Posted tagged ‘Morsi’

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel

April 27, 2017

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel, Investigative Project on Terrorism, Yaakov Lappin, April 27, 2017

In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the ‘grand’ destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.

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Strategically, Hamas remains as committed as ever to its objective of destroying Israel and toppling the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the process. Tactically, however, Hamas exhibits pragmatism and won’t rush into wars with Israel when conditions are ill suited.

Hamas looks at the long run, and remains convinced that it can eradicate Israel, even if it takes decades or centuries. Yet it would prefer to bide its time, and build up its force until the next clash while working to decrease its acute regional isolation. For this to happen, Hamas needs to avoid plunging Gaza into a new war any time soon. Yet it remains far from clear that it will be able to do this.

Should a war erupt in the near future, it likely will be triggered by unplanned dynamics of escalation.

Gaza’s woeful living standards and infrastructure are among those factors. Crises such as the ongoing electricity supply problem plaguing the Strip could facilitate an early conflict, as Hamas may try to distract the population’s frustrations from its failings, and divert them to Israel.

The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to make matters worse by cutting off cash for Gaza’s power plant. It’s part of the ongoing feud between the Fatah-run PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza. Gazans now receive electricity only four to six hours a day due to this feud. In January, Gazans took the unprecedented step of protesting power cuts, making Hamas extremely nervous.

In addition to tensions over the electricity crisis, a Hamas-run terror cell could spark conflict if it carries out a mass casualty attack that spawns Israeli retaliation.

The sheer scope of such plots that Israel thwarts every year is enormous.

Last year, 184 shooting attacks, 16 suicide bombings, and 16 kidnapping plots were foiled, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman testified last month before the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Hamas had “significantly increased” efforts to pull off attacks in the West Bank and in Israel, he said, adding that Israeli security forces arrested more than 1,000 Hamas members in the West Bank last year and broke up 114 cells.

These are risks Hamas is prepared to take, since the day that it ceases all attempts to carry out jihadist terrorism against Israel is the day that it stops being Hamas.

Yet Hamas is also a government now, and it must consider the Gazans it rules. Hamas is keenly aware of Palestinian sentiment. Its leaders grew up in Gaza’s refugee camps and always have their finger on the pulse of Gazan society.

Hamas leaders seem to understand that the public opposes a new damaging war with Israel. They recognize that the Palestinian public cannot stomach a war with Israel every two years. The reconstruction program in Gaza following the 2014 conflict is far from complete. There are still Gazans whose homes haven’t been repaired from the damage inflicted in 2014.

The general population, despite being exposed to Hamas’s daily propaganda diet of jihadist rhetoric, would likely be reluctant to be again be used as human shields by the military wing, barely three years since the end of the last clash.

The price of Hamas’s policy of embedding its rocket launchers and fighters in Gaza’s civilian areas also is not alluring to many Gazans.

On the flip side, one of Hamas’s worst fears is of being perceived as weak. After one of its senior operatives was mysteriously killed recently, it executed three people it accused of collaborating with Israel.

Hamas also responded to Mazen Fuqaha’s murder by sending threatening messages to Israel promising vengeance. Hamas videos suggest it will target senior Israeli security officials for assassination.

Fuqaha was a key figure in the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, and reportedly in charge of setting up multiple terrorist cells in the West Bank. His bullet-ridden body was found last month outside of his Gazan apartment building.

The Israeli defense establishment takes these Hamas threats seriously. Despite the noise, however, Hamas has not rushed to respond just yet – underlining the fact that Hamas is aware of the restraints factors that it is under.

Since the end of the 2014 war with Israel, the Islamist regime has shied away from escalating the security situation with Israel.

Hamas’s leadership sees unfavorable regional conditions. They lack any powerful regional backer following the 2013 downfall of Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president in neighboring Egypt, in whom Hamas staked so many of its hopes.

In the past, Hamas enjoyed many partnerships, enjoying arms support and funding from the Shi’ite axis (Iran and Hizballah) – and forming relationships with Sunni powers.

But the Middle Eastern regional upheaval, which pits Sunnis against Shiites, and Islamists against non-Islamists, forced Hamas to make choices. It could no longer be on the same side of both Shi’ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, who are locked in a transnational proxy war. In the same vein, Hamas cannot be on the same side as both the Assad regime and the Sunni rebels fighting to remove him.

Worst of all from Hamas’s perspective, Morsi’s departure means it cannot rely on its primordial impulse to attach itself to a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-led backer.

Five years ago, there were initial signs of a regional wave of Muslim Brotherhood successes. The Brothers rose to power in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and had Qatari backing. Morsi’s 2013 fall changed Hamas’s fortunes for the worse. The rise of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, a leader who identifies Hamas as a Gazan branch of his domestic arch-enemy, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, guaranteed Hamas’s isolation.

Relations with Cairo remain rocky despite recent Hamas attempts to improve ties. Egypt may open its Rafah border crossing a few days a week, but this does not change its core view of Hamas as a true enemy, to be held at bay, weakened, and deterred.

Hamas has also fallen out with Saudi Arabia. And Hamas and Iran do not get along very well either, despite Iran continuing to be the chief sponsor of the military wing, paying it $50-$60 million a year, according to various estimates.

This leaves Hamas with just two stalwart friends: Qatar and Turkey, neither of which can back them substantially. Turkey is not an Arab state, meaning that its role in the Arab world is limited, and its desire to lead the Arab world will always be met with suspicion. A failure by Turkey to infiltrate the region means that it can only do so much to assist Gaza. Qatar, though wealthy, is politically weak, and geographically distant.

New Hamas leader Yihyeh Sinwar, despite his fundamentalist inclinations, must consider these constraints and see that his Islamist-run enclave has little real backing.

To compound its problems, Hamas also has serious financial issues. It has three main sources of income: Donations from states, donations from private individuals, and Hamas’s network of investments.

Hamas gets far less money than it used to from its donors, according to Israeli assessments. Only Qatar and Turkey donate on a regular basis, while Iran continues to finance the military wing, but not the entire movement.

Hamas is a large organization, with operations in the West Bank, Qatar, and Turkey in addition to Gaza. In the Strip, it needs to pay salaries, and prepare for its next clash with Israel. Hamas also seeks to export terrorism to the West Bank and build up political support among West Bank Palestinians. All of this costs money. It is has offices and headquarters in multiple states overseas that require annual budgets.

Private Gulf State donors are drying up. Wealthy Saudis are more interested in supporting Syrian rebels. Hamas’s cause has moved to the back of the line.

Its investments, meant to be saved for a rainy day, now must be tapped.

So what can Hamas do? First and foremost, it continues its domestic military build-up, mass producing rockets, mortar shells, variants of shoulder-fired missiles, drones, and digging tunnels – all at the expense of the welfare of the 2 million Palestinians it rules.

That’s because Hamas drew many operational lessons from its last conflict with Israel, and is keen on rebuilding its terrorist-guerrilla army without interruptions.

One lesson was to focus on a perceived Israeli vulnerability through short-range strikes. To that end, it is building new rockets that carry 200 kilogram warheads – significantly larger than past rockets made in Gaza.

These projectiles are not accurate, but would cause enormous damage if they slammed into a southern Israeli town or village.

Hamas weapons factories produce simple RPGs as well.

Second, Hamas is trying to becoming more ‘acceptable’ to the region and to the world. It is about to unveil a new charter which will be an attempt to obfuscate its jihadist ideological leanings and ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and present itself as being merely a national “resistance” organization.

In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the ‘grand’ destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.

Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.

Egypt: Muslims bomb St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, murdering dozens

December 11, 2016

Egypt: Muslims bomb St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo, murdering dozens, Jihad Watch

St Mark’s Cathedral is the “seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II.”

Muslim Brotherhood operatives have long hated Pope Tawadros and the Coptic Christians, blaming them for the toppling of the Muslim Brotherhood regime in 2013, and considering them kuffar harbi, infidels at war with Islam whose lives can, because of that war, be lawfully taken.

“The blast took place as a Sunday mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”

The bomb seems to have been timed to maximize the carnage.

st-marks-cathedral-cairo

“St. Mark’s Coptic Orthodox Cathedral in Cairo bombed, killing dozens,” Associated Press, December 11, 2016:

CAIRO – A bombing at Egypt’s main Coptic Christian cathedral killed 25 people and wounded another 35 on Sunday, in one of the deadliest attacks carried out against the religious minority in recent memory.

The attack came two days after a bomb elsewhere in Cairo killed six policemen, an assault claimed by a shadowy group that authorities say is linked to the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. Islamic militants have targeted Christians in the past, including a New Year’s Day bombing at a church in Alexandria in 2011 that killed at least 21 people.

Egypt’s official MENA news agency said an assailant lobbed a bomb into a chapel close to the outer wall of St Mark’s Cathedral, seat of Egypt’s Orthodox Christian church and home to the office of its spiritual leader, Pope Tawadros II. Egyptian state TV gave the casualty toll.

Witnesses said the explosion may have been caused by an explosive device planted inside the chapel. Conflicting accounts are common in the immediate aftermath of attacks.

The blast took place as a Sunday mass being held in the chapel was about to end and coincided with a national holiday in Egypt marking the birth of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. Most of the victims are thought to be women and children.

An Associated Press reporter who arrived at the scene shortly after the blast saw blood-stained pews and shards of glass scattered across the chapel’s floor. Men and women wailed and cried outside….

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for Sunday’s attack.

Egypt has seen a wave of attacks by Islamic militants since the military overthrew President Mohammed Morsi, a freely elected leader who hailed from the Brotherhood, in 2013. Many of Morsi’s supporters blamed Christians for supporting the overthrow, and scores of churches and other Christian-owned properties in southern Egypt were ransacked that year….

El-Sissi against the Arab world

October 31, 2016

El-Sissi against the Arab world, Israel Hayom, Dr. Reuven Berko, October 31, 2016

(How different would the situation be now if Obama, Clinton et al had supported Sisi’s “coup” rather than Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood? — DM)

The attitude of the Arab Gulf states toward Egypt under President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi is a good example of the insanity of considerable parts of the Arab world, whose twisted suicidal reasoning is unclear to many people outside it.

Given the American wipeout in the Middle East, leaders of the Persian Gulf states are very well aware that the only support they can expect against the expected Iranian aggression on the Arabian Peninsula comes from Egyptian military might. Nevertheless, megalomania, hypocrisy, double talk, and in particular a divisive and violent radical Islamist agenda are leading the Arab leaders to saw off the very branch they sit on.

The competition for hegemony, a tangle of conflicting economic and political interests and defensive manipulations, along with drives for expansion and survival, are leading the Gulf states to arm and fund the radical Sunni terrorist movements in Syria and Iraq to check the growth and terrorism of Shiite Iran, whose military provocations and threat to the Sunni Arab Gulf states is increasing.

But in effect they are encouraging Islamic terrorism in Egypt.

Turkey and Qatar have not accepted the loss of former President Mohammed Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood, and have not relinquished their dream of an Islamic empire. The Saudis, because of their money, reject Egypt as the “Arab mother state.” Mistaken U.S. policy confers transient status on el-Sissi’s regime. All of Egypt’s attempts to ingratiate itself with Saudi Arabia — the military guarantees, the delegations, and the gifts of the Tiran and Sanafir islands — failed to do the trick.

There is an Arab proverb that says, “Starve your dog so he will obey you.” While battling Iran, the Gulf states are inciting for el-Sissi to be ousted while supplying stingy amounts of money and fuel just to humiliate him and keep him “alive,” beaten, and needy — a thug who can attack Tehran for them. While the Al Jazeera network presents the Egyptian president as a sex criminal, an agent of Iran, Israel, and America, a corrupt official who sells weapons to the Houthi rebels in Yemen, the Egyptian government is vulnerable to incitement and terrorism from the Muslim Brotherhood and their protectors in the Gulf (Al Jazeera), flooding, monstrous demographics (thanks to the Islamic ban on birth control), inflation, shortages of fuel, sugar, rice and raw materials, as well as the threat of the water level in the Nile River dropping and a hit to its $55 billion tourism industry.

To encourage his suffering, restive, exposed-to-incitement people, el-Sissi told them that he lived for a decade with nothing in the refrigerator other than a bottle of water. In response, the Saudi king mocked him, delayed shipments of fuel and visas to Saudi Arabia for Egyptians and made threats that el-Sissi would fall, like then-President Hosni Mubarak. In response to the intra-Arab scheming, el-Sissi invited the Russians to conduct a joint military exercise and recently voted against the Arabs — and with Iran, Russia and Syria — in the U.N. Security Council on a solution to the Syrian crisis, knowing that the fall of Syrian President Bashar Assad and the success of the Islamists would make him the next target. If the Gulf states don’t change their policy soon, they’ll wind up getting a refrigerator full of explosives from him.

Clinton Backed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Regime

October 13, 2016

Clinton Backed Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood Regime, Washington Free Beacon, Bill Gertz October 13, 2016

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before her departure to Egypt's coastal city of Alexandria in Cairo, Egypt, July 15, 2012. Clinton on Sunday urged Egypt to commit to "a strong, durable democracy" that protects all citizens, hoping to appeal both to supporters of the popularly elected Islamist president and minorities fearful of being repressed under their new government. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before her departure to Egypt’s coastal city of Alexandria in Cairo, Egypt, July 15, 2012. (AP Photo/Brendan Smialowski, Pool)

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2012 called the election of Egypt’s Islamist Muslim Brotherhood leader a “milestone” for Egyptian democracy and offered covert police and security help, according to declassified State Department documents.

A nine-page document, once-labeled “Secret,” listed talking points for Clinton’s meeting with newly-elected Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi on July 14, 2012. The talking points said Morsi’s election was a key step toward popular democracy in the strategic North African state.

“We stand behind Egypt’s transition to democracy,” the heavily-redacted Clinton talking points state, adding that the only way to maintain a strong Egypt is “through a successful transition to democracy.”

The first key objective of the meeting was for Clinton to “offer our congratulations to Morsi and to the Egyptian people for this milestone in Egypt’s transition to democracy.”

Clinton then was meant to offer Morsi American technical expertise and assistance from both the U.S. government and private sector to support his economic and social programs.

Clinton’s talking points also included an offer of secret assistance to help Morsi “upgrade and reorient Egypt’s police force toward serving the needs of a democratic people.” The offer included sending a team of U.S. police and security experts to Egypt as part of a “framework of cooperation” that would be carried out “quite discretely.”

Also, the talking points reveal Clinton was ready to help launch an Egyptian-American Enterprise Fund, a private sector initiative of U.S. and Egyptian investors to help Egyptian businesses. The fund was to be launched with $60 million and would later involve Congress adding $300 million over five years.

The fund was created in September 2012.

Many pro-democracy Egyptians who had taken to the streets as part of the 2011 revolution that ousted long-time U.S. ally Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak viewed U.S. support for Morsi as a betrayal and part of a U.S. strategy of backing the Muslim Brotherhood in the region.

The meeting between Clinton and Morsi took place two months before terrorists in neighboring Libya attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA facility, killing four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stephens.

A second State Department document revealed that Deputy Secretary of State Thomas R. Nides wrote to Morsi on Sept. 24, 2012 seeking collaboration with the Egyptian leader on Syria and Iran.

“It was a honor to meet with you in Cairo,” Nides wrote in the letter. “We share the goal of growing our markets and increasing trade, as well as a desire for a stable, secure and peaceful region. As I said when we met, the United States also remains committed to helping Egypt address regional issues, including Syria and Iran.”

Both documents reveal that the State Department under Clinton had little understanding of the Islamist threat posed by the Muslim Brotherhood and its branches.

Andrew C. McCarthy, former assistant U.S. attorney in New York who prosecuted Islamist terrorism cases, said Clinton backed the Muslim Brotherhood over the Egyptian military, stating it was imperative that power be turned over to the winner of the election.

“The defining mission of the Muslim Brotherhood is the implementation of sharia,” McCarthy said. Sharia is Islamic law that critics say is antidemocratic and contrary to fundamental rights and freedoms

The documents were released under a Freedom of Information Act request seeking information on the Obama administration’s secret 2011 Presidential Study Directive-11, or PSD-11.

The directive, according to officials familiar with its contents, outlined how the administration would seek to support the Muslim Brotherhood around the world despite the Islamist supremacist organization providing the ideological underpinning for jihadist terrorism for both al Qaeda and its successor, the Islamic State.

U.S. backing for Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was derailed by the Egyptian military a year after the meeting. Morsi, the first democratically elected head of state in Egyptian history, was ousted in a coup after he had sought to consolidate power by granting himself unlimited authority in what pro-democracy critics called an Islamist coup.

Egyptian military leaders arrested Morsi on July 3, 2013, after protesters took to the streets to oppose his rule. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi headed a military government and was later elected president.

The Muslim Brotherhood is an international organization founded in 1928 that adopted as its motto “Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our Leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the path of Allah is our highest hope.”

The leaders of the Brotherhood in September 2010 declared jihad, or holy war against the United States and Israel, six months before the Arab Spring uprisings in North Africa and the Middle East.

Clinton’s backing for Arab Spring states was guided by PSD-11 and produced ongoing disasters in the region, namely in Libya and Syria.

U.S. intervention in Libya ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi but left the oil-rich state in turmoil. It is now viewed as a failed state and safe haven for several Islamist terror groups.

Syria’s civil war helped spawn the emergence of the Islamic State in 2014.

In a section on Israel, Clinton’s talking points expressed appreciation to Morsi for assertions that Egypt would continue to abide by international treaties and obligations.

“Maintaining peace with Israel is a fundamental shared interest and critical for Egypt’s ability to address its economic challenges and enjoy international support as it consolidates its democracy,” the talking points stated. “We may not have a common view, but we do have a common interest.”

The CIA also covertly backed the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, according to Egyptian news outlets. In December 2013, the news website Al Bashayer published audio recordings of a CIA delegation that met with Muslim Brotherhood Deputy Khayrat al Shatir and Brotherhood official Isam al Haddad at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on Jan. 8, 2013.

The CIA asked the Muslim Brotherhood leaders to open a back channel to al Qaeda “to secure the safe exit of U.S. troops” from Afghanistan.

Additionally, another news outlet, Al-Marshad al Amni, reported that Maj. Gen. Abd-al-Hamid Khayrat, former deputy chief for Egyptian State Security Investigations said the CIA in January 2013 “asked for the help of the MB in Egypt to facilitate… the withdrawal from Afghanistan.” The Muslim Brotherhood agreed to become a “bridge” between the U.S. government and al Qaeda, Khayrat said.

The reports triggered widespread conspiracy theories in post-Morsi Egypt that the CIA was collaborating with Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to destabilize Egypt.

The Clinton talking points about the transition to democracy were reflected in a briefing given by a State Department official to reporters the day before the 2012 meeting. The covert police assistance was not mentioned.

A day after the meeting, Clinton stated in remarks at the U.S. Consulate in Alexandria, Egypt, that she told Morsi the success of his presidency and Egypt’s success “depends upon building consensus across the Egyptian political spectrum and speaking to the needs and concerns of all Egyptians—all faiths, all communities, men and women alike.”

Retired Army Lt. Col. Joseph Myers, a former DIA official and specialist on terrorism, said the documents show the endorsement and support of the Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt was “a fools errand and shows a disastrous strategic naivety.”

“The whole policy initiative to support a Muslim Brotherhood government anywhere is another example of a total policy failure of Secretary Clinton,” Myers said.

“But it also raises deeper questions of who in our government is advising and influencing such reckless and dangerous policies that show no fundamental comprehension of the threat we face from radical Islamic jihad,” he added. “Or worse these advisers precisely understand what they are doing to U.S. policy and Secretary Clinton could not.”

Trump lacks experience but his detractors lack common sense: Spengler

August 10, 2016

Trump lacks experience but his detractors lack common sense: Spengler, Asia Times

Gen. Hayden was perhaps the most prominent signator of a letter from fifty former national security officials who served in Republican administrations, declaring that Donald Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” required of a president and, if elected, “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

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Last year I arrived early for a lunch address by Gen. Michael Hayden, who ran the National Security Agency and later the Central Intelligence Agency in the George W. Bush administration. Hayden was already there, and glad to chat. The conversation turned to Egypt, and I asked Hayden why the Republican mainstream had embraced the Muslim Brotherhood rather than the military government of President al-Sisi, an American-trained soldier who espoused a reformed Islam that would repudiate terrorism. “We were sorry that [Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohamed] Morsi was overthrown” in July 2013, Hayden explained. “We wanted to see what would happen when the Muslim Brotherhood had to take responsibility for picking up the garbage.”

“General,” I remonstrated, “when Morsi was overthrown, Egypt had three weeks of wheat supplies on hand. The country was on the brink of starvation!”

“I guess that experiment would have been tough on the ordinary Egyptian,” Hayden replied, without a hint of irony. As Tommy Lee Jones said in “Men in Black,” Gen. Hayden has no sense of humor that he’s aware of. He repeated the same point verbatim a few minutes later in his speech: It was a shame that the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt was overthrown, by acclaim of the majority of Egypt’s adult population, which had taken to the streets as the country careened towards ruin. Hayden, like Sen. John McCain, the Weekly Standard, and the majority of the Republican foreign policy establishment, believes that America should try to foster a democratic version of political Islam. It lionized Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood in Washington, nurtured Turkey’s dictator Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and armed “moderate Islamists” in Syria as a supposed democratic alternative to the Assad regime. Hayden’s specialty was signal intelligence, and by all accounts he was good at his job. He is clueless about foreign policy.

Gen. Hayden was perhaps the most prominent signator of a letter from fifty former national security officials who served in Republican administrations, declaring that Donald Trump “lacks the character, values and experience” required of a president and, if elected, “would put at risk our country’s national security and well-being.”

Trump responded, “The names on this letter are the ones the American people should look to for answers on why the world is a mess, and we thank them for coming forward so everyone in the country knows who deserves the blame for making the world such a dangerous place.” That is exactly correct. He might have added that they are incapable of learning from their mistakes and doomed to repeat them if given the opportunity.

trumpclubRepublican U.S. presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks to the Detroit Economic Club at the Cobo Center in Detroit, Michigan August 8, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Thayer TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

The Republican Establishment believed with fervor in the Arab Spring. Weekly Standard founder Bill Kristol went as far as to compare the abortive rebellions fo the American founding. It backed the overthrow and assassination of Libya’s dictator Muamar Qaddafi, which turned a nasty but stable country into a Petri dish for terrorism. It believed that majority rule in Iraq would lead to a stable, pro-American government in that Frankenstein monster of a country patched together with body parts taken from the corpse of the Ottoman empire. Instead, it got a sectarian Shi’ite regime aligned to Iran and a Sunni rebellion stretching from Mesopotamia to the Lebanon led by ISIS and al-Qaeda.

Trump is vulgar, ill-informed and poorly spoken. He has no foreign policy credentials and a disturbing inclination to give credit to Russia’s Vladimir Putin where it isn’t due. But he has one thing that the fifty former officials lack, and that is healthy common sense. That is what propelled him to the Republican nomination. The American people took note that the “experiment” of which Gen. Hayden spoke so admiringly was tough not only on the ordinary Egyptian, but on the ordinary American as well. Americans are willing to fight and die for their country, but revolt against sacrifices on behalf of social experiments devised by a self-appointed elite. That is why the only two candidates in the Republican primaries who made it past the starting gate repudiated the Bush administration’s foreign policy.

Common sense, to be sure, isn’t enough. Trump can’t swap spit with Vladimir Putin and let the witches’ kettle of the Middle East boil along by itself without dire consequences. As Bret Stephens complained Aug. 8 in the Wall Street Journal, some of Trump’s loudest supporters make a motley virtue of their ignorance. “There was a time when the conservative movement was led by the likes of Bill Buckley and Irving Kristol and Bob Bartley, men of ideas who invested the Republican Party with intellectual seriousness,” Stephens wrote. I knew the late Irving Kristol, who trained and promoted most of the cadre who ran the first Reagan Administration, and Robert Bartley, the late editor of the Wall Street Journal — brilliant men from whom I learned a great deal, some of which I had to unlearn afterwards.

But the Republican Establishment today is guided not by the likes of Irving Kristol, but by his epigonoi. His son Bill Kristol has never published a single essay of intellectual significance, and the same is true of Commentary Magazine editor John Podhoretz, son of the estimable Norman Podhoretz. To be a “neo-conservative” in the 1970s in the mold of Irving Kristol and former Commentary editor Norman Podhoretz meant to repudiate the leftist views of one’s youth and make the leap to the Reagan camp. The original neo-conservatives knew how wrong they had been in their youth, and re-learned their politics after forty. Unlike their forbears, today’s neo-cons never have had a self-critical moment. Today’s guardians of the sacred flame of the sacred conservative flame are to the manure born.

The choice, sadly, lies between an unlearned interloper with common sense and an Establishment whose policy response is predictable as the emergence of a gumball from a supermarket machine after a quarter is cranked in. They are mediocre ideologues incapable of learning from past failures, clinging to their careers because they are unsuited for honest work. Trump may not know much but he is capable of learning. That can’t be said for his detractors.

“It isn’t just that the emperor has no clothes,” I wrote in a review of Angelo Codevilla’sbrilliant 2014 book To Make and Keep Peace. “The empire has no tailors.” Three administrations of Bush father and son have produced a monotone Establishment of functional foreign policy morons. One can’t find many prominent national security officials to oppose the signators of the anti-Trump letter because a whole generation of functionaries has been bred from the same stable. America will have to learn foreign policy from scratch. For my money, I’ll take the rough-edged outsider over the recidivist failures.

The opinions expressed in this column are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Asia Times. 

Saudis Kept Two Terror Groups Off U.S. List

June 20, 2016

Saudis Kept Two Terror Groups Off U.S. List, Front Page MagazineMatthew Vadum, June 20, 2016

Hillary and friend

Clinton protégé and campaign vice-chairman Huma Abedin, her parents, and her siblings all have intimate ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim World League has reportedly taken in more than $1.3 billion since 1962 from the Saudi government to promote Wahhabism. The League, warns Andrew C. McCarthy, is the Brotherhood’s “principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”

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The Saudi Arabian government apparently had so much clout with previous U.S. administrations that they refused to designate as terrorist organizations two terror-funding Islamofascist groups linked to Huma Abedin, now the vice-chairman of Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

Abedin is joined at the hip to Hillary. She is to Mrs. Clinton what Valerie Jarrett is to President Obama.

That two deadly terrorist groups avoided proper scrutiny for years is a chilling reminder of how close Mrs. Clinton’s political network is to the brutal Muslim Brotherhood, possibly the Left’s favorite Islamist operation. It also underlines the extent to which Islamist enemies of the United States have infiltrated the American political establishment. And it takes on added importance now that polls show the pathologically dishonest Alinskyite radical who wrote the communitarian manifesto It Takes A Village has a significant lead over presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Sifting through archived media reports, Breitbart’s Lee Stranahan discovered it was known in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks that the International Islamic Relief Organization (IIRO) and its parent entity the Muslim World League (MWL), both of which are directly funded by Saudi authorities, were financial backers of al-Qaeda.

“The Saudis have probably done more to penetrate Al Qaeda than any other foreign intelligence service, but Al Qaeda in turn has penetrated the Saudi regime,” Newsweek reported the month after 9/11.

Although the IIRO, whose website calls the group the International Islamic Relief Organization of Saudi Arabia (IIROSA), and MWL “have been used by bin Laden to finance his operations,” they were “left off the list of groups sanctioned by the United States last week, U.S. officials hinted … in order to avoid embarrassing the Saudi government.”

The League acknowledges on its website that it is “engaged in propagating the religion of Islam” and “elucidating its principles and tenets.” It also engages in strategic lying, known in the Islamic world as taqiyya. The League “is well known for rejecting all acts of violence and promoting dialogue with the people of other cultures,” its website claims, adding that it does “not intend to undermine, dominate or practice hegemony over anyone else.”

It claims on the site that it has “external centers,” “external offices,” and “Islamic centers” in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bangladesh, Belgium, Bosnia Herzegovina, Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Congo, Denmark, Egypt, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Jordan, Malaysia, Mozambique, Netherlands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sudan, Sweden, United Kingdom, and other countries.

IIRO describes itself as “a charity organization emanating from the Muslim World League.”

Its annual report from 2011/2012 indicates that “thousands of mosques have been built with an average of one mosque a day” and that it has “1,222 staff” worldwide. Under its “Holy Qur’an and Da’wa Program” it has “8,044 male and female students memorizing Qur’an and learning Islamic studies in 306 centres and Qur’an circles.” IIRO has “304 Qur’an teachers and supervisors” in “these centres in 29 countries around the world” and sponsors “338 Islamic preachers” in those 29 countries.

Clinton protégé and campaign vice-chairman Huma Abedin, her parents, and her siblings all have intimate ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim World League has reportedly taken in more than $1.3 billion since 1962 from the Saudi government to promote Wahhabism. The League, warns Andrew C. McCarthy, is the Brotherhood’s “principal vehicle for the international propagation of Islamic supremacist ideology.”

Abedin, who is married to disgraced former U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.), has never publicly explained her disturbing connections to the people who killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11 or why, despite those ties, she ought to be trusted with state secrets. And when courageous politicians like former Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) have tried to sound the alarm about who Abedin really is, they have been relentlessly mocked by the media and politicians from both parties. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) famously suffered from an acute outbreak of faux chivalry on the Senate floor when congressional colleagues dared to ask legitimate questions about Abedin’s loyalty to this country.

Few recall that when Bill Clinton was president in 1996, the CIA believed the International Islamic Relief Organization helped to underwrite six terrorist training facilities in Afghanistan. Harper’s reported in 2004 that the former head of IIRO’s office in the Philippines, who happened to be Obama bin Laden’s brother-in-law, “had been linked to plots to ‘target the pope and U.S. airlines.’”

The year 1996 was also eventful for Abedin. That year the young Michigan-born woman returned to the U.S. after years of living with her jihadist parents and soaking up the militant Islamic culture of Saudi Arabia. She promptly began working for then-first lady Hillary as an intern in the White House. At the same time Abedin was a member of the executive board of the George Washington University chapter of the Muslims Students Association, which was created by the MWL in the 1960s. In 1996 Abedin also began working as assistant editor at the Journal of Muslim Minority Affairs, an Islamist publication of the Institute of Muslim Minority Affairs (IMMA).

The Institute was founded in 1979 by the entrepreneurial Islamist Abdullah Omar Naseef who at the time was vice president of the prestigious King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia. Naseef, who became MWL secretary-general in 1983, hired the late Dr. Zyed Abedin, Huma’s father, as managing editor of the Journal, and the Abedins relocated to the repressive Saudi kingdom. Huma’s mother is the publication’s editor-in-chief and her brother and sister also work there as editors.

The Harper’s article from 12 years ago added that the U.S. intelligence community believed MWL employees took part in the bombing of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998. Even though both MWL and IIRO funded al-Qaeda, Newsweek reported in October 2001, the Bush administration “left the two organizations off the list of designated terrorist groups in order to spare the Saudi government from embarrassment.” It’s not clear why the Clinton administration suppressed the truth about the two organizations.

Stranahan is optimistic that despite the frantic lies of the Left, the facts about Hillary and Huma will receive proper attention in the current election cycle.

“Defenders of Clinton and Abedin have attempted to spin concerns about Abedin’s disturbing connections as a crazed right-wing conspiracy theory, but the facts are coming out, and with America focused on the presidential race and terrorism, it is just a matter of time before the truth comes out.”

Meanwhile, even as the nation grieves for the 49 innocent Americans gunned down June 12 by Muslim terrorist Omar Mateen at a gay club in Orlando, Fla., members of the media seem blissfully unaware that for five years Hillary Clinton had a real live jihad-loving terrorist on the payroll at her family foundation.

Gehad el-Haddad, an Islamic terrorist leader who jumped straight from his job at the terrorist-friendly international cash-for-favors clearinghouse known as the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation to a post with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, received a life sentence back home last year for seditious Islamist activities.

The professional propagandist may have learned about forcing Sharia law on Egyptians while he was “city director,” a senior communications post, at the Clintons’ charity from August 2007 to August 2012. (Note: Gehad is the Egyptian version of the Arabic word jihad.) Haddad was the lead English-language spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood and a frequent apologist for the since-ousted President Mohamed Morsi’s violent crackdowns on civil liberties. He put his spin doctoring skills to use downplaying Brotherhood supporters’ attacks on women and children.

Hillary Clinton, of course, headed the U.S. Department of State during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 that ousted longtime U.S. ally and anti-Islamist Hosni Mubarak and cleared the way for Morsi, an Obama ally.

It beggars belief that Clinton didn’t know about Haddad’s employment with the Brotherhood. A mere month after Haddad quit his Clinton Foundation job for full-time employment with the Brotherhood in 2012, Morsi received an invitation to deliver a major address at the Clinton Global Initiative, a high-profile project of the foundation.

These things are all just incredible coincidences, Clinton’s defenders will insist.

The Bipartisan Enemy of the Good

April 5, 2016

The Bipartisan Enemy of the Good, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, April 5, 2016

secretary_kerry_with_president_al-sisi_july_2014

Originally published by the Jerusalem Post.

On March 25, The New York Times published an editorial effectively calling for US President Barack Obama to abandon the US alliance with Egypt.

The Obama White House’s house paper urged the president to “reassess whether an alliance that has long been considered a cornerstone of American national security policy is doing more harm than good.” The editorial concluded that Obama must “start planning for the possibility of a break in the alliance with Egypt.”

The Times’ call was based on an open letter to Obama authored by a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts that call themselves the “Working Group on Egypt.” Citing human rights violations on the part of the government of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the Working Group urged Obama to tie US financial and military assistance to Egypt to the protection of NGOs operating in Egypt.

The self-proclaimed bipartisan band of experts is co-chaired by Robert Kagan from the Brookings Institution and Michele Dunne from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Among its prominent members are Elliott Abrams, Ellen Bork, Reuel Gerecht, Brian Katulis, Neil Hicks and Sarah Margon.

The Working Group has a history.

In January 2011, it called for Obama to force then Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak to resign from office. In so doing, it provided bipartisan cover for Obama’s decision to abandon the US’s most critical and dependable ally in the Arab world. Then, as now, the group’s esteemed experts argued that due to the regime’s infringement of human rights, the US could not in good conscience support it. Back in 2011, Israelis found a rare wall-to-wall unanimity of purpose in vocally and forcefully defending Mubarak from his American detractors. From the far Left to the far Right, from the IDF General Staff to the street, Israelis warned anyone who would listen that if Mubarak were forced out of power, the Muslim Brotherhood would take over and transform Egypt into a jihadist state.

Due in large part to the presence of senior Republican foreign policy hands on the Working Group, by and large Israel’s warnings were ignored in Washington. Facing the unusual Israeli consensus backing Mubarak was an American consensus insisting that “democracy” would ensure that a new liberal democratic Egypt would emerge out the ashes of the Mubarak regime.

The Americans chided us for repeating over and over again that the Muslim Brotherhood, the progenitor of al-Qaida, Hamas, Egyptian Islamic Jihad and every other major Sunni jihadist terrorist group around at the time, was a terrorist group.

We were attacked as “anti-democratic,” for insisting that the Facebook posters and twitterers on Twitter were in no position to replace Mubarak.

Who were we, the Americans scoffed, to point out that the “Facebook revolutionaries” were but a flimsy veneer which barely hid the Islamists from willfully blind Western officials and reporters who refused to admit that liberal values are not universal values – to put it mildly.

In the ensuing five years, every single warning that Israel expressed was borne out in spades.

Just as we said, right after Mubarak was forced from power, the Islamists unceremoniously dispatched with the Facebook crowd. The two million Islamists who converged on Tahrir Square to hear Sheikh Yussuf Qaradawi call for jihad and the Islamic conquest of Israel weren’t interested in democracy.

The women and Christians of Egypt soon realized, Mubarak’s overthrow, which paved the way for the Muslim Brotherhood electoral victories in 2012, did not expand their rights, it endangered their lives. As for the hapless Americans, immediately after Muslim Brotherhood leader Mohammed Morsi was inaugurated to serve as president of Egypt, the government began demanding that the US release from prison Omar Abdel Rahman, the so-called Blind Sheikh who masterminded the 1993 World Trade Center bombings. The US embassy in Cairo was the target of jihadist riots on September 11, 2012.

Then, since Morsi was elected democratically, none of this was any sweat off the back of Washington’s Egypt experts. They supported sending F-16s to his air force even after he hosted then Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Cairo, let Iranian warships traverse the Suez Canal and became a strategic ally of Hamas. They also supported his government, even though he enabled Libyan arms to flow through Egypt to Syria, transforming the war in Syria from a local dispute into the incubator for Islamic State – the precursor of which Morsi also gave a free hand to operate in the Sinai, in conjunction with Hamas.

The Americans didn’t reconsider their belief that Morsi was the guy for them, even after he allowed his Muslim Brothers to torch Coptic churches and massacre Christians. They didn’t revisit their support for the Muslim Brotherhood government even after Morsi arrogated to himself dictatorial powers that even Mubarak never dreamed of.

Perhaps if Morsi had been a responsible economic leader, and maintained the liberalization policies Mubarak enacted during his last five years in power, then defense minister Abdel Fatah Sisi wouldn’t have felt the need to remove him from power. After all, Morsi appointed Sisi to his position.

But in addition to ending even lip service to human rights, Morsi gutted the economy. By the time the military overthrew Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood in the summer of 2013, Egypt had a mere $5 billion in reserves, and according to the World Health Organization, a quarter of Egyptians were starving.

So had the Muslim Brotherhood remained in power, Egypt would not have remained a democracy.

It would have become a jihadist state as dangerous as Iran, with the economic prospects of North Korea.

In other words, five years ago, there was no chance that a post-Mubarak Egypt would become a liberal democracy. There were only two options – a US-allied tyranny that fought jihad and maintained the peace with Israel, or a jihad state, aligned with Iran, that posed an existential threat to Israel, Jordan, the US and the international economy.

Those are still the choices today, but the stakes are even higher. Due to the Muslim Brotherhood’s year in power, the jihadist elements that gathered force in the Sinai over the past 20 years were able to organize as a more or less unified force, under the rule of Islamic State (ISIS), and in strategic alliance with Hamas. Like ISIS in Syria, ISIS in Egypt is an aggressive, dangerous group that stops at nothing to achieve its aims of expanding the ISIS empire.

The war it now fights against the Egyptian state is a total war.

To his credit, Sisi recognizes the nature of the threat and has taken steps to counter jihad that Mubarak never contemplated. The Egyptian leader recognizes that to defeat ISIS nothing less than a reformation of Islam is required. And so, in addition to fighting ISIS with everything he has, he is risking everything by taking on the jihadist belief system.

Sisi has mobilized the clerics at Al-Azhar seminary to develop an Islamic narrative that rejects jihad.

Sisi risks everything because everything is already at risk. If ISIS wins, Egypt is finished.

To win this war, he has publicly embraced Israel as an ally. He has openly sided with Israel against Hamas. Unlike Mubarak, Sisi has been fully willing to acknowledge that just because Hamas’s primary victims are Jews doesn’t mean that it isn’t a terrorist group that has to be destroyed.

Without putting too fine a point on in, for his fearless fight to the death with the forces of jihad – both in the mosque and on the battlefield – Sisi has already entered the pantheon, alongside Winston Churchill, of word historical figures. And yet, rather than embrace him and support him in his fight for Egypt and humanity, the same “experts” who called for Mubarak to be overthrown now urge Obama to abandon Sisi.

It is depressing that there is no magic bullet – like democracy – for the pathologies that afflict the Islamic world. But there is no magic bullet. And there are no easy choices for people who refuse to recognize that the natural state of man is neither liberal nor democratic.

But it is hard to accept the credibility of those who refuse to learn from their mistakes. It is harder still as well to listen to the “moral calls” of those who refuse to accept that because their past advice was heeded, thousands have died, and if their current calls are heeded, millions of lives will be imperiled.