposed to Israel’s very existence, even Syria which, like Egypt and Jordan, had lost land to Israel during the Six-Day War. Today Israel still holds that territory, and there is no real prospect for that land ever going back to Syria; Israel’s Prime Minister recently declared that, “Israel will never leave the Golan Heights”.

The Tragedy of the Palestinians

The most reprehensible and the most tragic of our mistakes is the way that we Arabs have treated Palestinians since Israel’s declaration of independence.

The Jews of Israel welcomed Jewish refugees from Arab and other Muslim lands into the Israeli fold, regardless of the cost or the difficulty in integrating people with very different backgrounds. Israel eagerly integrated refugees from far-away lands, including Ethiopia, India, Morocco, Brazil, Iran, Ukraine, and Russia. By doing so, they demonstrated the powerful bond that binds Jews to each other. At the same time, we had the opportunity similarly to show the bond that binds Arabs together, but instead of welcoming Arab refugees from the 1947/48 war, we confined them to camps with severe restrictions on their daily lives.

In Lebanon, as reported by Amnesty International, “Palestinians continue to suffer discrimination and marginalization in the labor market which contribute to high levels of unemployment, low wages and poor working conditions. While the Lebanese authorities recently lifted a ban on 50 of the 70 jobs restricted to them, Palestinians continue to face obstacles in actually finding employment in them. The lack of adequate employment prospects leads a high drop-out rate for Palestinian schoolchildren who also have limited access to public secondary education. The resultant poverty is exacerbated by restrictions placed on their access to social services”.

Yet, Lebanon and Syria could not integrate refugees that previously lived a few kilometers away from the country’s borders and who shared with the country’s people almost identical cultures, languages, and religions. Jordan integrated some refugees but not all. We could have proven that we Arabs are a great and noble people, but instead we showed the world, as we continue to do, that our hatred towards each other and towards Jews is far greater than any concept of purported Arab solidarity. Shamefully to us, seven decades after the Palestinian refugees fled Israel, their descendants are still considered refugees.

The worst part of the way we have treated Palestinian refugees is that even within the West Bank and Gaza, there remains to this day a distinction between Palestinian refugees and native Palestinians. In those lands, according to the year 2010 numbers provided by Palestinian Refugee ResearchNet at McGill University, 37% of Palestinians within the West Bank and Gaza live in camps! Gaza has eight Palestinian refugee camps, and the West bank has nineteen. The Jews are not keeping the Arabs in camps, we are. Palestinian President Mahmood Abbas claims a state on those lands, but we can hardly expect him to be taken seriously when he leaves the Palestinian refugees under his authority in camps and cannot even integrate them with other Palestinians. The ridiculousness of the situation is rivaled only by its callousness.

Where We Are Now

Because of our own mistakes, our relationship with Israel today is a failure. The only strength in our economies is oil, a perishable resource and, with fracking, diminishing in value. We have not done nearly enough to prepare for the future when we will need inventiveness and productivity. According to Foreign Policy Magazine, “Although Arab governments have long recognized the need to shift away from an excessive dependence on hydrocarbons, they have had little success in doing so. … Even the United Arab Emirates’ economy, one of the most diversified in the Gulf, is highly dependent on oil exports”.

Business Insider rated Israel in 2015 as the world’s third most innovative country. Countries from all over the world take advantage of Israel’s creativity, including countries as remote and as advanced as Japan. Yet we snub Israel, an innovation powerhouse that happens to be at our borders.

We also fail to take advantage of Israel’s military genius to help us fight new and devastating enemies such as ISIS.

Worst of all, one of our own people, the Palestinians, are dispersed — divided, disillusioned, and utterly incapable of reviving the national project that we kidnapped from under their feet in 1948 and that we have since disfigured beyond recognition.

To say that we must change our approach towards Israel is an understatement. There are fundamental changes that we ourselves must make, and we must find the courage and moral fortitude to make them.

The Jews are not keeping the Arabs in camps, we are.

Fred Maroun, a left-leaning Arab based in Canada, has authored op-eds for New Canadian Media, among other outlets. From 1961-1984, he lived in Lebanon.

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

 

The Myth of Netanyahu’s Racism

March 23, 2015

The Myth of Netanyahu’s Racism, Front Page Magazine, Daniel Greenfield, March 23, 2015

Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel’s cultural conflict is a complex one. It doesn’t just pit Jews against Arabs or Muslims against Jews, it pits Arab Druze against European Jewish leftists and Aramean Christians against Arab Muslims. The left prefers cheap shots to actually understanding the complexities of a country that can’t be summed up with a keffiyah and a protest sign. After their election defeat, Obama and the media have decided to reduce Israel to Netanyahu and Netanyahu to the devil. It’s the easy way out, but it fails to take account of men like Ayoub Kara or Father Naddaf, of the Likud landslide in Arab-al-Naim and of Lieberman’s wins in Arab towns and villages. The Jews and Arabs are more complex than the left would like them to be.

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Netanyahu’s conservative Likud Party got its best numbers not in Jerusalem, where it only won a quarter of the vote, or Sderot, the city under siege where it still got less than half, or Maaleh Adumim, a city of some 40,000 known as a “settlement” because it is located in ’67 Israel where it also took less than half.

Its best numbers appear to have come from Arab-al-Naim, a Bedouin settlement, where it scored three-quarters of the vote.

The residents were uninterested in any of the accusations of racism being aimed at Netanyahu by the media. Instead they were interested in housing. As one resident put it, “I used to sleep in a cave with my goats. Now I ask my daughter what wallpaper she wants in her room.”

Netanyahu’s election comment about Arabs being bused in to vote has been seized on as a useful excuse to explain how the media’s poll numbers that showed Netanyahu losing align with the actual results by claiming that a rash of racist Israelis rushed to vote. But that fails to explain why the exit polls were still badly wrong. A more realistic explanation is that the media’s polling was biased against Netanyahu. But it’s easier for the media to accuse Netanyahu of racism than admit to its own biases.

When Netanyahu warned about Arabs being bused in, he obviously was not talking about his own Arab voters, but the Joint Arab List whose MKs include Ahmed Tibi, who claimed that Hamas is not a terrorist organization, Tibi’s brother-in-law, Osama Sa’adi, who represented Hamas terrorists, Haneen Zoabi, who met with Hamas officials and defended the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens and Jamal Zahalka, who attended a Hamas rallyand claimed that Israel would be destroyed.

Also on the list is Masud Ghanim, a Muslim Brotherhood member who called for replacing Israel with an Islamic Caliphate and stated that he supports Hezbollah.

The Joint Arab List is composed of several parties. Hadash has its roots in the Israeli Communist Party. Despite the name, it rejects Israel and its only remaining Jewish MK is Boris ‘Dov’ Khenin, the son of David Khenin the party’s co-founder and General Secretary of the Communist Youth Union. Balad was founded by Azmi Bishara who fled Israel after being investigated as an enemy spy. Balad had already been suspended for calling for war against Israel. The United Arab List emerged out of the local Muslim Brotherhood franchise and is stacked with Muslim Brotherhood members.

The Muslim Brotherhood believes that the Islamic apocalypse requires exterminating the Jews.

The Joint Arab List unites Communists with Islamists into one big political terrorist organization. The reasons why Netanyahu and Israelis would be concerned about its members picking up seats are obvious. Imagine Communists sitting in the Senate during the Cold War and Al Qaeda members sitting there now. As Arab al-Naim shows, the issue was not ethnicity; it was Islamic terrorism.

The media’s cries of racism fail to explain places like Arab-al-Naim where the Arab vote helped Netanyahu. Or the Arab-Druze town of Abu Sinan where Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu (Israel Our Home) party, despite its media image as right-wing, captured almost 14 percent of the vote. But then again the “xenophobic” and “racist” party has Hamad Amar, a Druze IDF veteran, in the sixth place on its list.

In Netanyahu’s Likud Party, Druze lawmaker Ayoub Kara returned to the Knesset, Israel’s parliament. If Obama thinks that Netanyahu is far right, he hasn’t met Ayoub Kara who urged protesters, “Say ‘No!’ to Barack Hussein Obama and ‘Yes!’ to the nation of Israel.”

“Everyone understands that withdrawing from land will yield us nothing but a ‘red carpet’ at the ‘peace treaty’ signing ceremony,” he said during the campaign.

Netanyahu didn’t win Kara’s village of Isifya. The center-right Kulanu party running on a program of social development and economic reform did. The Likud barely placed, but Yisrael Beiteinu scored 10 percent of the vote.

While there is an Arab bloc, the Arab vote is also a lot more complicated than it seems.

There are Arab Christians who define themselves as Aramaic rather than Arab and minority groups such as the Druze and the Bedouin who have a different relationship with Israel than the stone-throwing Keffiyah-wearer prized by European protest tourists.

From the earliest days of the reborn state, entire clans and ethnic groups aligned for or against Israel. Thus the Al-Husayini clan, which gave the world Hitler’s Mufti and Arafat, led the campaign against Israel while the Abu Ghosh family maintained friendly relations with the Jews. Druze and Bedouin serve in the Israeli army and there is a growing movement of Arab Christians who have decided to serve as well.

Netanyahu has met with Father Gabriel Naddaf who has led the movement, and Naddaf identifies as Aramaic, rather than Arab, while encouraging other Christians to reclaim an Aramaic heritage. In Jish, the Maronite Christian center of the Aramean revival, the United Arab List won decisively, but Lieberman’s Yisrael Beiteinu scored 11 percent. 5 people even cast votes for Yachad. Shas, the party of Middle Eastern Jews, came in sixth.

The media has accused Netanyahu of offering a bigoted appeal by warning about Arab voters being bused in. It doesn’t care to dwell on the subject of which group would be most moved by such an appeal. That would reveal certain inconvenient facts about the relationships of the Israeli left.

The Israeli left remains a project of European Ashkenazi Jews. The Middle Eastern Mizrahi Jews were refugees from Muslim persecution and want a strong leadership that protects the country. The left gets a fraction of its vote from Middle Eastern Jews. Netanyahu gets half his votes from them.

The Israelis most likely to respond to anti-Muslim rhetoric are refugees from Muslim countries. The lefty activists most likely to condemn them as racist colonizers emigrated from Russia and Germany.

Meretz, Israel’s farthest left party, has an Arab MK. It has no Mizrahi MKs. Yisrael Beiteinu has a Druze and a Mizrahi MK. Israel’s right is more fundamentally diverse than its left and its stronger stand on Islamic terrorism helps it pick up support from Jewish and non-Jewish minorities.

Lieberman does better than Netanyahu among some Arab voters because he projects strength. When he talks about cutting off the heads of traitors, he’s speaking with a vocabulary that is entirely familiar in the region. Nobody in the Middle East picks the weak horse and those Arabs who support Israel prefer the bellicose Lieberman to the more moderate Netanyahu.

“Even in a hundred years’ time, the Middle East will not speak Yiddish and the answer to terror is a deterrent penalty,” Ayoub Kara said.

Those Arabs that support Israel want to see a strong country and they don’t wring their hands when conservative Israeli politicians say politically incorrect things. The Joint Arab List wants to see it gone and those who vote for them are no more likely to spare the Jewish State no matter how softly it speaks.

Israel’s cultural conflict is a complex one. It doesn’t just pit Jews against Arabs or Muslims against Jews, it pits Arab Druze against European Jewish leftists and Aramean Christians against Arab Muslims. The left prefers cheap shots to actually understanding the complexities of a country that can’t be summed up with a keffiyah and a protest sign. After their election defeat, Obama and the media have decided to reduce Israel to Netanyahu and Netanyahu to the devil. It’s the easy way out, but it fails to take account of men like Ayoub Kara or Father Naddaf, of the Likud landslide in Arab-al-Naim and of Lieberman’s wins in Arab towns and villages. The Jews and Arabs are more complex than the left would like them to be.

Arab Commentators Strongly Back Netanyahu on Congress Speech, Iran Nuclear Threat

March 4, 2015

Arab Commentators Strongly Back Netanyahu on Congress Speech, Iran Nuclear Threat, Algemeiner, Shirym Ghermezian, March 3, 2015

netanyahu-congress-300x175Prime Minister Netanyahu addresses Congress on the Iranian nuclear threat. Photo: Screenshot.

“What is absurd, however,” Abbas continues, “is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei.”

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Leading Arab opinion makers weighed in on the controversy surrounding Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s address to Congress on Tuesday and expressed strong support for his stance on the Iranian nuclear threat.

In an op-ed for the Saudi Arabian daily Al-Jazirah on Monday, columnist Dr. Ahmad Al-Faraj asserted that Netanyahu is justified in his campaign against the proposed nuclear deal with Iran, according to The Middle East Media Research Institute. Al-Faraj said Netanyahu’s effort to prevent the signing of the agreement is in the interests of the Gulf states, and that the prime minister “is right to insist on addressing Congress about the nuclear deal.”

“I am very glad of Netanyahu’s firm stance and [his decision] to speak against the nuclear agreement at the American Congress despite the Obama administration’s anger and fury,” Al-Faraj wrote. “I believe that Netanyahu’s conduct will serve our interests, the people of the Gulf, much more than the foolish behavior of one of the worst American presidents.”

The powerful editor-in-chief of Al Arabiya English, Faisal J. Abbas, published a column on Tuesday in which he asked Obama to take notes from Netanyahu on the extent of the Iranian threat. In the piece, titled “President Obama, Listen to Netanyahu on Iran,” Abbas says, “one must admit, Bibi did get it right, at least when it came to dealing with Iran.”

Abbas notes that Netanyahu “hit the nail right on the head” when he said at a recent event in Tel Aviv that “Middle Eastern countries are collapsing and that ‘terror organizations, mostly backed by Iran, are filling in the vacuum.’” In his remarks, Netanyahu “managed to accurately summarize a clear and present danger, not just to Israel (which obviously is his concern), but to other US allies in the region,” Abbas writes.

“What is absurd, however,” Abbas continues, “is that despite this being perhaps the only thing that brings together Arabs and Israelis (as it threatens them all), the only stakeholder that seems not to realize the danger of the situation is President Obama, who is now infamous for being the latest pen-pal of the Supreme Leader of the World’s biggest terrorist regime: Ayottallah Ali Khamenei.”

Abbas slams Obama’s “controversial take on managing global conflicts that raises serious questions.”  The “real Iranian threat” says Abbas, is not just the country’s nuclear ambitions, “but its expansionist approach and state-sponsored terrorism activities which are still ongoing.”

Saudi Arabia Unveils Badass Anti-ISIS Wall That Makes U.S. Border Look Like Swiss Cheese

January 26, 2015

Saudi Arabia Unveils Badass Anti-ISIS Wall That Makes U.S. Border Look Like Swiss Cheese

By Jennifer Van Laar (1 week ago) | Military, Nation

via Saudi Arabia Unveils Badass Anti-ISIS Wall That Makes U.S. Border Look Like Swiss Cheese.

 


Getty – YASSER AL-ZAYYA
The oldest way to defend land is through a physical barrier, such as a wall. Yet some Americans dispute the efficacy of a wall when defending our southern border against infiltration from either illegal immigrants or terrorists.

One country is not buying into that notion: Saudi Arabia.

Last week, a Saudi general was killed in a skirmish with ISIS at the border with Iraq, along which Saudi Arabia is constructing a 600-mile-long wall:

Image Credit: Telegraph

Image Credit: UPI

The prospect of this wall separating Iraq from Saudi Arabia is not a welcome one for ISIS, whose goals include capturing Saudi Arabia – home to the Holy Mosques of Mecca and Medina.

Saudi Arabia’s oil fields are another key strategic goal for the terror group intent on creating a Sharia-run caliphate.

Construction began on the wall last September and, according to Jane’s,

“…consists of 78 monitoring towers, eight command centers, 10 mobile surveillance vehicles, 32 rapid-response centers, and three rapid intervention squads, all linked by a fiber-optic communications network.”

The Kingdom is also creating a 1,000 mile wall along its border with Yemen to the south.

If the Saudis are putting this much stock in a wall, why do some in the United States claim that tactic won’t work here?

For one thing, the Mexican-U.S. border wall being constructed is more of a fence and not a fully integrated security solution.

Also, the Saudi’s wall is solely constructed in a desert, while the United States boundary includes a river. Wildlife concerns make it difficult to place a fortified border wall next to a body of water.

But, with the economic and public health threat posed by illegal border crossings and potential terrorism concerns, some feel that Congress might do well to take a cue from the Saudi solution–especially with the reported weaknesses with our own border security.

Unfortunately, within the fortress they are building, Saudi Arabia is still denying its citizens the most basic human rights. According to Yahoo News, the kingdom has ‘sparked an international outcry’ for sentencing a blogger to 1,000 lashings for insulting Islam.

Canada’s FM: A Jewish state today is more important than even a few years ago

January 21, 2015

Canada’s FM: A Jewish state today is more important than even a few years ago

‘We have a fundamental difference with the Palestinians’ about their path to statehood, a thoroughly unapologetic John Baird tells The Times of Israel

By Raphael Ahren January 21, 2015, 3:32 pm

via Canada’s FM: A Jewish state today is more important than even a few years ago | The Times of Israel.

 


ohn Baird has no intention of apologizing. The Palestinians would like the Canadian foreign minister to say he’s sorry for his government’s unabashedly pro-Israel stance. They shouldn’t hold their breath.

In fact, Baird is waiting for an apology from Ramallah — not for having his car pelted with eggs and shoes Sunday during his visit there, but for a top Palestinian official’s comparison between Israel and terrorists of the Islamic State.

“People may disagree with our position with respect to Israel, but so be it,” Baird said Tuesday in Tel Aviv, as he wrapped up a three-day visit to the region. “It’s always wise to speak with moral clarity,” he submitted, adding that despite Ottawa’s unflinching friendship with the Jewish state, “we have a pretty good relationship with most of the Arab countries in the region.”

But evidently not so much with the Palestinians, as his visit to Ramallah Sunday underlined. While Palestinian protestors booed, hurled shoes and eggs at Baird and told him he was unwelcome in their land, senior Palestine Liberation Organization official and ex-chief peace negotiator Saeb Erekat released a statement denouncing Baird and urging him to ask the Palestinian people for forgiveness for his country’s consistent support for Israel.

“The Palestinian people as well as the rest of the Arab and Muslim countries deserve an apology from the Canadian government for years of systematic attempts at blocking the right of the Palestinian people to a state of their own,” Erekat declared. Canada stands “on the wrong side of history” by blindly supporting Israel’s “apartheid policies,” Erekat charged, attacking Baird personally for contributing to alleged Israeli violations of Palestinian rights.

Policemen stand guard in front of Palestinian protesters holding placards before a meeting between Palestinian Authority Minister of Foreign Affairs Riyad al-Maliki and his Canadian counterpart John Baird on January 18, 2015, Ramallah. (AFP/ABBAS MOMANI)

Speaking to The Times of Israel in his Tel Aviv hotel, Ottawa’s top diplomat made crystal clear he makes no apology for his government’s positions on Israel. Instead, he noted that he is awaiting an apology from Erekat, who earlier this month said Israel’s settlement building in the West Bank was “terrorism” tantamount to that practiced by the Islamic State.

“That speaks volumes,” Baird said of Erekat’s comparison. “I’ll leave it to any fair-minded observer to come to conclusions about him,” he added diplomatically.

At the time, Baird’s spokesperson, Rick Roth, said Erekat’s comments “are offensive and ridiculous, and he should apologize immediately.” Such comparisons undermine efforts to combat the IS terrorists and could “inflame tensions in the region,” Roth stated in Baird’s name.

‘We strongly support a Palestinian state. We just believe it’s a byproduct of negotiations with Israel’

“We have a fundamental difference of opinion with the Palestinian leadership,” Baird said Tuesday. But he added that he has a “good relationship” with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki, despite Ottawa’s opposition to their unilateral efforts to gain statehood recognition without having to negotiate without Israel.

“They know our position. We don’t say one thing to their face and another thing when we go back home. We strongly support a Palestinian state,” said Baird. “We just believe it’s a byproduct of peace negotiations with Israel. The way to accomplish a Palestinian state is dialogue with Israel and not taking unilateral action.”

A Palestinian protester holds a poster with a photo of Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird that reads in Arabic, "You should be ashamed of your biased position towards Israel," during Baird's meeting with Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riad Maliki, in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Sunday, Jan. 18, 2015. Dozens of Palestinian protesters have hurled eggs and shoes at the convoy of the visiting Canadian foreign minister. (photo credit: AP Photo/Nasser Nasser)

The Palestinians “made a huge mistake” by pressing war crimes charges against Israel at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Baird declared Monday. On Tuesday, he reiterated his opposition to the PA’s move, but was reluctant to discuss which steps, if any, his government would take to in response. “We’ve registered our objection and will continue to advocate for them to take a different course,” he said.

Some pro-Israel activists have called on member states to defund the ICC if it doesn’t reject the Palestinians’ charges, but Baird said it was his government’s call and unfitting for him to speculate on such moves. “We’ll take it one step at a time.”

‘Palestinians should understand the importance of the Jewish state’

Canada is one of the few countries that recognizes Israel as a Jewish state, but Baird steered clear of endorsing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians need to recognize “Jewish” Israel as well before any peace deal could be signed.

Not wanting to interfere in an Israeli election campaign, Baird said he won’t tell the Palestinians what they should be doing. He did say, however, that “the Palestinians should have an understanding of the Israeli position and the importance of the Jewish state.”

The existence of a country that all Jews can call their home was important in the aftermath of World War II, and remains so in 2015, the 45-year-old foreign minister said. “With the anti-Semitism rising in so many parts of the world it’s probably more important today than it was even a few short years ago that there be a Jewish state where people can seek refuge.”

‘We will judge Iran by the action that it takes, not by its words’

On the topic of Iran, Baird sees mostly eye to eye with Netanyahu, saying that Tehran must not acquire the means to produce a nuclear weapon and condemning the regime for supporting terrorism and for human rights violations. However, he did not echo Netanyahu’s position that Iran must not be allowed to retain a single centrifuge in a future nuclear agreement with world powers, and hinted that Tehran could be allowed to keep a limited number.

“There is no right to enrichment; there is no need for enrichment,” he said. “In a perfect world, that’s what a deal would look like. We don’t live in a perfect world. Could you have a save facing few dozen, few hundred [centrifuges]? That’s one thing. Obviously, the higher the number goes the more concern that would cause Canada.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (right) shakes hands with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird (left) in Jerusalem, on January 19, 2015. (photo credit: Kobi Gideon/GPO)

Baird suggested that those hoping for rapprochement between Ottawa and Tehran in the wake of progressing nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the so-called P5+1 powers will probably be disappointed.

“We will judge Iran by the action that it takes, not by its words,” he said, adding that the country’s approach to human rights and its support for terrorism have gotten worse over the last two years.

“Iran could be a stabilizing element in the region — if they gave up their support of terrorism, cleaned up their human rights record and took a different path on the nuclear program. Iran can play a leadership role in the region and the world. But they have to change course.”