Friday, April 15, 2011

The Battle That Dare Not Speak Its Name: 48 Hours in the Life of an Anti-Islamist

Phyllis Chesler

The information is in and I don’t like it one bit. On the other hand, if one remains flexible, realistic, and calm and persists in telling the truth, one may also prevail.

I am talking about the hoops one has to jump through in order to be heard on any subject having to do with Islam.

I am not talking about the Danish Mohammed cartoon controversy, the criminal trials of the heroically determined Dutchman, Geert Wilders, or the unexpectedly great Austrian, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff. I am not even talking about Lars Hedegaard of the Danish Free Speech Society, who was put on trial for making “racist” statements about Muslims, or Lars Vilks, the Swedish cartoonist, who has required 24-hour protection. I am not even talking about the high-profile and world-class beauty, Aayan Hirsi Ali, the Somali-Dutch-American feminist anti-Islamist. Nor am I talking about Random House’s 2008 decision to renege on its contract to publish “The Jewel of Medina,” a novel about Mohammed’s wife Aisha—and all because a single professor suggested via e-mail that the book “might lead to violence”—or about the Yale University Press 2009 decision to omit the Danish cartoons from a book they published about the Danish cartoon controversy; they did not even bother to tell the author.

No, I am not talking about any of this. I am only talking about what happened to me personally in the course of one 24-48 hour period.

A deservedly popular network radio program asked to interview me—but then begged me to “work with them” because they are being closely monitored in terms of their “Islamic” content. “Please be sure to say something like ‘Many Muslims are moderate,’ or ‘All Muslims are not jihadists.’” I assured him that I usually say these kinds of things anyway because I believe them—but still, a cold wind blew across my grave.

A distinguished American government publication had previously interviewed me at great length and very respectfully about honor killings. The editors ultimately asked me to participate in a debate about whether coverage of honor killings in the West “stigmatizes” Muslims. I said it did not—that if anyone was “stigmatized” it was Hindus, whose India-based honor killings are covered by the same American mainstream media which will not cover Muslim honor killings in America. Guess what? When they sent me the final version for my approval I saw that they had dropped the word “Muslim” before “honor killings” and had added a sentence that softened what I had to say about such Muslim-on-Muslim crimes. I immediately re-inserted the word “Muslim” and hope that the piece sees the light of day as I wrote it.

I believe it will. I did not raise my voice or lose patience. Calmly but firmly, I re-inserted my own words and once more explained why they were logically necessary.

But I did wonder: To what extent have the Saudis bought up our government media? Or are the same-old-same-old “politically correct” speech code censorship regulations operating behind the scenes without benefit of legislation?

Finally, on the same day, a magazine commissioned me to write a piece about honor killings but the editor asked me to “try to be balanced so that his bosses will approve the piece more easily.” I pointed out that it was an opinion piece, not a news item. I wrote the piece. It is slated to run—but alongside a piece which will oppose my point of view.

The message is clear: Either steer clear of all Muslim subjects or write only positive things about Islam. At the very least, be prepared to have a companion piece which differs from your own, not in the next issue, but right alongside you, speaking over you, as you speak. Be prepared to have to “debate” as the price for being able to present your own arguments.
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Thursday, April 14, 2011

France Is Brave and Right to Ban the Burqa Read more:

Phyllis Chesler

Earlier this week, France put its 2010 law banning the veil into effect, spurring angry demonstrations in both Paris and London. Two women were arrested, not because they were wearing burqas but because they participated in an illegal demonstration. Parisian police arrested 61 people this past weekend for holding an outlawed protest on this issue.

It is important to understand that the French ban is not specific to Islam. The French law is ethnicity -- and religion-neutral and refers only to a generic “face-covering.” In 2004, France became the first European country to legally restrict all religious clothing in public schools: veils, visible Christian crosses, Jewish skullcaps, and hijab (headscarves) were forbidden, not in public, but in public schools.

Read more:
The French police will not forcibly remove any woman’s burqa nor will they arrest such women as long as they identify themselves. The police will fine them. Further, anyone who forces a woman to cover her face can be imprisoned for up to a year and fined about 30,000 euros (or about $43,000.00).

What does this ban mean for the West?

The West believes in freedom of religion, tolerance, multi-cultural diversity and, within limits, a woman’s right to dress as she pleases. (Nudity is not permitted everywhere). These values are precisely what sets the West apart from so many Muslim-majority countries which engage in religious apartheid and which persecute infidel religions. Saudi Arabia bans the practice of Christianity and Judaism outright.

Here are our tricky questions: Do we want the state telling women what to wear and how to worship? What if a woman has been misinformed. Isn’t it still her right to obey misleading information?

Does Islam mandate face-covering—is this a genuine religious requirement—or not? Have all face-veiled women freely chosen to veil—or have they been coerced into doing so to please their families and to avoid being beaten or even honor murdered? This does happen in the West.

Many eloquent and educated Muslim religious women insist that this is their free choice; that to them it does not signify subordination but rather resistance to Western “racism” or alleged “Islamophobia” and to a Western culture which, in their opinion, condemns women to dangerous sexual licentiousness, pornography, and lonely lives. Some say that face-veiling signifies their “devotion to God.”

However, Muslim men, both religious and secular, wear modern, western clothing. Why do Muslim women alone have to bear the burden of representing 7th century Islam--especially since this means sweltering in the summer heat and walking dangerously amidst crowds and traffic?

Many other equally eloquent, equally educated Muslim religious (and secular) women—as well as ex-Muslims--insist that the Koran does not mandate that women cover their faces—only that men and women both dress “modestly.” Leading Islamic scholars agree with them. History reveals that Muslim women successfully fought against wearing both the face-veil and the headscarf for more than one hundred years in countries such as Egypt, Lebanon, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Turkey, Iran, and Pakistan.

In 1994, the Supreme Court of Malaysia prohibited public servants from covering their faces. Their grounds included the fact that doing so is not required by Islamic law.

In 2009, Sheikh Muhammad Sayyid Tantawi, the grand Sheikh of al-Azhar University, Sunni Islam’s highest institution of religious learning, was angered when he toured a high school in Cairo and found a teenage girl wearing a face-veil. He said: “The niqab is a tradition. It has no connection to religion.” He instructed the terrified girl never to wear the niqab again and issued a fatwa (religious edict) against its use in schools.

In 2010, Syria banned full face-veils in certain public places, including universities. In 2010, Iraqi religious authorities issued a fatwa requiring courtroom witnesses to appear unveiled; they said that only the Prophet Muhammad’s wives were obliged to wear face-veils.

And on April 12, 2011, Dr. Taj Hargey, Imam of the Oxford Islamic Congregation, wrote in the Daily Mail: “The decision by the French government to outlaw all forms of public face-masking, including the burka and niqab, is welcomed by all thinking Muslims around the world.”

The face-veil (niqab or burqa) presents both a security and health risk to others. Imagine a doctor or nurse who is veiled in terms of spreading deadly superbugs; imagine the awkwardness of a face-veiled courtroom witness, judge, teacher, or bank manager.

Most important, from my perspective, the burqa is a “prison,” a “coffin,” a “moving sensory deprivation isolation chamber.” I have argued that it is a human rights violation and constitutes both a health hazard (to the wearer) and is a form of torture. Burqa wearers have no peripheral vision and only limited forward vision. Hearing and speech are muffled. Facial expressions remain hidden. Movement is severely constrained. No eye contact can be made.

Burqa-wearers have written memoirs which describe how burqas cause panic attacks, anxiety, fears of suffocation, claustrophobia, depression, low-self-esteem, and vitamin D deficiency diseases from lack of sunlight. In "Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia," Jean Sasson describes how one Saudi woman felt when she wore a veil for the first time:

“When we walked out of the cool souq area into the blazing hot sun, I gasped for breath and sucked furiously through the sheer black fabric. The air tasted stale and dry…I had purchased the sheerest veil available, yet I felt I was seeing life through a thick screen. How could women see through veils made of thicker fabric? The sky was no longer blue, the glow of the sun had dimmed; my heart plunged to my stomach when I realized that from that moment, outside my own home I would not experience life as it really is in all its color…I groped and stumbled along the pitted, cracked sidewalk, fearful of breaking an ankle or leg.”

Women wearing burqas may feel they are defending Islam’s “honor.” In so doing, they are presenting a decidedly unfriendly face of Islam. Why not dress modestly and wear a headscarf?

I understand why many liberals, libertarians, leftists, and Islamists feel strongly about the importance of allowing Muslim women to veil their faces in the West. I wonder how many face-veiled women they have interacted with personally or in an ongoing way? Do they see face-veiling as impeding or accelerating an assimilation process in which religion is, indeed, a private, not a public matter?

France is brave and right to ban the burqa. There is no reason for a modern Western country to honor what is, essentially, a political statement and an ethnic and misogynistic custom. Banning the burqa is not infringing on religious freedom but is, rather, a principled blow against the Talibanesque and barbaric subordination of Muslim women on Western soil.

Phyllis Chesler, Ph.D. is a frequent contributor to Fox News Opinion. She is the author of thirteen books, including "Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman" and "The New Anti-Semitism," and may be reached at her website
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Hillary on the Thawing Arab...Winter???

My Right Word

Here are from the remarks of Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, at the Gala Dinner Celebrating the U.S.-Islamic World Forum Hosted by the Brookings Institution and the State of Qatar, Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium,
Washington, DC, April 12, 2011:- First, her introduction -

Good evening, everyone. And let me thank you, Strobe, for that introduction and for your many years of friendship. It is such a pleasure for me to join you at this first U.S.-Islamic World Forum held in America. His Highness the Amir and the people of Qatar have generously hosted the Forum for years. And as Strobe said, I was honored to be a guest in Doha last year. And now I am delighted to welcome you to Washington. I want to thank Martin Indyk, Ken Pollack and the Saban Center at the Brookings Institution for keeping this event going and growing. And I want to acknowledge all my colleagues in the diplomatic corps who are here tonight, including the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of Qatar, the Foreign Minister of Jordan, and the Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

Over the years, the U.S.-Islamic World Forum has offered the chance to celebrate the diverse achievements of Muslims around the world. From Qatar – which is pioneering innovative energy solutions and preparing to host the World Cup – to countries as varied as Turkey, Senegal, Indonesia, and Malaysia, each offering its own model for prosperity and progress.
This Forum also offers a chance to discuss the equally diverse set of challenges we face together – the need to confront violent extremism, the urgency of achieving a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians, the importance of embracing tolerance and universal human rights in all of our communities.

And I am especially proud that this year the Forum is recognizing the contributions of the millions of American Muslims who do so much to make our country strong. As President Obama said in Cairo, “Islam has always been a part of American history,” and every day Americans Muslims are helping to write our story.

I do not need to tell this distinguished audience that we are meeting at an historic time for one region in particular: the Middle East and North Africa. Today, the long Arab winter has begun to thaw. For the first time in decades, there is a real opportunity for lasting change, a real opportunity for people to have their voices heard and their priorities addressed.

What a metaphor to choose: "Arab winter has begun to thaw" in such a hot region. And then her specific reference to us here -

Now, this raises significant questions for us all:
Will the people and leaders of the Middle East and North Africa pursue a new, more inclusive approach to solving the region’s persistent political, economic, and social challenges? Will they consolidate the progress of recent weeks and address long-denied aspirations for dignity and opportunity?...

...We put partnerships with people, not just governments, at the center of our efforts. The Administration moved quickly to respond to recent events and to affirm the principles that guide our approach...And we start from the understanding that America’s core interests and values have not changed, including our commitment to promote human rights, resolve longstanding conflicts, counter Iran’s threats, and defeat al-Qaida and its extremist allies. This includes renewed pursuit of comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. The status quo between Palestinians and Israelis is no more sustainable than the political systems that have crumbled in recent months. Neither Israel’s future as a Jewish democratic state nor the legitimate aspirations of Palestinians can be secured without a negotiated two-state solution. And while it is a truism that only the parties themselves can make the hard choices necessary for peace, there is no substitute for continued active American leadership. And the President and I are committed to that.

There are so many platitudes in that speech (and more in her additional remarks I did not include) that it is amazing that a college graduate with such a record of political/public service could mouth them.

But one substantive comment:

to compare the character of Arab governments - depsotic, undemocratic and oppressive - with Israel's rule over portions of its historic homeland not under our full political sovereignty is not only incorrect but nasty.

The Next Declaration of Palestinian Statehood

Seth Mandel

On Tuesday, the United Nations published a report by its Middle East coordinator claiming that the Palestinian Authority is prepared to govern a state of its own, and that any challenges it faces would be the fault of the continued Israeli “occupation.”

The report is another step toward the declaration of a Palestinian state with the imprimatur of the United Nations. Just a few months ago the Palestinian leadership of Mahmoud Abbas and Salam Fayyad were threatening unilateral declaration through the UN Security Council, though that would be subject to an almost certain veto by the U.S. This time, the Palestinians are seriously floating a plan to call for a vote on statehood by the full General Assembly this coming September. But as University of San Diego law professor Abraham Bell pointed out, this would not enable the Palestinians to avoid the American veto.

“Member states have to be recommended by the Security Council, and then after the Security Council recommends them, the General Assembly can then vote by two-thirds majority to accept them,” Bell said.

Bell said that if the U.S. vetoes the resolution at the Security Council, the Palestinian Authority would be denied statehood, but that in the General Assembly the Palestinians would likely have the votes for a supermajority. If the Palestinians get only the supermajority vote in the General Assembly, their status would not change one iota under international law. “It doesn’t make something that wasn’t a state into a state. And failure to win the vote, doesn’t make what is a state, not a state.”

But that doesn’t mean the Palestinians would gain nothing from the vote, even if the resulting resolution is nonbinding. The Heritage Foundation’s Brett Schaefer, author of ConUNdrum: The Limits of the United Nations and the Search for Alternatives, said that the Palestinians could still open certain legal doors with such a vote, and would certainly reap some diplomatic benefit from it.

“It’s obviously a political coup for the Palestinians, because what it does is it signals widespread recognition of them as an independent state,” Schaefer said. “It could lead to diplomatic recognition individually among states in increasing numbers. And it does give them more leverage over certain things including, potentially, joining the International Criminal Court, as a participant in that. That’s a double-edged sword. One ramification of that, should it happen, would be that any attacks that Israel launches on Palestinian territory could be subject to the jurisdiction of the ICC. However, the Palestinians themselves would also be subject to that jurisdiction. I think that the Palestinians would want to think long and hard about whether they’d want to subject themselves and the actions of Hamas, who operate in their territory, to that type of jurisdiction.”

Ironically, Bell said it is Hamas in Gaza that possess the legal prerequisites to form a state—not Fatah, which controls the West Bank and runs the PA.

“Hamas in Gaza has the legal ingredients, which are territory, a population, government, and a capacity to carry on foreign relations,” Bell said. “So if they declare themselves to be a state, I think they are a state. They don’t apparently have any interest. And then you have Fatah, which controls some authority in the West Bank, though under Israel, and I don’t think they have the ingredients. Do they have territory? It’s doubtful; they don’t really control exclusively any territory. Do they have a government? Yes, but it’s subordinate to Israel under the agreements. They have a population; they have the capacity to carry on foreign relations. So I think they’re missing ingredients. The General Assembly voting to say that they’re a state doesn’t make them actually one if they’re missing legal ingredients. And they’re the ones who are going to be pressing for this vote.”

Both Bell and Schaefer agreed that the vote would be designed to put diplomatic pressure on Israel. Bell referenced the vote the PLO called for in 1988, which was intended to pressure Israel into unilaterally relinquishing territory that UN member states now recognized as part of “Palestine.”

Amir Mizroch, former executive editor of the Jerusalem Post, believes it would accomplish just that—if the Palestinians invoked UNGA Resolution 377, also known as the “uniting for peace” resolution. It states that the General Assembly may take matters into its own hands if the Security Council fails to uphold its responsibilities to maintain peace. If the Palestinians won a GA vote after invoking 377, Mizroch wrote on his website, it would put Israel in an exceedingly difficult situation diplomatically.
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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

"Please! Stand Up for Israel Now!!"

Arlene Kushner

Dear friends, you've heard me speak often enough about how we must "wait and see." But now we don't have that luxury. Now is a time when the message coming from Israel must be one of strength, and if each of you will act, it is much more likely that it will be.

We are beleaguered. No doubt. The world is on us for several things. But the way to protect Israel is to stand strong for our rights, and to be clear in what those rights are. Appeasement has never worked in the past, and it will not work now.

Yet we have a prime minister who seems to believe that when we are about to be pressured big time, the way to protect us is by offering something that will deflect that pressure. So what happens in effect is that we surrender something, without having gotten anything, because we're too afraid to take the stand that must be taken. We do our enemies' work for them. There are two issues to be addressed here. I will describe each briefly, and then ask that you contact Prime Minister Netanyahu about these two matters in a single communication. I will provide contact information and sample letters for you to draw upon.

Please follow this message through and then act.


1) Haaretz, a far-left Israeli paper, came out with an article today that says:

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is weighing a withdrawal of Israel Defense Forces troops from the West Bank and a series of other measures to block the 'diplomatic tsunami' that may follow international recognition of a Palestinian state within the 1967 borders at the United Nations General Assembly in September."

What is being mentioned is the possibility of withdrawing the IDF from Area B -- the region where the PA has civil control and Israel security control -- and leaving the PA exclusively in charge.

Now this idea is more than stupid. This is suicidal idiocy that takes the breath away. It is absolutely and unequivocally something that cannot be permitted to happen. Since the IDF went back into PA controlled areas in 2002 -- in Operation Defensive Shield, after horrendous terror attacks -- we have had low levels of terrorism in Jewish population areas, because the IDF searches out terrorists. To give the PA full control of the area would be to sentence innocent Jews to death. It would be to bring us back to pre-Defensive Shield.

I have checked this with an impeccable source, who has, in turn, checked with a source in the prime minister's office. There is no official word on this. I am not telling you that this is Netanyahu's decision.

But what I am telling you is that this seems to be a trial balloon. An attempt to see how well it might fly.

Apparently, Netanyahu or someone on the left in his government (Barak? advisor Molcho?) believes it might be better to do this than to allow the General Assembly to declare a Palestinian state within the '67 armistice lines. But a vote of the General Assembly is only a recommendation, it carries no legal weight. And now is the time when the Israeli government should be making our case -- broadcasting loudly the fact that the '67 line was never a border, and that Israel has rights to the land east of that line.


2) After everything, we have entered an uneasy period of quiet with Hamas in Gaza. Nothing official: an informal agreement on our part that we'll stop air strikes if the terrorist groups in Gaza, primarily but not exclusively Hamas, will stop launching rockets and missiles and mortars at Israel.

I have already written about the fact that such a lull works against us, as the terrorists will keep strengthening during that lull: we simply set ourselves up for worse later.

Now Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has come out with this position:

"There was quiet, and Hamas took advantage of the quiet in order to smuggle more and more weapons. We remember when Kassams only had a range of 20 km; today they reach Beersheba and Ashdod and in the end they'll reach Tel Aviv.

"Hamas took advantage of the quiet in order to gain power and turn a gang of terrorists into an organized army...another battalion and another company and they will truly follow Hezbollah's model."


Of course, Lieberman -- who wants to invoke a clause in the coalition agreement making it a government goal to take out Hamas -- is correct.

Even IDF high level officers concur with regard to what's going to happen next: The news yesterday was that the IDF expects a large confrontation with Hamas soon. Said one senior officer:

"Hamas has been busy rebuilding its forces for the past two years, and this can only mean we're facing an all-out clash."

According to Asharq Al-Awsat, cited by IMRA yesterday, what Islamic Jihad agreed to was a "lull" not "calm," which pretty much says it all. What is more, there is still a feud over the issue of our right to take out "smoking guns": if we stop someone who is actively planning or on the way to executing a terror attack, they would claim that we are the ones have broken the lull or quiet, or whatever it is.

Great! So we'll let them bide their time, and hit us at the time of their choosing?


Tzachi Hanegbi, former chair of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee, has written an important piece in the JPost. He suggests we need "Defensive Shield II" instead of "Cast Lead II."

We learned during Cast Lead in 2008/9, he says, that "in the absence of widespread and sustained damage to weapons smuggling operations, and to the capacity of the local Gaza arms industry to continue to independently produce weapons, the practical effect of such an operation dissipates in a relatively short time."

And so, Hanegbi suggests that instead of a short-term massive operation, we do "a broad operation aimed at completely destroying the terror kingdom established by Syria and Iran on our southern border."


Please contact Prime Minister Netanyahu with regard to these issues. Keep it short, simple and to the point. Remain cool and polite. This is essential.

Communication to Prime Minister Netanyahu goes to:

Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369) This is most effective.

E-mail: and also (underscore after pm) use both addresses


Please use your own words -- it is SO much more effective. But here are a couple of model letters to draw upon:

Dear Prime Minister,

I look to you as the head of the government of Israel to take a strong stand on Israel's behalf at this time when Israel is greatly threatened. Appeasement will only harm Israel. Please! do not do the work of Israel's enemies for them by conceding what should not be conceded. Instead, stand for Israel's rights and make the case for those rights forcefully within international forums.

There are news reports indicating that you are considering a pull back of the IDF in parts of Judea and Samaria as a way to counteract the plans of the PA to go to the UN General Assembly. Please! Do not consider this even for a second, for this would constitute a death sentence for innocent Israeli citizens.

Additionally, Israel has come to some terms with Hamas in order to achieve a measure of quiet in the south. This is not in Israel's interest either. You are permitting Israel's enemy to continue to strengthen and then to choose the time for attacking Israel again. It is past due: Israel must work out a plan for taking down Hamas at last.

Please know that millions of people who love Israel are with you as you face your enemies, and praying for you to be strong.

Most respectfully,


Dear Prime Minister Netanyahu,

A great deal rests on how you handle yourself during Israel's current struggles. I call on you to be a leader of strength. Please do not make concessions that should not be made -- they will weaken Israel without achieving anything. Instead, have the courage to speak out for Israel's rights with full vigor.

I was horrified to learn that you may be thinking of pulling the IDF out of certain areas of Judea and Samaria to counter PA plans in the UN. Surely you know how seriously you will put the Israeli people at risk if you do such a thing. It is an idea that is beyond terrible.

I ask, as well, that you find the courage to deal with Hamas forthrightly. Periods of "quiet" -- during which they can continue to strengthen -- is not what Israel should be aiming for. This too is self-destructive. Foreign Minister Lieberman is correct: it is time to make the elimination of Hamas a strategic goal for Israel.

History is watching you now. I pray for you to have strength and wisdom as you proceed.

Most respectfully,


OK, now STOP. Please! Write your communication to PM Netanyahu NOW. If you table this task for later, you may well forget.

Then I ask you to immediately forward this to every person you can think of who might also respond to this. Post this on blogs and sympathetic genuinely pro-Israel discussion groups.

Do not imagine that what you do is worthless here. Numbers DO count and we need to deluge the prime minister with messages.


© 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.

Why No One Wants to Admit that a War is On?

Steven Shamrak

Hamas has started another aggressive war against Israel. In accordance with international law, Israel, as any sovereign country, has the right to repel this aggression and end the occupation of Jewish land by removing enemies from Gaza. Why is Israel still behaving as a "Ghetto Jew"?

On Friday April 8 more than 60 Hamas and Jihad Islamic mortar shells and missiles hit Israeli towns, villages and farms on the Israeli side of the Gaza border and injured a civilian. This heightened Israeli fury over Hamas's attack on a school bus on Thursday, April 7, for the first time using a sophisticated Cornet anti-tank missile. A 16-year old boy was critically wounded. This attack was followed by 50 rockets and mortar rounds fired from Gaza by Hamas. Hamas is trying to establish new rules for the conflict on advice and directives coming from its Lebanese ally, Hezbollah, by stepping up its barrage on Israel by 25 percent. Hamas was advised by Hezbollah to blitz Israel into relinquishing the 500-meter deep security strip the IDF had established inside the Gaza border. This occurred when Palestinians continued to fire on Israel after the strip was temporarily reduced by the 2009 Cast Lead operation.

The IDF is fighting to hold onto this buffer zone to keep back Palestinian terrorists from breaching the border to direct attacks in Israel . Hamas is threatening to raise the cross-border violence until Israeli troops pull back to the border. Its anti-tank missile attack on the school bus on Thursday was the opening shot of its battle for the buffer zone.

The IDF's tactics for countering Hamas aggression remain unchanged, except in scale. In the last 48 hours, Israeli helicopters, mortars, tanks and naval units have been pounding the Gaza Strip while Hamas releases barrages of dozens of missile and mortar attacks on villages and towns - practically without a pause. Israeli civilians were told to stay close to bomb shelters in the days to come. Schools, road traffic, public transport and businesses will function intermittently.

Since the Israeli government has not adjusted its policies to the new developments, its military tactics are operating a vacuum and will have little deterrent effect. The current upsurge of Hamas-Jihad aggression will therefore go on.

Hamas fires 24 Grads, 50 shells on Saturday.

A million Israelis in shelters!

Food for Thought. by Steven Shamrak

There are many genuine people (nations) around the world, who are still suffering from occupation by others: Kurds, Armenians, Tibetans, Chechens, Western Saharans, and Basques. So-called Palestinians, a recently forged mix of people, are not one of them! In fact, they are actually the occupiers of Jewish land!

Cycle of Terror Attacks and Ceasefires Must End

In response to Thursday's terror escalation, a school bus was hit during a barrage of mortar shells and rockets , IDF strikes back hitting smuggling tunnels and terror cells in Gaza. No casualties were reported. Terror groups announce a ceasefire. (IDF is deliberately bombing tunnels, but avoiding killing terrorists. This stupid game has to end and Gaza must be free from occupation and reunited with Eretz-Israel.)

World Press 'Conspiracy'

The British media is failing to report the attacks on Israel and only reporting Israeli responses, thus creating the entirely false impression that Israel is the aggressor, thus, in turn, creating the kind of hatred of Israel in the world. By ignoring attacks on Israel the West is rewarding and encouraging Arab aggression.

Death Sentence for Peace Lovers

A well-known Arab Israeli actor, Juliano Mer Khamis, has died after being shot on Monday (04Apr11) by masked men in an attack in Jenin, Judea. He was a peace activist who ran a drama project in the theatre he founded in Jenin. (Arabs do not want peace with Israel . They do not want even to hear the ideas that would lead to peace!)

There is still Hope for Israel's Future

A poll conducted by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung organisation shows that 70% of Israeli Jewish youth ages 15-18 believe that if forced to choose between national security needs and the values of democracy, a country's security needs comes first. 60% said that strong Israeli leaders are more important than other considerations.

Unilateral Palestinian State Game

Israel is continuously threatened with a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state. Dr. Dore Gold reminds: "Since the 70s, the US is committed to veto any unilateral moves." (Considering the current and historical record of the US 'commitments' to Israel and other friends, can Israel rely on the US at this time of unpredictability of its ME policies or of having no policy at all? There are no demands for recognition of independece of Tibet, Chechnya or Basque people. Is it because they are collonised by China, Russia, France and Spain?)

Israel and Hamas in a dangerous game

Victor Kotsev

TEL AVIV - A second Gaza war in just over two years is, strictly speaking, not imminent; at least not until Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu returns to the country on Friday, following a trip to Germany and the Czech Republic. While neither side seems to want a full-scale collision (or so they say), violence is steadily rising, and the time between successive escalations is shrinking A public relations campaign is in full swing, and both sides are positioning for a vantage point in any blame game that would undoubtedly accompany a war. Israel's northern front is tense as well, and as the Jewish state faces unprecedented challenges following the Arab revolts practically everywhere around it, its leaders have to make fateful choices about the use of force.

On Thursday, an advanced anti-tank missile fired from the Gaza Strip destroyed an Israeli school bus, critically wounding a 16-year old boy and moderately injuring the driver. A greater tragedy was avoided only by chance, since the driver had already dropped off the rest of the passengers and the driver and boy were the only people left in the bus. Only a few minutes earlier, one report has it, a large group of children had disembarked at a nearby community.

Israel responded with over a dozen air and artillery strikes in Gaza that killed at least five people and wounded more than 40. One of the dead was reportedly a civilian in his fifties, while the other four were Hamas militants, including a commander. The injured included an unknown number of civilians. At the same time, militants in the Strip fired around 45 mortars and short-range missiles into Israel, one of which reportedly struck a house; no casualties were reported. In a twist, another missile was intercepted before it could hit the Israeli city of Ashkelon by the domestically-developed Iron Dome short-range missile defense system. This marked the first battle test of the new system, as well as, according to analysts, the first interception of a short-range rocket in "world history."

At 11 pm local time on Thursday, Hamas, whose armed wing claimed responsibility for the school bus attack, declared a unilateral ceasefire, but the Israeli air force continued to bomb smuggling tunnels and other targets throughout the night. Israeli experts estimated that the missile was fired from a distance of four to five kilometers, and that the militants who launched it aimed at a school bus with the full intention to commit a massacre and provoke the Jewish State. A senior defense official, quoted by the Israeli daily Ha'aretz, claimed that Hamas aimed to establish a "balance of terror".

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement that Israeli responses would continue "in order to make clear that things like this cannot continue". Netanyahu also vowed to take "all necessary action" as soon as he returns on Friday.

The violence comes in the wake of numerous other escalations in recent days and weeks. I outlined some of what now serves as context to the current round in two articles titled Jerusalem bomb seeds gathering conflict (Asia Times Online, March 24, 2011) and Fighting drowns out talking (Asia Times Online, March 23, 2011). It is a convoluted tale of several major terror attacks, including one in Jerusalem that broke a period of several years of relative calm; the interception of a ship carrying Iranian weapons, most likely for Gaza; rocket and mortar attacks from the Strip; Israeli retaliatory and pre-emptive strikes that killed dozens, including civilians; the abduction of a Gaza engineer in Ukraine; reconciliation talks between rival Palestinian factions, Fatah and Hamas; and increasing international pressure on Israel related to the Palestinian bid to achieve statehood some time this year.

The more recent developments are hardly any less diverse or difficult to interpret. On Tuesday, the Sudanese authorities accused Israel of conducting a mysterious air strike on a car in Sudan killed two people. According to most versions that have emerged so far, the dead were important arms smugglers, but there are conflicting reports of their identity and nationality. Some sources have it that both were Sudanese, perhaps working for Hamas, others claim that one was an "Arab national"; there is even speculation that one was Iranian.

According to a report in the Palestinian news agency Ma'an, "Palestinian security officials said that the target [Abdul-Latif Ashkar] in what has been alleged to be an Israeli strike on Sudan was the successor to assassinated Hamas official Mahmoud Mabhouh." Mabhouh was killed in Dubai last year in mysterious circumstances, and the Israeli Mossad is widely believed to be behind his assassination. He was allegedly a key figure in the Hamas arms smuggling network.

The Israeli intelligence analysis website Debka File, known for occasionally spreading wild rumors as well as legitimate intelligence leaks, speculates that the strike was a response to a plot to ship thousands of artillery shells containing mustard and nerve gas, obtained from the Libyan rebels, to Hamas and Hezbollah.

In the absence of similar reports, this information must be taken with a grain of salt, but it is indeed possible that the Libyan conflict is somehow related to this development. High-ranking American officials have also mentioned the presence of Hezbollah and other Islamic militants among the Libyan rebels. Many weapons from Libyan stockpiles are unaccounted for, and diverse groups including elements of al-Qaeda are vying to get hold of them.

Meanwhile, on Monday Israel indicted a Gaza engineer, Dirar Abu-Sisi, whom it reportedly abducted in Ukraine in February, accusing him of being a key figure in Hamas’s home-grown missile industry (“the father of missiles”). The indictment, much of which is classified, mentions that Abu-Sisi received his PhD from a Ukrainian military academy, and was mentored there by one of the leading experts on Soviet Scud missiles, from whom he “acquired extensive knowledge in missile development, control systems, propulsion and stabilization".

Abu-Sisi allegedly played a crucial role in improving the range and accuracy of Palestinian Qassam rockets, from six kilometers in 2002 to 22 kilometers in 2007. He also augmented the penetration capabilities of Palestinian anti-tank missiles, and planned further innovations such as a boost in the range of the Qassams and new mortars that could penetrate armor. After Operation Cast Lead in 2008-2009, he helped establish a Hamas "military academy".

Abu-Sisi and his family have insisted that he is innocent, that he was abducted in relation to the captive Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit, and that he was "framed" after the Israelis discovered he had nothing to do with that affair. Since much information on the case remains classified, and some analysts have speculated that the extraordinarily detailed indictment indicates that Israeli officials were nervous to justify the clandestine operation, it is hard to discard this argument completely. However, circumstantial evidence points against it; Israel is known to plan meticulously international operations that could hurt its ties to other countries, to cross-check all information carefully and to act only in cases where it perceives grave urgency.

In a separate development, the internal Israeli security agency, Shin Bet, announced that it had recently broken up several Hamas terror cells in Jerusalem and the West Bank. One of these was allegedly responsible for a mysterious pipe bomb hidden in a garbage bag that tore off the hand of a municipal worker earlier this year. According to the indictment, a member of the cell discarded the pipe bomb in the garbage after another member was arrested.

Other cells allegedly plotted to kidnap and murder Israeli soldiers. According to Ha'aretz:

Palestinian and Israeli security sources told Ha'aretz last month that Hamas militants in the West Bank have resumed their efforts to kill Israeli soldiers or civilians and abduct their bodies.

The sources said Hamas activists believe they cannot keep Israeli hostages out of the Shin Bet and Palestinian Authority's reach for long. So they plan to kill them, abduct and bury the bodies, then negotiate for returning them to Israel.

The Palestinian Authority and Israel have recently captured in the Ramallah region alone about five cells planning to kill Israelis and abduct their bodies.

Last Saturday, Israel conducted an air strike in Gaza that shattered a few days of calm. It killed Mohammed al-Dayah, a senior Hamas military commander, along with two other operatives, whom an Israeli spokesperson accused of "planning to kidnap Israelis over the upcoming Jewish holiday of Passover." Another militant was gravely wounded.

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Monday, April 11, 2011

I rest several cases

The Post West

As it turns out, I was right that Goldstone recant would not make any difference; and I was right that the West acts out of hostility towards Israel and not out of any real concern for the Palestinians. The Commentator (Goldstone report set to continue passage through UN despite Goldstone’s retraction):

It now appears all but certain that the controversial report alleging deliberate Israeli atrocities against Palestinian civilians in Operation Cast Lead in Gaza will not be withdrawn from the United Nations despite retractions of key allegations made in the report by its author, Justice Richard Goldstone.
One well-placed European diplomat told The Commentator on Saturday that all the signs this week from major European countries and from the United Nations itself suggested that hostility to the Jewish state remained so strong that even Goldstone’s remarkable comments, made in the Washington Post on April 1, could not stop the report’s momentum in its passage through UN bodies

Here is further evidence and also validation of my prediction that Israel will be made to pay for the instability in the Arab world that scares a West in decline. That the country responsible for the Holocaust is joining the effort is significant -- never again, my foot. The New York Times (Germany Pushes Israelis on Peace):

BERLIN — As Germany moves closer to other European countries in adopting an increasingly tough stance toward Israel’s reluctance to resume peace negotiations with the Palestinians, Chancellor Angela Merkel said Thursday that it was more urgent than ever that the talks be restarted. With the Middle East highly volatile as fighting and protests continue in a number of countries, Mrs. Merkel warned the visiting Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, against any further delay in returning to the negotiating table. “The Middle East peace talks have an impact on the stability of the region,” Mrs. Merkel said after a nearly two-hour meeting with Mr. Netanyahu.

And yet another correct prediction: Jerusalem Post (Arab League to ask UN to impose no-fly zone over Gaza):

The Arab League on Sunday announced during a special meeting in Cairo that it plans to press the UN to impose a no-fly zone over Gaza amid an escalation in violence in the area, AFP reported.

Adds Jihad Watch:

The Arab League knows the jihadists would stand to gain on every possible outcome from such a measure, if it succeeded in passing. On the most basic level, they would have a free-fire zone from Gaza into Israel. They would score propaganda points if Israel chose to defy the ban in order to exercise its right to defend itself. They would scream "occupation!" at the top of their lungs if Israel opted for a ground incursion, claiming casus belli for "defensive jihad," which is ultimately a jihad waiting for an excuse.
They could thus potentially draw Israel into a broader conflict not only with Hamas and Hizballah, but neighboring countries, for which the deck is substantially stacked more against the Jewish state as Islamic parties are vying for power across the region. Above all, the Arab League would love to see Israel forced to choose between entering into an armed conflict with United Nations forces enforcing the no-fly zone, or having its hands tied, at the mercy of neighbors intent on destroying it.

Note, incidentally, that this was announced by Amr Moussa, currently the most popular of the candidates for the presidency in Egypt, and the League will meet in Cairo to issue the request. Note also the following:

Egyptian Rioters Try to Rip Down Israeli Flag from Embassy
Egyptian security forces surrounded the Israeli embassy Friday to keep thousands of rioters from attacking it. Protesters burned Israeli flags.

More on all this in my next post.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

US Embassy Cable: Hamas-Hizbullah Arms Smuggling

Gavriel Queenann

Cable dated: 2009-11-18T14:32:00 S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 TEL AVIV 002501 SIPDISE.O. 12958: DECL: 11/18/2019TAGS: PREL, PGOV, MOPS, PTER, KWBG, EG, IR, LE, ISSUBJECT: 40TH JPMG: COUNTERSMUGGLING TECHNICAL DISCUSSION (PART 2 OF 4) Classified By: A/DCM Marc Sievers, reasons 1.4 (b),(d)

1. (S) Summary: Concurrent to the Joint Political Military Group (JPMG) Executive Session, IDF J5 and Israel Defense Intelligence (IDI) officers briefed U.S. JPMG delegation members on current arms transfers and weapons smuggling into Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. IDF J5 and IDI officers first focused on arms transfers to Hizballah in Lebanon via Iran and Syria, and provided current estimates of Hizballah arms. IDF J5 and IDI officers argued that Hizballah's ultimate goal during any future conflict is to launch a massive number of missiles and rockets daily into Israeli territory, including those that can reach the Tel Aviv area. J5 and IDI also described the sophisticated smuggling routes from Iran into the Gaza Strip, arguing that Hamas is now more powerful than prior to Operation Cast Lead. IDF J5 and IDI officers noted improved countersmuggling efforts by Egypt, but stressed more must be done to curb smuggling into Gaza. This is the second of four cables (septel) reporting on the 40th Joint Political Military Group. End summary. 2. (SBU) Israeli attendees included representatives from the IDF J5, IDI, Shin Bet, and Mossad. The U.S. delegation was led by PM Coordinator for Counter Piracy Robert Maggi, and included PM/RSAT John Schwenk, OSD Israel Desk Officer Eric Lynn, J5 Israel Desk Officer LTC Alan Simms, U.S. DAO Tel Aviv Assistant Air Attache Matt Yocum, EUCOM LCDR Molly McCabe, and U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv political-military officer Jason Grubb.

3. (S) Maggi stressed the importance of and noted progress with counter-smuggling efforts into Gaza -- but also acknowledged the GOI desire to see even further progress. He said the USG was looking for practical ideas to improve counter-smuggling efforts. IDF J5 officers argued that smuggling represents a strategic challenge for the GOI, which is facing a proliferation of knowledge and capabilities that are severely limiting Israel's diplomatic options for peace. IDF J5 made the case that weapons and knowledge proliferate from state actors, which disrupts diplomatic regional efforts. IDF J5 highlighted "regional faultlines," with the United States and Iran leading two opposing camps -- and countries such as China, Russia, and Qatar remaining on the sidelines with unclear intentions.

4. (S) IDI officers briefed on arms "deliveries" to the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, making the case with the latter that these arms transfers were done openly and should not be considered smuggling. IDI noted that since 2006, Hizballah has increased its quantity of sophisticated arms with improved range and accuracy -- these arms were acquired via Syria and Iran despite the presence of UNIFIL and Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). IDI highlighted the continued desire by Hizballah to avenge the assassination of its former military commander Imad Mughniyah, and pointed to failed attempts to do so in Azerbaijan and Egypt. Finally, IDI reviewed the arms delivery route from Syria to Lebanon via the Beqa'a Valley, and then to points south through Beirut.

5. (S) IDI presented estimates of Hizballah arms in Lebanon, including a breakdown of arms south of the Litani River. According to the IDI, Hizballah possesses over 20,000 rockets, hundreds of 220 mm and 302 mm rockets, several hundred "Fajr" rockets, hundreds of simple anti-tank (AT) launchers with rockets and missiles, and hundreds of advanced anti-tank wire guided missiles (ATGM), dozens of SA-14, SA-7, and QW-1 anti-aircraft guns, several Ababil unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), an unknown quantity of C-802 coastal missiles and up to thousands of improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

6. (S) Given this arsenal, Maggi asked what the IDF thought Hizballah's intentions were. IDI officers opined that Hizballah was preparing for a long conflict with Israel in which it hopes to launch a massive number of rockets at Israel per day. IDI officers noted in the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Tel Aviv was left untouched -- Hizballah will try to change the equation during the next round and disrupt everyday life in Tel Aviv. A Mossad official noted that Hizballah will want to ensure it can launch rockets and missiles to the very last day of the conflict, i.e., avoid running out of munitions. He estimated that Hizballah will try to launch 400-600 rockets and missiles at Israel per day -- 100 of which will be aimed at Tel Aviv. He noted that Hizballah is looking to sustain such launches for at least two months.

7. (S) IDI then shifted focus to the Gaza Strip, describing three circles of arms smuggling: 1. arms sources and TEL AVIV 00002501 002 OF 002 financing, such as Iran, Syria, Lebanon, and unfettered arms markets such as Eritrea and Yemen, and possibly China; 2. transit areas and states such as the Red Sea, Yemen, Sudan, Syrian, Lebanon, and Libya; and finally, 3. the "close circle" along the Sinai-Egyptian border and Philadelphi route. Maggi asked what percentage of arms transfers occurred via land, sea and air. IDI noted that it was difficult to determine: smugglers tend to prefer the naval route -- as there are fewer obstacles -- but the last segment almost always occurred overland. IDF J5 added that land smugglers are learning from past experience and building new overland "bypasses." When asked about air routes from Iran over Turkey, IDI officials indicated that Turkey has been made aware of such activity, although a Mossad representative suggested Turkey may not be entirely aware of the extent of such activity, given the IRGC's smuggling expertise. The GOI highlighted that focusing solely on the last phase of smuggling (e.g. along the Philadelphi route) would only lead to limited success, and that wider efforts were key.

8. (S) IDI also provided an analysis of weapons entering Gaza following Operation Cast Lead. IDI noted that one of the goals of Cast Lead was to damage Hamas' ability to produce its own weapons. In this regard, the IDF was successful, but Hamas is reconstituting its capabilities. According to the IDI, Hamas possibly possesses a few rockets with ranges over 40 km -- perhaps as far as 60-70 km, or within range of Tel Aviv. In addition, the IDI believes Hamas possesses quality AT systems such as the Kornet PG-29 and quality anti-aircraft artillery (AAA). These weapons join an already potent arsenal including Grad rockets with ranges up to 40 km, ammonium perchlorate (APC) oxidizer for indigenous rocket production, hundreds of 120, 80 and 60 mm MBs, dozens of mortars, C5 K air-to-surface rockets, PG-7 AT rockets and launchers, SA-7 MANPADS, PKS AAA MGs and thousands of rounds of ammunition, and quality AT, such as Sagger missiles and launchers, and light anti-tank weapon (LAW) rockets.

9. (S) IDF J5 presented some basic benchmarks for possible countersmuggling solutions for Gaza. First, Egyptian national commitment is required. Other benchmarks outlined by the IDF included a clear chain of command, control of the Sinai and its inhabitants, systematic treatment of tunnel infrastructure, trial and imprisonment of smugglers, and overcoming traditional failures such as bribery and lack of coordination. IDF J5 noted that Egyptian Intelligence Minister Soliman has been supportive, while there is growing awareness on the part of Egyptian Defense Minister Tantawi -- who the IDF views as an obstacle to counter-smuggling efforts. However, IDF J5 said there is a lack of coordination between the Egyptian Army and intelligence service on counter-smuggling efforts.

10. (S) The IDF has observed a more systematic response by Egypt in recent months, including assigning guards to newly discovered tunnel entries, or even blowing up tunnels -- by IDF estimates, the Egyptian Army has collapsed 20-40 tunnels in the last 4-5 months. Nevertheless, the IDF continues to see a lack of urgency on the part of Egypt regarding smuggling into the Sinai; little attention has been paid to improving the socio-economic conditions of Bedouins primarily responsible for Sinai smuggling. While Egypt has made several key arrests -- including prominent smuggler Muhammad Sha'er -- others are still at large. Finally, the IDF noted the construction of an underground barrier and sensors' network -- but in many cases, the smugglers have dug deeper tunnels to avoid the network.

11. (S) The IDF J5 outlined consultations with geology and tunnel experts, whom suggested several possible solutions to the Sinai-Gaza tunneling network: constant and specific mine activity in the vicinity of the border to a depth of 20-30 meters; the use of a shock device or stun charge, or smoke at a tunnel entrance for deterrence purposes; constructing underground obstacles 90 meters deep to destabilize current tunnel infrastructure; close supervision and inspection of buildings in urban areas, in which there is a high concentration of trucks and newly built rooftops and roads; and the arrest of major smugglers -- such as Darwish Madi -- and utilization of interrogation to discover major tunnels and dismantle smuggling networks.

12. (U) PM Coordinator for Counter Piracy Maggi has cleared this cable. CUNNINGHAM

Who Will Be Egypt's Next President? Find Out Here Five Months Ahead of Time

Barry Rubin

There are twenty candidates running for Egypt’s presidency. Most are not serious candidates but can split the vote for various blocs. I think the winner will be the radical nationalist Amr Moussa, which isn’t great but is better than an Islamist regime.

Moussa, former Egyptian foreign minister and then secretary-general of the Arab League, has lots of advantages. He has more name recognition by far than any opponent. As a veteran of the old regime he has the votes of Mubarak supporters. As a radical nationalist, Moussa appeals to many Egyptians. He is not an Islamist in any way, which will appeal to the majority of Egyptians who don’t want the Muslim Brotherhood to rule. And he knows how to be a demagogue. I’ve written more about him here.

The twenty candidates include two women, a Christian, two retired generals, and a couple of journalists. But there are no Islamists, or at least no Muslim Brotherhood representatives, among them. The Brotherhood won’t run a candidate and will have to decide who to vote for. Now, here’s what I want to tell you. There is only one other candidate from the old establishment so that vote—perhaps one-quarter of the electorate?—will go to Moussa.

But, there are five leftists and six liberals who will split those two blocs to smithereens, if I can coin a phrase. The leftist bloc is relatively small but the following are all running:

Abdallah al-Ash'al, pan-Arab nationalist.

Hamadein Sabahi, Al-Karama (Dignity) party.

Hussein Abd al-Razeq, neo-Communist Al-Taggam'u Party.

Magdi Hussein, Al-'Amal Party

Sameh 'Ashour, Nasserist Party.

Incidentally, several of these people—notably al-Ash’al and Hussein, get along very nicely with the Brotherhood. How can Marxists, radical nationalists, and Islamists all work together? Well, that’s Egyptian politics.

Yet that’s not the key problem. Remember those young pro-democratic Facebook liberals who supposedly were going to rule Egypt? Well, they are all running against each other, splitting an already small voting bloc into a microscopic one. The six rivals are:

Mohamed ElBaradei, who is more popular and better-known by far with Western journalists than with Egyptians.

Hisham Al-Bastawisi, a judge who was one of the first to come out against Mubarak.

Ayman Nour, al-Ghad (Tomorrow) Party, who ran against Mubarak in the previous election and spent four years in prison.

Midhat Khafaji, deputy head of the al-Ghad party who is running against Nour, the party’s leader!

Buthaina Kamel, a tv host who is from the Kefaya movement, another early anti-Mubarak group.

Wissam Abd al-Gawwad, a teacher who founded the Egyptians for Change association and the al-Nahhar party.

While only the first four are more important, that’s still a pretty big field. Remember also that when it comes time to assemble lists for the parliamentary election such splits will be even more damaging.

Here are the two interesting questions:

--Who will the Brotherhood back with its twenty to thirty percent base? They were supporting ElBaradei (yes, Islamists backing a liberal because he isn’t so liberal) but have quarreled with him lately.

--Will Moussa organize his own party which, if successful, could come in first in the parliamentary election.

But one thing isn’t in much doubt: President Amr Moussa sounds likely.