Saturday, February 05, 2011

Syrian Authorities Break Up Protest, Maintain Full Control

Barry Rubin

Why are moderate Arab regimes--even if dictatorships--shaken by protest while hardline ones aren't? Because at the least sign of trouble the radical governments crack down. Knowing that punishment will be harsh and that the West won't be interested few dare to do anything.

And so in Damascus a silent vigil in support of the Egyptian protesters was quickly broken up. One attacker snarled, “[Bashar al] Assad is your president, and if you don’t like it in Syria, you should move to Egypt.” Demonstrators were told they were Israeli agents committing treason.

According to a source, there were 200 demonstrators and 1000 police and security personnel. One Syrian said sadly, "Why are the revolutions taking place in Tunisia and Egypt instead of here?" That question, of course, cannot be answered definitively but aside from repression and belief that the government is strong (young Bashar, not old Husni), there are social factors. The regime has a built-in backing from the Alawites who form much of the ruling class. Though this is a controversial issue, my view is that Alawites are not really Muslims. They would not fair well in an Islamist revolution. The large Christian community looks at the regime as its protector from persecution by Islamists.

The largest segment of the population, Sunni Muslims, have been bought off by the regime's militant demagoguery, hatred of Israel, and support for Sunni Muslim Islamists abroad. In short, whether or not the old Arab nationalist methods work in Egypt, they certainly still work in Syria.

One target of the protest was corruption, for example the fact that communications companies entirely controlled by Rami Makhlouf, President Assad's cousin, charge sky-high prices.

How much attention will the U.S. government give to events in Syria? Might it call for Bashar to resign and threaten to end its "engagement" with Syria if he doesn't leave or grant more rights? Of course not. In fact a U.S. ambassador has just arrived, an action that the Syrian regime sees as a concession, and Syria is generally flattered in the Western media.

Any wonder why America's enemies multiply in number while its friends shrink?

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood: On the Record

Washington Institute

February 4, 2011

"Islam is the solution" -- slogan, Muslim Brotherhood

The following sampling of comments by Muslim Brotherhood leadership in Egypt explains the group's position in the current crisis and its attitudes towards the United States, Israel, and the rest of the Arab world.

On protests in Egypt:
"Our first demand is that Mubarak goes. Only after that can dialogue start with the military establishment on the details of a peaceful transition of power."
-- Mohammed al-Beltagi, former member of Egyptian parliament, member, Muslim Brotherhood, Reuters, February 1, 2011.

On forming a coalition:
"We insist on establishing a coalition among all political powers and civil society, to sit together and lay down an agenda and a method through which we can improve this nation and help it out of this serious deadlock and tyranny that Egypt is currently witnessing."
-- Mohamed Mahdy Akef, chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, November 27, 2008. On Mohamed ElBaradei and the National Association for Change:
"The Muslim Brotherhood is coordinating with Dr. ElBaradei, as well as with the National Association for Change. My personal attitude as an MB member relates to the MB's policies, and if I'm requested in person to participate, I would not hesitate."
-- Ibrahim Munir, secretary general, International Organization of the Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, January 12, 2011.

On Mubarak and succession:
"Even after (Mubarak goes), we refuse to deal with Omar Suleiman."
-- Essam al-Erian, senior leader, Muslim Brotherhood, Reuters, February 1, 2011.

On the mission and nature of the Muslim Brotherhood:
"We will never concede our principals, and we will not concede our project. It is not a hollow project, it is a project based on Islam and history."
-- Mohamed Mahdy Akef, chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, November 27, 2008.

"Concerning the Group's views and stance on the issues of internal reform or any other developments at stake, we quickly evaluate the situation when we observe a certain phenomenon that does not suit our beliefs. You know, Muslim Brothers are reform-oriented. It is our approach and will not change over time. Our stance on the issues of Copts, women, Zionist enemy and all other issues at stake is clear for all."
-- Mohamed Mahdy Akef, chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, October 17, 2009.

On the United States:
"The Soviet Union fell dramatically, but the factors that will lead to the collapse of the U.S. are much more powerful than those that led to the collapse of the Soviet empire -- for a nation that does not champion moral and human values cannot lead humanity, and its wealth will not avail it once Allah has had His say, as happened with [powerful] nations in the past. The U.S. is now experiencing the beginning of its end, and is heading towards its demise..."
-- Muhammad Badi, statement, IkhwanOnline, September 30, 2010.

On President Obama's Cairo speech:
"Unless one agenda and one objective unite the Arabs, I do not expect anything good to come from the West. But as long as the Arabs remain scattered and torn by internal conflicts, do not expect any outcome from this visit. However, this does not mean that I refuse to enter into a dialogue with the other: if I receive an invitation to enter into a dialogue with the U.S., I will accept the invitation."
-- Mohamed Mahdy Akef, chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, October 17, 2009.

On resistance and jihad:
"...Jihad must not be likened to terror. Jihad means making sacrifices in order to restore what has been stolen, defend one's property, expel the occupier, and make Allah's word supreme, while terror is occupying someone else's land..."
-- Muhammad Badi, statement, IkhwanOnline, March 18, 2010.

"We will continue to raise the banner of jihad -- two swords and a Koran -- as long as the Zionists raise their flag, with two blue stripes to represent their so-called state [reaching] from the Nile to the Euphrates. And the [Muslim] brotherhood will continue to view the Jews and Zionists as their first and foremost enemies."
-- Muhammad Badi, Ikhwan Online, April 15, 2010.

On negotiations and agreements with Israel:
"It is your obligation to stop the absurd negotiations, whether direct or indirect, and to support all forms of resistance for the sake of liberating every occupied piece of land in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, and all [other] parts of our Muslim world. The sources of your authority, as all religious scholars have agreed, are the Koran and the Sunna, and not U.N. resolutions or the dictates of the Zionists or Americans. This can be achieved if you declare the Palestine cause and the causes of the [other] occupied Islamic nations your primary concern. You must stand behind your free peoples and their various institutions in their repeated calls for boycotts, an end to normalization, and support for the resistance and its representatives... You must revoke all the agreements of capitulation.... especially the Camp David Accords... which go against the Egyptian constitution and U.N. resolutions, and do not therefore obligate Egyptian senior officials."
-- Muhammad Badi, Friday Sermon, United Jerusalem Foundation, September 2010.

"After President Mubarak steps down and a provisional government is formed, there is a need to dissolve the peace treaty with Israel,"
-- Rashad al-Bayoumi, RiaNovosti, February 3, 2011

On the role of women:
"On our part, we believe that the burden of presidency must not be placed on a woman's shoulders -- any more than supervising and leading the army -- since they contradict her nature and the rest of her social and humanitarian roles."
-- Muslim Brotherhood Party Platform, Al-Masry Al-Youm, Part 1 and Part 2, August 10-11, 2007.

On confronting the "Zionist enemy":
"Resistance is the only solution against the Zio-American arrogance and tyranny, and all we need is for the Arab and Muslim peoples to stand behind it and support it. The peoples know well who is [carrying out] resistance and who has sold out the [Palestinian] cause and bargained over it. We say to our brothers the mujahideen in Gaza: be patient, persist in [your jihad], and know that Allah is with you..."
-- Muhammad Badi, IkhwanOnline, September 30, 2010.

On a Palestinian state:
"I speak out that the Palestinian nation including all factions should have a clear agenda and work for liberating their homeland. The Arab and Muslim Worlds are also involved in this agenda, because Palestine isn't owned by the Palestinians alone, Al Aqsa Mosque isn't owned by the Palestinians alone, Jerusalem isn't owned by the Palestinians alone, but they are deemed holy by all Arabs and Muslims. Brothers in Palestine should first prepare an agenda to liberate their country, and then all sincere people of the Arab and Muslim nation will back them."
-- Mohamed Mahdy Akef, chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, November 27, 2008.

On Arab reconciliation:
"A comprehensive reconciliation requires Arab countries to possess a free will of action that is independent from the American administration that will allow it to break the siege of division, weakness, and paralysis imposed on it."
-- Mohamed Habib, vice chairman, Muslim Brotherhood, IkhwanWeb, February 2, 2009.

Compiled by Washington Institute research assistant Allison LeBlanc and intern Kelli Vanderlee.

"No One Knows"

Arlene Kushner

.how things will turn out in Egypt.

Violence in Tahir Square in Cairo increased overnight, with casualties mounting up. The crowd has insisted it will see Mubarak gone today.

In addition, the Obama administration is in communication with members of the Egyptian regime in order to encourage them to push out Mubarak.

But Mubarak refuses to go. He says that while the Americans talk about bringing in various factions to start the process of reformulating the electoral system to allow for greater participation, they don't understand that his leaving would bring chaos.

"You don't understand the Egyptian culture."


And this leads me to a very pertinent observation. It is absolutely and unequivocally the case that Obama does not understand the culture.

For Muslim Arab culture is very strong on issues of honor. Being shamed, the ultimate horror, is unbearable to someone within that culture.

Yet Obama shamed Mubarak with public denunciations and insistence that he must step down. No matter what other issues are at play now, the president has effectively backed Mubarak into a corner, so that leaving is not an option. It seems to me that pressure would have to be very extreme from within his own regime, or some other factor would have to intervene, before he would consider walking away.


Interestingly, no European leaders have gone as far as Obama has in their demands. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said it would be "gratuitous and arrogant" to call for Mubarak's resignation.

Mubarak might be right that chaos would ensue were he to leave, but this is considerably less certain. There are some who believe civil war would be the result. But others, with clear heads, say that he should leave, and allow the remainder of his regime, with the support of the army, to carry on.


Mubarak is only a figurehead at this point. For all intents and purposes Vice President Omar Suleiman is running the country. He is a tough experienced military man.

It is a bit unsettling, that he has invited the Brotherhood to participate in dialogue (which they decline to do as long as Mubarak is in office). It could be that this is merely a gesture he feels obliged to make at this time.

The point has been made that a large part of what the protestors had demanded has already been acknowledged: That Mubarak will step down in September, and that laws will be adjusted to allow for greater participation in the election.

But rebels in the street claim that this is insufficient. They want a full turnover immediately. There are complaints that for the new electoral rules to be enacted, the parliament has to stay in place -- while they want to see it immediately disbanded.

What those who demand this want is the way of chaos.


It seems obvious to me that the Brotherhood is fomenting this discontent and these demands. Chaos accrues to their benefit.

Genuine democratic reformers (and some minority of the crowd consists of these) would be content to see the progress that has been made, pack up and go home, and watch for more democratic procedures to be put in place.

And so perhaps Mubarak is correct. Were he to step down, the crowd would be told by the radical fomenters that this is a great win, and no time to stop -- they must now push for the complete collapse of the regime.

Ben Hartman, in a piece in the JPost, quotes Egyptian attorney who said, “Egyptian people are like the camel, we are patient, patient, but when we lose control we are very dangerous.”


And yet...very credible analysts are betting on the army.

Hartman, in another article in the JPost today, commented that, "'s great to have history and the media on your side, but it's better to have bullets." His piece on the role of the media is quite thoughtful.

And I'm reading that the IDF, which has daily contact with the Egyptian military, has confidence in its ability to handle matters.


As the events are monitored, it is important to remember that the Brotherhood does not believe it has to assume control all at once, even if that control is its ultimate goal. It is willing to play within the system, appearing to be reasonably moderate by cooperating with others.

Yet, even with its current "moderate" guise, there are Brotherhood leaders who have made statements in the last couple of days voicing opposition to Zionism and the peace treaty with Israel.


Shabbat is coming -- for which I thank Heaven.

Let me end on an upbeat note with this piece by David Suissa (for which I thank Gordon P.):

"...Think of the ridiculous amount of media ink and diplomatic attention that has been poured onto the Israel-Palestinian conflict over the years, while much of the Arab world was suffering and smoldering, and tell me this is not criminal negligence. Do you ever recall seeing a UN resolution or an international conference in support of Middle Eastern Arabs not named Palestinians?

"Of course, now that the Arab volcano has finally erupted, all those chronic Israel bashers have suddenly discovered a new cause: Freedom for the poor oppressed Arabs of the Middle East!

"Imagine if, instead of putting Israel under their critical and hypocritical microscope, the world's Israel bashers had taken Israel's imperfect democratic experiment and said to the Arab world: Why don't you try to emulate the Jews?

"Why don't you give equal rights to your women and gays, just like Israel does?

"Why don't you give your people the same freedom of speech and freedom to vote that Israel does? And offer them the economic opportunities they would get in Israel? Why don't you treat your Jewish and Christian citizens the same way Israel treats its Arab and Christian citizens?

"Why don't you study how Israel has struggled to balance religion with democracy -- a very difficult but not insurmountable task?

"Why don't you teach your people that Jews are not the sons of dogs but a noble, ancient people with a 3,000-year connection to the land of Israel?

"Yes, imagine if Israel bashers had spent a fraction of their energy fighting the lies of Arab dictators and defending the rights of millions of oppressed Arabs. Imagine if President Obama had taken one percent of the time he has harped on Jewish settlements to defend the democratic rights of Egyptian Arabs -- which he is suddenly doing now that the volcano has erupted.

"Maybe it's just easier to beat up on a free and open society like Israel.

"Well, now that the cesspool of human oppression in the Arab world has been opened for all to see, how bad is Israel's democracy looking? Don't you wish the Arab world had a modicum of Israel's civil society? Would you still be worrying about 'stability in the Middle East?'

"...I've never felt more proud of being a supporter of the Jewish state."


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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Report: Hamas Stirring Up Violence in Egypt

Maayana Miskin
A7 News

Hamas is attempting to increase the level of violence in Egyptian demonstrations, according to a report in the Egyptian daily Al-Yawm Al-Sabah that was translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI). According to the report, Hamas terrorists were recently caught on their way to demonstrations.

Nine of the terrorists were nabbed in Suez City, and another two were caught in El-Arish.

Security forces believe the 11 were not alone, the paper said. More terrorists are believed to have infiltrated Sinai recently. There has also been movement in the other direction, as Hamas prisoners escape jail in Egypt while police are busy with the protests. Hamas shares a platform with the Muslim Brotherhood, an Egyptian opposition party that supports the demonstrations against Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. The Gaza-based terrorist group is in fact an offshoot of the Brotherhood, as is the Jordanian branch of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Israel-based Islamic Movement.

More than 300 people are thought to have been killed in riots in Egypt so far. The Muslim Brotherhood's favored candidate for president, former UN inspector Mohammed ElBaradei, recently told Mubarak that he must leave the country by Friday, a demand Mubarak has rejected.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

"Not Out Yet"

Arlene kushner

nd who knows when or if Mubarak (or his regime) will be out, all worries and expectations notwithstanding.

The violent confrontation in Tahir Square in Cairo between those for and against Mubarak increased last night, with several hundred injured and several deaths ensuing.

Army tanks moved in, and while there was no direct intervention -- no shooting at the rioters or the like -- the army then began to act to separate the two groups.

Obama went into a rampage, carrying on about how this was unacceptable and demanding that Mubarak begin transitioning to democratic representation immediately. But what the hell does that mean? It's gibberish. And I have to assume that Obama darn well knows it's nonsense he's spouting; he is employing lingo that sounds high-minded to disguise his demands.

Peaceful, democratic government administrations go through a process of transitioning. When Obama was going to become president, we can assume, for example, that his accountants came in and met with Bush's accountants and learned about certain fiscal procedures in the White House, so they'd be prepared to take over.

But we are hardly looking at a peaceful democratic turnover in administrations here. We're looking at an attempted revolution, guys. Let's be clear on this.


Obama wants Mubarak gone. This much is obvious. Though Mubarak seems disinclined to honor that demand.

Should Mubarak go, there are essentially two scenarios: Either the new vice president, Suleiman, who is part of the same military-connected ruling clique, takes over, in which case there would be no real transitioning -- Mubarak would be way gone, but everything else would remain pretty much the same, or perhaps a shade softer.

Or the whole regime goes. (And we can safely assume this is what Obama is aiming for.) He wants Mubarak to open up the door to the presidential palace on his way out, and say to the street, "Here you are. It's all yours now. Good luck."

In this case, we're not looking at a democratic procedure at all: we're looking at a power play from the street. It would not be a "transitioning," it would be a take-over.

In point of fact, an illegal takeover. This is something no one is mentioning. Among the values inherent in a genuine liberal democracy is respect for law. But I think this is something Obama would prefer not to hear about.

And since it would be a take-over, susceptible to a power grab by one particular part of the populace, there is no guarantee that it would provide the people with real "representation" either.


"We hear your voices!" Obama told the protestors. This seems to me a grandiose populist gesture that he imagines will gain him traction with the Arab street more broadly. He wants to be some sort of hero. But he's falling on his face badly.


George Soros -- the radical-left billionaire, whose connections to Obama have been well documented -- has a piece in the Washington Post today, entitled, "Why Obama has to get Egypt right." (With much thanks to Judith N. for calling my attention to this.)

This is a very important piece. Read it and learn what this man has to say about what Obama "needs" to do in Egypt. Read it, and, I suggest, see a blueprint of what Obama would like to do/is already doing in Egypt.

Soros envisions a situation in which the army of a nation maintains law and order but stays out of politics, so that a repressive leader can be gone and new leaders elected. He's dreaming, of course, because the army doesn't stay out of politics. Ultimately the army becomes a king-maker, by deciding which side to support. But this is what he says the US should insist upon (insist???), so that the revolution can be peaceful. And it falls to the president of the US, upon whom the world looks for guidance, to encourage this process.


This is quite a startling divergence, is it not, from our picture of Obama the internationalist who has repeatedly declared that America has no right to impose on other nations? Are we starting to see the true Obama now?


Soros says that "Egypt is more complex and, ultimately, more influential [than Tunisia], which is why it is so important to get it right."

Then he concedes, quite readily, that, "...the best-organized political opposition that managed to survive in that country's repressive environment is the Muslim Brotherhood. In free elections, the Brotherhood is bound to emerge as a major political force..."

He admits this freely. However -- and please note this carefully -- this bothers him not at all.

He mentions that, "Some have articulated fears of adverse consequences of free elections [in Egypt].." He even enumerates some, such as a fear of increased oil prices. But nowhere does he even acknowledge that some people do fear the implications of the Muslim Brotherhood as a major political power. For him this problem does not exist.

In fact, later in his essay he says, "The Muslim Brotherhood's cooperation with Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel laureate who is seeking to run, for president, is a hopeful sign that it intends to play a construction role in a democratic political system."


This is what Dore Gold, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, says in a new briefing on this issue:

"In the streets of Cairo, Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators disdainfully call people like ElBaradei "donkeys of the revolution" (hamir al-thawra) - to be used and then pushed away - a scenario that sees the Muslim Brotherhood exploit ElBaradei in order to hijack the Egyptian revolution at a later stage."

As for El-Baradei being a Nobel laureate, please do remember that so was that consummate terrorist Yasser Arafat.


But let us return to Soros, who says it would be regrettable if Washington were to resist or hesitate in encouraging change in Egypt because of "the old conventional wisdom."

And here's the kicker: "The main stumbling block is Israel."

Got that, folks? If it weren't for Israel, the US would be better able to side with the Egyptian public's "demand for dignity and democracy."

Rather makes us an enemy of the US, doesn't it?

Soros explains that, "Israel has much to gain from the spread of democracy in the Middle East" -- which is what would be achieved by that Egyptian revolution.

"But Israel is unlikely to recognize what is in its own best interests..."


This, my friends, is nothing short of terrifying.

Of all the postings I've done on the chaos in Egypt, this is the most important. I ask that you share this as broadly as is possible. Open people's eyes, please, wherever and however you can.


As to what's coming down the road, should there be a revolution in Egypt, I share some important comments by people in the know.

Ilan Berman, Vice President of the American Foreign Policy Council in Washington, DC, is an expert on regional security in the Middle East and has consulted for both the CIA and US Department of Defense.

This is what he writes:

"[The Muslim Brotherhood], though formally banned by the Egyptian state, has been a fixture in Egyptian society since its founding in 1928. For much of that time, however, it has been forced to operate on the margins of the national political scene, repressed by the secular state. But over the past two decades...its calls for a reordering of the country along religious lines have found new resonance.

"This is not, however, because the Brotherhood as a whole has gone soft, as some seem to believe. Indeed, the group’s ideology is still best encapsulated by the draft political platform it released publicly in 2007, when it was contemplating a formal political presence in the run-up to national parliamentary elections. That draconian document, with its calls for a reassessment of the country’s diplomatic relations with Israel, a “reevaluation” of the Camp David Accords and all other international conventions, and the imposition of sharia (Islamic law) on all tourists, bears more than a passing resemblance to the constitution of Iran, the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism. (Emphasis added)

"Now...the Brotherhood is seeking its moment in the sun. In a bid for support and political legitimacy, the organization has temporarily toned down its inflammatory religious rhetoric and made common cause with Mohammed ElBaradei...,the former UN official-turned-presidential candidate who has emerged as the country’s most visible pro-democracy leader. (Emphasis added)

"This bid for relevance is based upon a savvy understanding that...Egyptian society as a whole is predisposed to its message. If this is in fact the case, Egypt’s democratic stirrings could end up yielding profoundly illiberal results." (Emphasis added)


Professor Hillel Frisch -- of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies (BESA Center) -- touching on a very key understanding of the situation, says this:

"Clearly, the hearts of most citizens in democratic states sided with the demonstrators during the peaceful demonstrations in Egypt. Many of these demonstrators not only expressed their sincere and moving aspirations for democratic change, enhancement of human freedom and citizen rights, but emphasized as well their desire to do so in peaceful fashion. Our emotions swayed their way even more in the wake of the violent attacks to which they were subjected, presumably by supporters of the incumbent Egyptian regime.

"Sadly, while our hearts are with these demonstrators with democratic aspirations, our minds must not be. Reason must prevail over emotion for its own sake, let alone for the interests of most, if not all, democratic states.

"Why reason and emotion clash in so many revolutionary situations has to do with the simple fact that the liberal and democratic demonstrators became prey to organized violent fanatic groups, ending up with a regime that trampled their rights to a far greater extent than the regime they strove to change." (Emphasis added)


Frisch summarizes that:

"Supporting Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman in the current crisis will prevent a Muslim Brotherhood takeover of Egypt and avoid a bloody and protracted Egyptian civil war marked by foreign intervention. The West should support Suleiman and the military both for strategic reasons and out of concern for those demonstrators with democratic ideals who otherwise are likely to fall prey to a far worse fate than the regime they are attempting to overthrow."

(I regret that I cannot find a URL for this -- BESA Perspective paper #126-- which was sent to me by e-mail and apparently is not yet up on the BESA site.)

And I end with a fascinating piece that was put up on American Thinker (with my thanks to Abbie H.)

This is an e-mail that came from a student in Egypt, Sam Tadros. It's very long, and I will quote only selectively from it, with the suggestion that you read the entire communication.

"...CNN's anointed leader of the Egyptian Revolution must be important to the future of Egypt. Hardly! Outside of Western media hype, El Baradei is nothing. A man that has spent less than 30 days in the past year in Egypt and hardly any time in the past 20 years is a nobody. It is entirely insulting to Egyptians to suggest otherwise. The opposition you wonder? Outside of the Muslim Brotherhood we are discussing groups that can each claim less than 5,000 actual members. With no organization, no ideas, and no leaders they are entirely irrelevant to the discussion. It is the apolitical young generation that has suddenly been transformed that is the real question here.

"Where Egypt will go from here is an enigma. In a sense everything will be the same. The army that has ruled Egypt since 1952 will continue to rule it and the country will still suffer from a huge vacuum of ideas and real political alternatives. On the other hand, it will never be the same again. Once empowered, the Egyptians will not accept the status quo for long.

"On the long run the Egyptian question remains the same. Nothing has changed in that regard. It is quite remarkable for people to be talking about the prospect for a democratic transition at this moment. A population that was convinced just two months ago that sharks in the Red Sea were implanted by the Israeli Intelligence Services is hardly at a stage of creating a liberal democracy in Egypt. But the status quo cannot be maintained. A lack of any meaningful political discourse in the country has to be addressed. Until someone actually starts addressing the real issues and stops the chatterbox of clichés on democracy, things will not get better at all. It will only get worse."


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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Expert: Obama Toppled Mubarak Just Like US Felled Shah

Hillel Fendel
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.

Possibly in the vain hope that the Arab mobs will begin to like America, U.S. President Obama has, in a historic move, “humiliated and betrayed his best ally in the Arab world.” So says Middle East analyst Dr. Guy Bechor of the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya.

Just Like America Did to Iran
Speaking with Arutz-7 on Wednesday, Bechor said, “What America did to Mubarak is akin to what Jimmy Carter did to the Shah of Iran in 1979. In both cases, America dropped its close ally like a hot potato, making way for an Islamic regime to take its place. Obama is actually working alongside Iran in this case, as they both want Mubarak to fall…” Abbas Left Without Support
“By dropping Mubarak,” Bechor continued, “Obama has also ended the PA-Israel process, because [PA chief Mahmoud] Abbas is very weak, and his only support in the Arab world came from Mubarak – and now he’s gone.”
Video: President Obama relates to events in Egypt:

“Mubarak is not planning to abdicate so quickly,” Bechor said, "despite the ultimatum. He is supported by the army and many others in the establishment who have everything to lose if Mubarak goes down. On the other hand, I saw his speech after Obama’s humiliation of him – sending him an emissary and making it absolutely clear that he must step down – and he looked like he was broken.”

Suicidal Move
In response to the obvious question of why Obama is doing this, Bechor said, “I really can’t explain it. It is suicidal. America is toppling its main allies in the region, after it did the same with Iraq and Iran, and this will have grave ramifications for its few remaining allies – Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Morocco. Algeria is also endangered, as is Syria – to which the U.S. has come close of late, and with which the Muslim Brotherhood has a long reckoning.”

Dim Future Foreseen
Bechor does not see a bright future for the region: “What I think will happen in the end is that the Muslim Brotherhood - which I believe has the support of more than half the country, and is viewed as the only realistic alternative – will take control of the country, including its wealth of modern American weapons. Keep in mind that Egypt has tried everything – a republic, a monarchy, Communism, leadership of the Arab world, fighting against the Arab world – everything except for an Islamic government. So I think that there will now be many months of anarchy, terrorist attacks and economic problems, at the end of which the Muslim Brotherhood will come to power and ally itself with Hamas – for they are both the same.”

Get Ready for the Muslim Brotherhood

Published: February 3, 2011

WASHINGTON — In 1985, as a teenager in Kenya, I was an adamant member of the Muslim Brotherhood. Seventeen years later, in 2002, I took part in a political campaign to win votes for the conservative party in the Netherlands.

Those two experiences gave me some insights that I think are relevant to the current crisis in Egypt. They lead me to believe it is highly likely but not inevitable that the Muslim Brotherhood will win the elections to be held in Egypt this coming September.

As a participant in an election campaign, I learned a few basic lessons: • The party must have a political program all members commit to with a vision of how to govern the country until the next election. Dissent within the party is a sure way of losing elections.

• Candidates must articulate not only what they will do for the country but also why the other party’s program will be catastrophic for the nation.

• The party has to be embedded in as many communities as possible, regardless of social class, religion or even political views.

• Candidates must constantly remind potential voters of their party’s successes and the opponent’s failures.

The secular democratic and human-rights groups in Egypt and in the rest of the Arab world show little sign of understanding these facts of political life. The Muslim Brotherhood, on the other hand, gets at least three out of four.

True, they have never been in office. But they have a political program and a vision not only until the next elections, but, in their view, until the Hereafter. And they are very good at reminding Egyptians of why the other party’s policies will be ungodly and therefore catastrophic for Egypt. Above all, they have succeeded in embedding themselves in Egyptian society in ways that could prove crucial.

When I was 15 and considered myself a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement, there were secular political groups in the diasporas of Pakistanis, Yemenis and Somalis, who lived in exile in Nairobi like my family. These loosely organized groups had vague plans for building their countries into peaceful, prosperous nations. These were dreams they never realized.

The Muslim Brotherhood did more than dream. With the help of money from Saudi Arabia and other oil-rich countries, they established cells in my school and functioning institutions in my neighborhood. There were extracurricular activities for all age groups. There were prayer and chant hours, as well as communal Koran readings. We were encouraged to become volunteers, to help the indigent, to spread Allah’s message. They established charities to which we could tithe, which then provided health and educational centers.

The Brotherhood also provided the only functioning banking networks, based on trust. They rescued teenagers from lives of drug addiction and excited them about a purposeful future for justice. Each of us was expected to recruit more people. Most importantly, their message transcended ethnicity, social class and even educational levels.

It is true that the movement was violent, but we tend to underestimate in the West the Brotherhood’s ability to adapt to reality and implement lessons learned. One such adaptation is the ongoing debate within the network on the use of violence. There are two schools of thought within the network, and both of them invoke the Prophet Mohammed.

Those who want instant jihad hark back to the time when the Prophet had small armies that defeated massive ones, as in the battles of Badr and Uhud. The nonviolent branch of the Brotherhood emphasizes the Prophet’s perseverance and patience. They emphasize da’wa (persuasion through preaching and by example) and above all a gradual multi-generational process in coming to power and holding on to it. Above all, they argue for taqiyyah, a strategy to collaborate with your enemies until the time is ripe to defeat them or convert them to Islam.

Why are the secular democratic forces in Egypt so much weaker than the Muslim Brotherhood?

One reason is that they are an amalgam of very diverse elements: There are tribal leaders, free-market liberals, socialists, hard-core Marxists and human rights activists. In other words, they lack common ideological glue comparable to the one that the Brotherhood has. And there is a deep-seated fear that opposition to the Muslim Brotherhood, whose aim is to install Shariah once they come to power, will be seen by the masses as a rejection of Islam.

What the secular groups fail to do is to come up with a message of opposition that says “yes” to Islam, but “no” to Shariah — in other words, a campaign that emphasizes a separation of religion from politics. For Egypt and other Arab nations to escape the tragedy of either tyranny or Shariah, there has to be a third way that separates religion from politics while establishing a representative government, the rule of law, and conditions friendly to trade, investment and employment.

The bravery of the secular groups that have now unified behind Mohamed ElBaradei cannot be doubted. They have taken the world by surprise by mounting a successful protest against a tyrant.

The secular democrats’ next challenge is the Brotherhood. They must waste no time in persuading the Egyptian electorate why a Shariah-based government would be bad for them. Unlike the Iranians in 1979, the Egyptians have before them the example of a people who opted for Shariah — the Iranians — and have lived to regret it.

The 2009 “green movement” in Iran was a not a “no” to a strongman, but a “no” to Shariah. ElBaradei and his supporters must make clear that a Shariah-based regime is repressive at home and aggressive abroad. Moreover, as the masses cry out against unemployment, rising food prices and corruption, Egypt’s secular groups must show that a Shariah-based government would exacerbate these agonies.

The Muslim Brotherhood will insist that a vote for them is a vote for Allah’s law. But the positions of power in government will not be filled by God and his angels. These positions will be filled by men so arrogant as to put themselves in the position of Allah. And as the Iranians of 2009 have learned to their cost, it is harder to vote such men out of office than to vote them in.

The Obama administration can help the secular groups with the resources and the skills necessary to organize, campaign and to establish competing economic and civil institutions so that they can defeat the Muslim Brotherhood at the ballot box.

As I have come to learn over the years, few things in democratic politics are inevitable. But without effective organization, the secular, democratic forces that have swept one tyranny aside could easily succumb to another.

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute and founder of the AHA Foundation, which works to protect the rights of Muslim women. Her books include “Nomad” and “Infidel.”

"Shifting Tides"

Arlene Kushner

It's still not possible to call with any measure of certainty what the end result of the unrest in Egypt will be, but the picture is looking different today.

What we see is that Mubarak and his military had decided at the beginning of the major protests not to be confrontational. It is for this reason that the ruthless and much-hated police were pulled back, and that the army took their place, with a pledge to not shoot at demonstrators. The plan was to let the demonstrations play themselves out peacefully -- the expectation being that at some point the people on the street would tire of yelling and go home.

Thus some 250,000 protestors (not a million) were able to come to Cairo's central Tahir Square yesterday, unimpeded in their gathering and in their vociferous demands. Last night, Mubarak gave his talk on Egyptian state TV. He said he would finish his term, which ends in September, and then step down.

“My priority now is for a peaceful transfer of power to whoever the people choose in the election,” he said, explaining that the law would be changed to allow for a more open competition for the presidency.

“In all sincerity, regardless of the current circumstances, I never intended to be a candidate for another term.” This might be interpreted as a defiant poke at the demands being made, but may well be the truth, as he is a sick old man.

Responding to the demand that he leave the country, he said, "I was born in Egypt, I defended Egypt, and I will die in Egypt."

Obama then communicated that the transition had to start now. Clearly, he would like to see Mubarak step down tomorrow, and would be quite content to see El-Baradei moved into his place. He even says that the Muslim Brotherhood can have a place within the new "democratic government" of Egypt. (More on this below.)

The Foreign Ministry of Egypt has since responded with a statement that transition would not begin until the president's term was completed. The US and the EU were advised not to meddle.

As for El-Baradei, he said that Mubarak had 48 hours to leave the country, and that if he didn't he wouldn't just be a lame duck president, he would be a "dead man walking."


This morning, a couple of new elements were added to the dynamic on the street.

First, the army told the anti-government forces to go home: Speaking on state TV, a military spokesman said, "Your message has arrived, your demands have become known. You can now bring normal life back to Egypt." (Read, we gave you your time without interruption, but enough is enough.)

And then, members of Mubarak's National Democratic Party -- which has a total membership of some three million -- started coming out on the street by the tens of thousands. Protestors had formed a human chain so that the pro-Mubarak people would be unable to get to Tahir Square, but they broke through. There are reports of some people who came in on camels and horses, swinging whips and sticks. As was inevitable, the pro- and anti-Mubarak groups began violently clashing. The pro-government people have torn down protest banners and signs. There is punching, hitting with sticks, and throwing of stones.

Some tear gas has been shot into the crowd, but I expect it will get worse before it gets better.

Egypt protests - AP - Feb 2, 2011


It would be naive to imagine that these two events, described above, were not synchronized. I see these as the warning shots from a beleaguered regime that intends to fight for all it's worth. There have been suggestions (impossible to verify) that some of those "pro-government" people are police in civilian clothing.

As I write, the army is still standing aside and has not intervened. At some point it is likely they will.

There is speculation that this violence might spark a civil war.


Quotes from Barry Rubin's latest piece on Egypt:

"...I would estimate that for everyone on the mass media (experts or journalists) who is saying the Muslim Brotherhood is a radical, pro-terrorist, anti-American group, there are 10 saying the opposite.

"It is rather frustrating to know the Brotherhood's history, see how extremist are its statements (including calls for Jihad against America by its leader), and then be portrayed as some marginal loony for holding that view. One major television network called the Brotherhood an admirable courageous organization fighting for the poor...

" It is one thing for Egypt to have a revolution that might well lead into chaos and a regional disaster; it is quite another to see the US government supporting this event.

"One of the many amazing things left out of the current discussion is the irony of a US government that came to office apologizing for past exercises in American engaged in...bullying action...[Obama] has dismissed a[n]...Egyptian ally after a few days of demonstrations...

"...The White House spokesman on January 31 said the United States would accept the Muslim Brotherhood in [the] government if it rejected violence and recognizes 'democratic goals.' Funny, that was the US government position on Hezbollah (which now rules Lebanon) and Hamas (which now rules the Gaza Strip). How did that work out?

"What does 'violence' mean? They won't need to use violence against the government if they control the government! They will advocate violence against US forces in Iraq, against Israel, and to overthrow the remaining (they seem to be shrinking in number) relatively moderate regimes. Hamas...terrorists will be trained at camps in Egypt. The Egypt-Gaza border will be open and weapons will flow steadily every day.

"Then, of course, it will be too late..."


Elaborating just briefly: While Obama declined to help those in the street protesting against the Iranian regime -- which presumably the US very much wants to take down -- because he said he did not want to interfere in the affairs of another state, with regard to Egypt he was quick to intervene against someone who has been perceived as a long-time ally of the US and a lynchpin of American Middle East policy. So what's going on?

It is unlikely that the US will be trusted again. Most certainly not by the rulers of the other relatively moderate Arab states -- who know now that Obama might turn his back on them, as well. And not by Israel, who is likely to be asked to "trust" him with regard to certain promises on a "peace" deal.


For a thoughtful essay on democracy in Egypt, see Sultan Knish (Daniel Greenfield):

"The chaos in Egypt has brought forth pious praises of democracy. 'So what if the Muslim Brotherhood seizes power,' the pundits ask, 'as long as there are democratic elections.' But what is the virtue of democracy anyway?

"The one fundamental virtue of democracy is that it is the widest possible means of distributing power within a system. And that leads to a system that is only as good and bad as the sum of its voters. It is possible to have a democracy of cannibals, so long as the majority agrees that's the way to go...So long as that is the expressed will of the majority.

"Democracy is a tool. It is a means, not the end. During the Bush Administration, democracy was treated as an end. The embedded assumption was that the average Arab-Muslim wanted the same things we did. A condensed version of the American Dream with jobs and freedom for everyone. And when given a chance at a voting booth, tyranny and terrorism would blow away like smoke, as a liberated electorate would choose leaders who would give them these things...

"The American system makes it very difficult for even democratic elections to undo Constitutional rights. But the Constitution of the Muslim world is the Koran. And it can only be temporarily repressed, not undone. It is always waiting around the corner, promising an answer to everything...The Koran with its narrative of tribalism in the service of Islam defines the Muslim, as much as the 4th of July with its narrative of armed independence against government authority defines the American. In times of turmoil, it is to Mohammed, and the Koran's narrative of him as a religious visionary fighting against a corrupt leadership, that the Muslim turns to. Is it the model that is embedded in his culture and will always be there in his politics.

"The idea is simple enough. Hand over power to the right divinely chosen leader and sit back and watch society get put in proper order and the infidels cower. In societies with widespread illiteracy and deep rooted cynicism about politicians, the Islamists always seem like a good solution. Figuring out what political parties actually stand for is difficult, especially if you can barely read. But all the Islamists have to do is wave a copy of the Koran. Even if the average Egyptian has hardly read the Koran, he is for it. How could he not be for it, it is his religion. Given a choice between a tangle of Arab Socialist parties and the Koran, it's not much of a competition. The Socialists and the Islamists both promise family benefits, and the usual bread and circuses. But the Islamists also promise to restore morality and honor by putting everyone from independent women to Christians to Israel and America in their place. That's how the Koran spells a winning ticket."

© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution

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Israel shocked by Obama's "betrayal" of Mubarak

Douglas Hamilton

JERUSALEM | Mon Jan 31, 2011

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - If Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak is toppled, Israel will lose one of its very few friends in a hostile neighborhood and President Barack Obama will bear a large share of the blame, Israeli pundits said on Monday.

Political commentators expressed shock at how the United States as well as its major European allies appeared to be ready to dump a staunch strategic ally of three decades, simply to conform to the current ideology of political correctness. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has told ministers of the Jewish state to make no comment on the political cliffhanger in Cairo, to avoid inflaming an already explosive situation. But Israel's President Shimon Peres is not a minister.

"We always have had and still have great respect for President Mubarak," he said on Monday. He then switched to the past tense. "I don't say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing which all of us are thankful to him for: he kept the peace in the Middle East."

Newspaper columnists were far more blunt.

One comment by Aviad Pohoryles in the daily Maariv was entitled "A Bullet in the Back from Uncle Sam." It accused Obama and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of pursuing a naive, smug, and insular diplomacy heedless of the risks.

Who is advising them, he asked, "to fuel the mob raging in the streets of Egypt and to demand the head of the person who five minutes ago was the bold ally of the president ... an almost lone voice of sanity in a Middle East?"

"The politically correct diplomacy of American presidents throughout the generations ... is painfully naive."

Obama on Sunday called for an "orderly transition" to democracy in Egypt, stopping short of calling on Mubarak to step down, but signaling that his days may be numbered. [nN30161335]


Netanyahu instructed Israeli ambassadors in a dozen key capitals over the weekend to impress on host governments that Egypt's stability is paramount, official sources said.

"Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications," Haaretz daily quoted one official as saying.

Egypt, Israel's most powerful neighbor, was the first Arab country to make peace with the Jewish state, in 1979. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, who signed the treaty, was assassinated two years later by an Egyptian fanatic.

It took another 13 years before King Hussein of Jordan broke Arab ranks to made a second peace with the Israelis. That treaty was signed by Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, who was assassinated one year later, in 1995, by an Israeli fanatic.
There have been no peace treaties since. Lebanon and Syria are still technically at war with Israel. Conservative Gulf Arab regimes have failed to advance their peace ideas. A hostile Iran has greatly increased its influence in the Middle East conflict.

"The question is, do we think Obama is reliable or not," said an Israeli official, who declined to be named.

"Right now it doesn't look so. That is a question resonating across the region not just in Israel."

Writing in Haaretz, Ari Shavit said Obama had betrayed "a moderate Egyptian president who remained loyal to the United States, promoted stability and encouraged moderation."

To win popular Arab opinion, Obama was risking America's status as a superpower and reliable ally.

"Throughout Asia, Africa and South America, leaders are now looking at what is going on between Washington and Cairo. Everyone grasps the message: "America's word is worthless ... America has lost it."

(Writing by Douglas Hamilton, editing by Diana Abdallah)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Egypt's Revolution: A Simple Guide

Barry Rubin

There’s a lot of confusion about the Egyptian crisis yet it is vital people understand what is at stake.

The first issue is whether only the ruler or the entire regime is going to fall. The mere resignation of President Husni Mubarak from office would not be a huge problem. Vice-President Omar Suleiman or someone else will take over, the regime will make adjustments to build support (and probably repression of the Muslim Brotherhood) and Egypt’s policy—certainly its foreign policy—remains relatively unchanged.

But if the entire regime falls this would lead to a period of anarchy—bad—or a new regime—worse. There are three huge problems:

The moderates’ weakness. There are no well-organized moderate groups with a big base of support. Can any such politicians compete with the highly organized, disciplined Muslim Brotherhood which knows precisely what it wants? Indeed, the much-touted Muhammad ElBardai is a weak and ineffectual man with no political experience whatsoever. Many of the activists who have backed his candidacy are themselves Islamists. Indeed, many of the non-Islamist “moderates” are not so moderate. In sharp contrast to reformers in other Arab countries, many of the Egyptian “democrats” are themselves quite radical, especially in terms of anti-American and anti-Israel thinking.

ElBardai, by the way, is mainly known for being very soft on Iran when he was running the investigation of its nuclear weapons' campaign. As Egypt's leader, if that happens, he would clearly be friendly toward Tehran. How could the United States build any serious coalition against Iran without either Egypt or Turkey?

The public’s radicalism. According to a recent Pew poll, the Egyptian public is extremely radical even in comparison to Jordan or Lebanon. When asked whether they preferred “Islamists” or “modernizers,” the score was 59% to 27% in favor of the Islamists. In addition, 20 percent said they liked al-Qaida; 30 percent, Hizballah; 49 percent, Hamas. And this was at a time that their government daily propagandized against these groups.

How about religious views? Egyptian Muslims said the following: 82 percent want adulterers punished with stoning; 77 percent want robbers to be whipped and have their hands amputated; 84 percent favor the death penalty for any Muslim who changes his religion.

So how is such a radical public going to vote and what policies would they support? The Muslim Brotherhood is likely to be very popular while one would think secular moderates in suits and ties would not be able to compete in elections.

The economy’s fragility. In a country like Saudi Arabia a government can buy off opposition. Not so in Egypt, a place where there are few resources (some oil, Suez Canal) and too many people. So how is a government going to make the public happy? It won’t be able to offer greatly improved living standards, more jobs, and better housing. Instead, demagoguery is likely—as it has so often done before in the Arab world—to be the means of gaining votes and keeping the masses out of the streets.

This means the Islamization to some degree of social life and waves of hatred against Israel and America, the Middle East equivalent of bread (subsidies for food will be increased but how to pay for them?) and circuses. Moderate governments thrive usually when they can offer benefits. This is very unlikely in Egypt.

The Islamists’ strength and extremism. If someone tells you that the Muslim Brotherhood is mild and moderate, don’t believe it. In its speeches and publications, it pours forth vitriol and hatred. Making the Sharia the sole source of legislation for Egypt is one of its most basic demands. The rights of Christians and women (at least those who don’t want to live within radical Islamist rules) are going to decline in a country ruled by the Brotherhood, even as part of the coalition.

As for foreign policy, is the alliance with the United States and the peace treaty with Israel going to survive under such a regime? Maybe but why should that happen? And of course, the regime will support revolutionary Islamists elsewhere. Even ElBardei wants an alliance with Hamas. Such a regime will not be friendly toward the Palestinian Authority or oppose Iranian expansionism (even though it might well hate Iran as Shia Muslims).

And what will the effect be on the rest of the region? Everyone will know—both Israel and moderate Arabs alike—that they cannot depend on the United States. Revolutionary Islamists would be emboldened to subvert Morocco and Tunisia, Jordan and Saudi Arabia. With an Islamist-ruled Lebanon (for all practical purposes, if only unofficially), Gaza Strip, Iran, Turkey, and with Syrian participation, what will happen in the Middle East?

The worst kind of disaster is one that isn’t recognized as such.

Again, this has nothing much to do whether Mubarak himself stays or not and everything to do with whether the Egyptian regime stays or not.

"On the Edge"

Last Friday, a piece of mine on UNRWA went up on FrontPage Magazine. Please, take a look at it here:


As I write, hundreds of thousands of people are congregating in the streets of Cairo, in response to a call for one million to come out for a protest march demanding that Mubarak resign. On the edge, indeed.

A detailed look at these events will wait until my next posting, when the air has cleared a bit. Just briefly here I will touch on a couple of points, and then move to some broader-based analysis.

* The Egyptian army has promised no violence against the people.

* Mubarak seems determined not to accede to the demands of the street and quit now. He has announced that he will deliver a speech tonight; according to Al Arabyia TV, he will say that he will remain in his position until the end of his term, and during that time will work to meet the demands of the protesters. The new prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, also went on TV, to say he would like a chance to make changes in the country to benefit the people: "We will turn all of the citizens' demands into a reality sooner than they expect."

* Obama closely watching the street protests, has been slip-sliding towards that street and is now talking about "a peaceful transition of power." The message was carried to Cairo by professional diplomat Frank Wisner. According to the NYTimes, Mubarak's apparent decision not to run in the next election was made at the urging of Obama. There are reports that the US gov't has also had contact with El-Baradei, via the US Embassy in Cairo.


I've encountered (at least) two serious thinkers who believe that Mubarak will prevail. It now looks a bit more like this might be the case than I would have thought just hours ago.

One of those analysts is Bret Stephens, writing in the Wall Street Journal. He makes some worthwhile points:


The other analyst is Daniel Pipes, director of the Middle East Forum. But while Stephens is writing about Mubarak's situation, Pipes is also looking more broadly at issues such as the cultivation of democracy in the Middle East.


There seems a myopia on the part of many people, especially in the US, when considering the situation in Egypt. Somehow the protests and demands of the crowds in the street are held to be synonymous with "democracy" -- will of the people and all that. Just grant the people free elections, it is assumed, and the process of democracy will be well on its way. (In fact the full quote from the Obama administration was actually: "Peaceful transition of power to democracy.") Except that it's not so. Pipes addresses this, and so does Carolyn Glick, whose very fine article I cite below.

Pipes believes the process of instilling the values of democracy in a populace takes decades, at best, and the error is in believing it can be instituted over-night. Democracy must be founded on certain liberal civic values -- human rights, dignity of the individual, basic freedoms, etc. -- that are lacking within the Arab/Muslim societies where an attempt to foster democracy is being made. Glick is even more cynical on the subject.


The fact of the matter is that to a large degree the populace in that Cairo street is not conversant with those liberal civic values. Even those who are not Islamists tend to be secular leftists: They are anti-American, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic. And they are not adverse to certain sorts of repression, as long as the repression is of their choosing.

Glick writes that:

Indeed, their [the protestors'] character is a bigger problem than the character of the regime they seek to overthrow.

"According to a Pew opinion survey of Egyptians from June 2010, 59 percent said they back Islamists. Only 27% said they back modernizers. Half of Egyptians support Hamas. Thirty percent support Hezbollah and 20% support al Qaida. Moreover, 95% of them would welcome Islamic influence over their politics. When this preference is translated into actual government policy, it is clear that the Islam they support is the al Qaida Salafist version.

"Eighty two percent of Egyptians support executing adulterers by stoning, 77% support whipping and cutting the hands off thieves. 84% support executing any Muslim who changes his religion."


Please also see the article on El-Baradei by Anne Bayefsky of "Eye on the UN":

"In the name of democratic reform, Mohammed ElBaradei is doing his best to appear as the anointed one to succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, should the government fall. In reality, ElBaradei has more in common with Iranian demagogue Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than anything remotely resembling democracy."


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution

see my website

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

"Convoluted and Painful Process"

Arlene Kushner

The issues are anything but simple, and resolution of the situation in Egypt will not happen overnight, or in a week or a month. I do not intend to focus exclusively on this situation. And yet... it is so important, and so fraught with major consequences, that we must continue to keep a very watchful eye.


At present there is a sort of holding pattern, or stalemate. Mubarak is refusing to step down. He has appointed a new cabinet and instructed the new prime minister, Ahmed Shafiq, to "allow wider participation" of political parties, and to address unemployment concerns.

These orders touch upon two key issues. Financial difficulties being endured by the Egyptian people have a great deal to do with what brought tens of thousands into the street. (Anxiety about the subsidization of bread -- a staple in Egypt --because of Egyptian fiscal policies that have brought higher prices may have figured into this.)

Wider participation of political parties is meant to signal the very beginning of governmental reform; what actually happens in this regard remains to be seen.

The "new" cabinet has seen some people replaced, but still consists of many familiar faces.


In the meantime, the protests are still going on in the street, with tanks roaming about and helicopters overhead. Protesters insist they are not stopping until Mubarak leaves.

The expectation in many quarters is that Mubarak will resign shortly and make way for his vice president, Suleiman -- who certainly has the experience and capacity to take control.

Zvi Mazel, who served as ambassador to Egypt, has written:

"The people are no longer clamoring for food and work, they want him gone, and it is doubtful that they will settle for less. Even if Mubarak manages to hold on, it will be as a diminished president..." (Thanks here to Lily S.)

What seems most clearly the case is that if there is to be stable reform in Egypt -- that moves even tentatively in the direction of democracy -- it must be done via a moderating and reformulated version of the current regime, and not via a takeover by the street.

If Mubarak is to finish his term, writes Mazel, "he will have to implement political and economic reforms, including significant salary raises and increased subsidies, though it is not clear where the money will be coming for. The emergency laws which granted him extraordinary powers will have to be scraped, together with the special clauses introduced in the constitution to limit the possibility for an independent to be candidate for the presidency."


There is much talk about who the leaders of the protest movement are and which ideologies they represent. Young people -- educated and often radicalized -- are seriously invested in the rebellion. But what becomes more and more evident is how deeply involved is the Muslim Brotherhood, even though it has not moved to officially assume leadership.

As Shmuel Even, writing for the Institute for National Security Studies, put it:

"The outcome of the riots may not necessarily be connected to what or who ignited them, rather to whatever power structure is created and those who succeed in leveraging it for their own benefit."
The Brotherhood has announced official backing for El-Baradei, who first demanded Mubarak's ouster, and now has the Brotherhood's blessing to negotiate a "unity government."


Down the road, it goes without saying, the Egyptian military, and the leader it supports, will have considerable effect on what happens.


At first, with Israeli consent, the Egyptian army placed troops on its Sinai border with Gaza, to prevent Hamas terrorists from infiltrating.

Consent from Israel is necessary because according to our peace treaty with Egypt the Sinai, a buffer zone, is to remain demilitarized.

Now news has broken of something more significant. Israel reportedly gave permission yesterday for Egypt to station two battalions - about 800 soldiers - in the Sinai. This is the first time Egyptian troops will have been stationed in the Sinai since the Israeli-Egyptian peace treaty 32 years ago. They are to be based in the Sharm el-Sheikh area on Sinai's southern tip, far from Israel.

This is being done to enhance Egyptian government stability, and, I am assuming, to increase its army's ability to respond quickly against Hamas militants in the Sinai.

This is not about to be confirmed on the record. Israeli officials who spoke to YNet about this did so anonymously because of the Netanyahu ban on discussing the situation.,7340,L-4021890,00.html


There was a time when Egypt having troops in the Sinai would have been a source of great turmoil, as it would have been seen as a threat here in Israel. As it is now, the Israel government is demonstrating a readiness to support the Egyptian regime -- the only nation prepared to do so.


For the record, not everyone was pleased with this. MK Uri Ariel (National Union) protested that:

"This government does not have the right to enable Egypt to break even a comma of the peace accords. It's a terrifying precedent for the future.

"Anyone who knows the Middle East knows that forces which improved their positions against Israel won't withdraw easily and it doesn't matter if they're commanded by Mubarak or his successor."


Meanwhile, President Shimon Peres said today (not specifically in response to Ariel's comments) that:

"We always have had and still have a great respect [for Mubarak]. I don't say everything that he did was right, but he did one thing for which all of us are thankful to him: He kept the peace in the Middle East."


Lest there be any misunderstanding about this: The Brotherhood is Islamist. Whatever pseudo-popular or faux-democratic machinations they might rely on in the interim, they are seeking a Muslim state run according to Sharia, the elimination of Israel, and then the ultimate goal -- a world-wide caliphate (employing a "grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization ").

Barry Rubin has provided this quote from a Brotherhood member of Egypt's parliament:

"From my point of view, Bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri and al-Zarqawi [the leaders of al-Qaida who staged the September 11 attacks and massive killings in Iraq] are not terrorists in the sense accepted by some. I support all their activities, since they are a thorn in the side of the Americans and the Zionists...."


With reason, there are analysts who see Iran's hand in what is going on in Egypt.

Turkey has gone Islamist; Syria is in Iran's camp; Hezbollah, an Iranian puppet, is now controlling Lebanon; Hamas, another Iranian surrogate is in Gaza; and Moshe Yaalon, Minister of Strategic Affairs, says there are Hezbollah elements there as well.

For the last hold-out, Egypt, to go this route as well in the course of time would be cataclysmic. This is the case foremost for Israel. But also for the stability of the entire region and the interests of the US. Consider, with everything else, what it would mean if Islamists controlled the Suez Canal.


Barak Ravid, writing in Ha'aretz, says that Israel is calling on the US and a number of European countries to moderate criticism of Mubarak in order to preserve stability in the region. Jerusalem seeks to convince its allies that it is in the West's interest to maintain the stability of the Egyptian regime.

He cites a senior Israeli official, who said:

"The Americans and the Europeans are being pulled along by public opinion and aren't considering their genuine interests. Even if they are critical of Mubarak, they have to make their friends feel that they're not alone. Jordan and Saudi Arabia see the reactions in the West, how everyone is abandoning Mubarak, and this will have very serious implications."


This theme is also reflected in the words of Dore Gold, Director of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:

"Precisely when the Egyptian government had its back to the wall with the worst protests in recent history, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs threatened the embattled President Mubarak with a cut in U.S. foreign aid. What kind of signal did the White House press secretary's threat about cutting aid send to King Abdullah of Jordan or to President Saleh of Yemen, as well as to other allies in the Persian Gulf? Did it mean that as soon as an Arab leader gets into trouble, he starts to get disowned?"


If the leaks by Al-Jazeera last week pretty much sank the already near-moribund peace process, what is going on now may deliver the final blow.

PA leaders, after being embarrassed by leaks ostensibly showing their willingness to compromise, are bound to be more intransigent than ever. And now, facing the instability in Egypt, Netanyahu -- who already has expressed concern for Israeli security in any final agreement -- will be all the more convinced that if regimes surrounding us are not stable it is essential to hold on to strategic territory.

In the course of time, I hope to address some of those who persist in the delusion that "peace" is attainable now.


With this, a ray of light:

Last Thursday, key leaders of the US House sent a letter to President Obama urging that he veto a resolution at the Security Council that would declare Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria, and including eastern Jerusalem, to be illegal.

The letter stated that:

"The passage of this resolution would simply isolate Israel and embolden the Palestinians to focus on further such pyrrhic victories, immeasurably setting back prospects for achieving real peace."

It asked that Obama "pledge in response to this letter to veto any UN Security Council resolution that criticizes Israel regarding final status issues."
The letter was sent by House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), ranking member Howard Berman (D-CA), incoming Middle East subcommittee Chairman Steve Chabot (R-OH) and ranking member Gary Ackerman (D-NY).


© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution

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Hussein Obama is screwing the US and Israel

Ted Belman

While most eyes are on Mubarak, they should be on Obama. By supporting the rioters and even supporting the Muslim Brotherhood, Obama is knifing two long time allies, Egypt and Israel, in the back. He is also underming the US. Who will ever trust the word of the US in the future. America will rightly be seen as an untrustworthy ally. Goodbye South Korea. Goodbye Formosa. Muslim Brotherhood Wants War With Israel, January 31

Mohamed Ghanem, one of the leaders of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, calls Egypt to stop pumping gas to Israel and prepare the Egyptian army for a war with it’s [sic] eastern neighbor.Speaking with Iranian television station Al-Alam, Mohamed Ghanem blamed Israel for supporting Hosni Mubarak’s regime. Ghanem also said that the Egyptian police and army won’t be able to stop the Muslim Brotherhood movement….

Ever since Obama took office he cozied up to Hamas as my article Obama and Hamas makes clear.

Now his is cozying up the the MuslIm Brotherhood and is open to it being in the new Coalition government.

Ken Timmerman writes

Obama Egypt Strategy Could Place US at Risk

[..] Most observers fear that the U.S. efforts to encourage the protest movement will lead to a behind-the-scenes takeover by the Muslim Brotherhood, the long-outlawed Islamist movement responsible for the assassination of Mubarak’s predecessor, Anwar Sadat, and that spawned Ayman al-Zawahri, No. 2 of al-Qaida.

Such a takeover in fact may be Obama’s intention, just as his intention during the post-election protests in Iran was to support the regime in place because he saw it as a potential partner in resolving the Iranian nuclear crisis.

The Obama administration has taken numerous steps over the past two years to convince the Muslim Brotherhood that this White House no longer views them as an enemy.

Two months before Obama’s June 2009 speech in Cairo, where he offered a “new beginning” to Muslims in their relations to the United States, he welcomed two members of the Egyptian group to the White House for quiet political consultations, according to the Egyptian army newspaper, Al Masry al-Ayoum.

He also lifted a ban on travel to the United States on Tariq Ramadan, a prominent Islamist scholar who is the grandson of the founder of the Brotherhood, and went out of his way to invite Muslim Brotherhood members of Egypt’s parliament to attend his Cairo speech.

During the April 2009 White House meeting, the unnamed Muslim Brotherhood leaders reassured Obama that a Muslim Brotherhood government in Egypt would “abide by all agreements Egypt has signed with foreign countries,” according to the Egyptian newspaper account. They also said they favored democracy and would support the U.S.-led war on terror.

But similar statements by Muslim Brotherhood in the past have regularly been parsed to mean the exact opposite of what they appeared to mean on the surface.

For example, the Muslim Brotherhood does not recognize Israel as a country, so their pledge to abide by Egypt’s agreements with “foreign countries” does not apply to Egypt’s peace treaty with Israel.

Similarly, the Muslim Brotherhood does not consider groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah to be terrorist organizations, and calls al-Qaida attacks on U.S. servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan acts of legitimate resistance against a foreign occupier.

Statements in favor of free elections do not transform the Muslim Brotherhood into a democratic group, says a former top Israeli military intelligence analyst, Dr. Mordechai Kadar.

“Democracy is not just about elections,” Kadar told congressional staffers last week in Washington. “It’s also about rights — women’s rights, minority rights, freedom for gays and lesbians.”

Kadar had warnings for the Israeli Embassy: “If the Muslim Brotherhood takes over in Egypt, it means the end of the peace treaty [with Israel], and the life expectancy of the Israeli Embassy in Cairo will be calculated in minutes.”

Obama is more dangerous to America than Carter was.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Democracy Is Not All That Different

Michael Singh
January 28, 2011

In kayaking, you can choose one of two types of stability, but you cannot have both. A flat-bottomed kayak has high "initial stability" -- it appears to ride smoothly in the water, with little rocking back and forth. But it has low "final stability" -- in rough seas, it tends to quickly and catastrophically capsize. An angled-bottom kayak is just the opposite. With low initial stability, it takes more effort to guide and is prone to constant shifts from side to side. But these kayaks are faster and more efficient, and their high final stability means that they remain upright in stormy seas, and can recover even when turned nearly upside down. hings are not so different with democracies and dictatorships. Democracy is messy -- look at the United States, where in the last five years alone we have experienced swings from right to left and back again, and where political discourse can often be raucous. Dictatorships, on the other hand, often possess a superficial stability -- until they reach the tipping point, which often comes more quickly than expected. Such was the case in Tunisia, which seemed an oasis of calm until a small spark quickly grew to consume the longstanding rule of Zine el Abidine Ben Ali.

Dictatorships lack the self-righting mechanisms and institutions which provide democracies with their deep stability. Free expression, free assembly, multiple and accountable political parties, free and fair elections, and independent courts -- all of these form the vital structure of a democracy and provide an outlet for people's grievances. In a dictatorship, people are denied these outlets and anger simmers beneath the surface, occasionally bursting through society's calm veneer in violent fashion.

These two broad categories -- democracies and dictatorships -- are of course an oversimplification. In reality there is a full spectrum of political and civil liberties along which countries fall. Egypt is not Tunisia. But it is perhaps not so far off. Freedom House gave Tunisia its worst score for political rights, and Egypt scored just one point better. In the civil rights category, the countries received the same score. In understanding the contrasting U.S. and international response to unrest in Tunisia and Egypt, perhaps the most relevant difference between the two is not culture or politics, but the strategic importance of each to the United States.

But there is a strong case to be made that Egypt's strategic importance to the U.S. makes it more imperative, not less, that Washington support a peaceful transition to democracy there. It was in Egypt in 2005 that then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice famously stated, "For 60 years, the United States pursued stability at the expense of democracy in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither." While stressing that "successful reform is always homegrown," she called on Egyptian authorities to hold free and fair elections, allow international monitoring of those elections, and allow free expression and assembly for the opposition, among other things. Initially, it seemed hopeful that Egypt was moving in the right direction, as the ruling National Democratic Party lost 73 of its 403 seats (out of a total of 518) in parliament. But eventually, these gains were reversed: as of the latest elections the NDP now holds 420 seats, more than it did before the 2005 gains.

But the question is not whether change will come to Egypt, but when, and what sort of change it will be. Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak will turn 83 this year, and must decide whether to try to extend his 29-year rule in the September 2011 presidential elections or stand down and allow power to pass to another. It remains a mystery whether he has a preferred successor -- though many believe he has privately tapped his son Gamal -- or for that matter whether a hand-picked successor would be able to successfully establish himself in light of the considerable political discontent among Egyptians and the apparent popularity of the Muslim Brotherhood.

For many years, U.S. diplomats have sought to persuade President Mubarak that the surest way to leave a positive legacy and prevent Egypt from falling into the hands of extremists would be to nurture real political pluralism and allow a democratic transition of power. Clearly he was unconvinced, and if unwilling to transfer power magnanimously through political reform is unlikely to step down in the face of popular protests.

That the Obama administration should be reluctant to urge him to do so, and that it prefers orderly democratic transitions to inherently unpredictable street protests, is understandable. Egypt remains an important ally, given its persistence in peace and engagement with Israel, opposition to Iran and terrorism, and broad cooperation with the United States on regional matters. But ensuring that U.S.-Egyptian friendship is deeply rooted and sustainable beyond an Egyptian political transition means that the bilateral relationship cannot rest solely on President Mubarak. If Egyptians do not see the United States as a friend or accept the logic of Egypt's strategic cooperation with the United States, our cultivation of close ties with the Egyptian leadership will eventually backfire.

There may be a way forward, however, which allows the United States to preserve its close cooperation with Egypt while fulfilling the aspirations of the Egyptian people. President Mubarak had asserted that the 2010 parliamentary elections would be "free and fair" and "reflect the will of the voters." This did not happen. But he will have another chance to keep this pledge with the September 2011 presidential elections. The United States should urge President Mubarak to begin work now to ensure that those elections truly are free, fair, and competitive, including by allowing opposition parties to organize and campaign freely and allowing international monitors to observe the elections. It should also publicly press for the other steps required for a peaceful democratic transition in Egypt -- the lifting of the emergency law, the release of political prisoners, and independence for judges, among other things.

It is frequently pointed out that democracy means more than holding elections, and this is correct. Real democratic stability rests upon the full panoply of democratic institutions, such as political parties, civil rights, courts, and more. But you cannot have a democracy without elections. When Tunisian President Ben Ali fled, the United States stated that Tunisians "have the right to choose their leaders." So should Egyptians, and indeed all people everywhere. The choice between democracy and stability is really one between the short-term stability of dictatorships and the long-term stability of democracies. U.S. national security demands that we favor and promote the latter.

Michael Singh is a visiting fellow at The Washington Institute and former senior director for Middle East affairs at the National Security Council.

The Sheep, the Wolf, and the Village’s Idiot

Emmanuel Navon

The ideological divide between idealists and realists stems from two sets of assumptions about human nature and reality. Realists are wary of men’s real intentions, while idealists rely on human goodwill: the state of nature is heaven to Rousseau and hell to Hobbes because the former believes that man is naturally good and socially perverted, while the latter assumes that man is ‘solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.’ Realists and idealists also see reality from two different viewpoints: to the realist, reality is a given to which man needs to submit and adapt his will; to the idealist, reality is man-made and can therefore be subjugated to man’s will. Machiavelli teaches the Prince how to adapt to reality, while Kant implores him to change and adapt it to his ideals.
These two different sets of assumptions – Is man good or bad? Is reality stronger than human will or the other way round? – are at the core of the ideological divide between Right and Left in open societies, and this debate applies to foreign policy.

This debate is ideological precisely because one cannot prove scientifically whether man is intrinsically good or bad, and whether reality is amendable to human will. History, however, provides a useful list of examples that can help make a reasonable guess. So does the gauging of failed and successful policies. In that regard, President Obama has made a remarkable contribution (albeit inadvertently) to an age-old philosophical inquiry.

In his Cairo speech (June 2009), Barack Obama tried to sweet-talk the Muslim world into abandoning its animosity toward America. A year-and-a-half later, it would be an understatement to say that his overtures have been rebuffed. Turkey, once a close ally of the US and Israel, has become Iran’s foremost apologist. Iran continues to defy the United States by pursuing its nuclear program and by progressively overtaking Iraq and Lebanon. The Talibans are as determined as ever in Afghanistan and in Pakistan. Syria keeps deepening its ties with Iran and Hezbollah despite (or because of) America’s gestures (such as resending a US Ambassador to Damascus). And now, the pro-Western and anti-Islamist regime of Ben-Ali has been overthrown in Tunsia, while Hezbollah is about to effectively run Lebanon’s next government.

It would be admittedly unfair to focus on President’s Obama’s failure. For his confidence that Islamists would be tamed with a good speech is hardly different from Woodrow Wilson’s assumption that the League of Nations would keep German militarism in check, or from Jimmy Carter’s belief that Khomeini was a human rights activist.

Wilson, Carter and Obama crashed down to reality because they failed to recognize that some ideologies are based on the need for a sworn enemy. As Professor Emmanuel Sivan explains in his book The Clash within Islam, jihad creates a dichotomy “between Muslim and all external, heretical groups, which are fundamentally evil … Thus coexistence over time is certainly not a plausible political option.” Indeed, no amount of goodwill or elevated rhetoric can appease ideologies that make the eternal struggle against “The Enemy” a divine commend or the founding principle of collective identity.

Naïveté has a price –a price that America has been able to afford thanks to its power and geography. Israel, by contrast, has no strategic tolerance for silliness (though it certainly has a political attraction to it). A popular Israeli joke offers the ultimate answer to the realism vs. idealism debate in foreign policy: Isaiah prophesizes that one day the sheep will lie down peacefully next to the wolf; yet even when the dream comes true it will be safer to be the wolf. Especially, the joke could have added, if the sheep is being watched by the village’s idiot.

Emmanuel Navon
24 January 2011

Press Release: New Book by Emmanuel Navon
Bernard Musicant | Jeudi 13 Janvier 2011

Balfour Books, the publisher of Prof. Benzion Netanyahu’s new book The Founding Fathers of Zionism, just released From Israel with Hope by Emmanuel Navon

"Emmanuel is such a gifted writer, and elegant spokesman for his country, that we feel his book will really open eyes about what's really going on there," said publisher Jim Fletcher.

“A fascinating and informative read” wrote Ken Weinstein, Director of the Hudson Institute.

“Emmanuel Navon is a voice you need to hear” said David Frum, former advisor to President George W. Bush.

Emmanuel Navon has captured “the absurdities that beset Israel and the hope that keeps it going” commented Amotz Asa-El, former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post.

To purchase the book on Amazon, click here:

You can contact Emmanuel Navon for interviews and speaking engagements by email ( Please visit his website at

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Middle East: Where the Ridiculous is Mainstream and Nonsense Kills

Barry Rubin

In the nothing is too ridiculous category, al-Safir, the left-wing, Syrian-backed, pro-Hizballah newspaper, that the New York Times is now using as a reliable source on Lebanese politics, has a scoop. According to the newspaper, an Israeli security agent paid a Palestinian $3000 to put a poison pill in a Palestinian's coffee in order to give him polio. The man's father says his son is paralyzed and vomiting blood:

"If things don't move forwards during the next few hours, I and my family will burn ourselves in front of the Red Cross headquarters in Ramallah in order to alert the world to our cause," Haitham's father said. "When I die, my son will say to everyone that I was a hero martyr."

Oh, they gave the name of the alleged pill. It's Oleptro, a commonly used antidepressant.

Now why is this kind of thing important except for laughs? 1. It has political consequences internationally. The constant demonization of Israel in every aspect of Arab discourse--including sports stories--makes it impossible and seemingly undesirable to make peace with that country. This is no ordinary dispute easily solvable by compromise but a battle between good and evil, deity and devil, that can only be resolved by total victory.

2. It has political consequences at home. If anyone in the Arab world wants to make peace with the well-poisoning (Suha Arafat to Hillary Clinton), Arafat-poisoning (many Palestinian Authority officials), polio-inducing, poison tear gas-using (last week) they are a traitor and should be killed. Of course, Egypt made peace with Israel (Anwar al-Sadat assassinated), Lebanon tried (Bashar Gemayel assassinated), and Jordan did (King Abdallah I assassinated). But the radical nationalists and Islamists are working very hard to reverse the peace agreements in Egypt and Jordan.

3. It is incitement to violence against Israelis and others. Comparing the level of incitement to violence in the Arabic-speaking world to demagogic extremist media shows in the United States (like MSNBC) shows a rather enormous gap. People have died in attacks attributed by the perpetrators to phony atrocity stories.

4. It leads to antisemitism and the delegitimization of Israel thus leading to further violence and making it harder to achieve peace. The world's leading form of hate speech is precisely the hate speech that is ignored in a world that has become absurdly over-sensitive to alleged slurs.

5. By refusing to publicize the volume and nonsense in such daily stories, the Western media prevents Western publics from understanding the four points explained above. In addition, by fully publicizing this kind of thing, editors and journalists would understand how absurd it is for them to publicize uncritically only slightly more credible examples of made-up stories to discredit Israel.

These range from phony massacres in Jenin, to fabricated stories about Israeli soldiers killing Muhammad al-Dura (a boy in the Gaza Strip who can be seen to move on the videotape after supposedly being dead), to globally publicized sensationalism about a woman supposedly dying of tear gas..

In other words, it should be recognized that these are not news story but a systematic propaganda campaign which uses the Western media as suckers. If contemporary media practices had been around during the Middle Ages we would be saying front-page stories about Jews poisoning wells and CNN reports about the latest child being murdered to make matzoh for Passover.

And no the previous sentence is no exaggeration.

6. Publicizing and explaining this phenomenon would also show how Israeli sources, including the Israeli government, is a far more reliable source than al-Jazira or al-Safir or al-Akhbar and the rest.

As I read over this article it amazes me that I have to write something like this. All of these points should be so totally obvious that it wouldn't be necessary. But such is the enlightened, anti-racist, oh-so-sensitive world of 2011 that not to point out these realities is unthinkable.