In the lap-top of the gods 4

Our view of the upheaval in Egypt, how the new technologies of personal communication have played a vital part in its causes as well as its spontaneous organization, is endorsed by Victor Davis Hanson, who writes in a must-read article at PajamasMedia:

So what’s the matter with Egypt? The same thing that is the matter with most of the modern Middle East: in the post-industrial world, its hundreds of millions now are vicariously exposed to the affluence and freedom of the West via satellite television, cell phones, the Internet, DVDs, and social networks.

And they become angry that, in contrast to what they see and hear from abroad, their own lives are unusually miserable in the most elemental sense. Of course … their corrupt government is in some part a reification of themselves, who in their daily lives see the world in terms of gender apartheid, tribalism, religious intolerance, conspiracies, fundamentalism, and statism that are incompatible with a modern, successful, capitalist democracy.

Instant global communications have brought the reality home to the miserable of the Middle East in a way state-run newspapers and state-censored television never could even had they wished.

In reaction, amid this volatile new communications revolution, the Saddams, the Mubaraks, the Saudi royals, the North African strongmen, and all the other “kings” and “fathers” and “leaders” found an effective enough antidote: The Jews were behind all sorts of plots to emasculate Arab Muslims. And the United States and, to a lesser extent, Great Britain were stealing precious resources that robbed proud Middle Easterners of their heritage and future. Better yet, there was always a Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, Oliver Stone, or, for the more high-brow, a Jimmy Carter to offer a useful exegesis of American conspiracy, oil-mongery, or Zionist infiltration into the West Wing that “proved” Middle East misery was most certainly not self-induced. … The more we promised to pressure Israel, the more we could ignore the misery of Cairo, and the more a thieving Mubarak could perpetuate it.

He concludes for the moment as we do, though with slightly less optimism:

Watch it play out with encouragement for those who oppose both Mubarak and the Muslim Brotherhood — hoping for the best, expecting the worst.

Even if the Egyptian revolution is aborted now, how long will the despots be able to resist the transformative power of the new technologies?

It’s in the lap-top of the gods, so to speak.

Hanson does not believe, any more than we do, that if America “lets” Mubarak go, an Islamic fanatic will take his place as happened in Iran when Jimmy Carter abandoned the Shah and welcomed the Ayatollah Khomeini – with what appalling results to this day we know all too well.  True, the dangerous Muslim Brotherhood strains to take power in Egypt, but has no Khomeini-like figure ready to implement instant oppression. Besides which, the causes in Egypt are different. The world has moved on since the Iranian revolution.

It is this new world which is making the prison-walls of the Arab states crack and crumble.

It may burst the Islamic theocracies too.

It may render all religion obsolete.

Let’s roll – away 1

Hamas, the terrorist organization that rules Gaza,  is a creation of the Muslim Brotherhood, so it’s not surprising that it’s taking advantage of the failure of government in Egypt.

This comes from DebkaFile:

Gunmen of Hamas’s armed wing, Ezz e-Din al Qassam, crossed from Gaza into northern Sinai Sunday, Jan. 30 to attack Egyptian forces … They acted on orders from Hamas’ parent organization, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood … to open a second, Palestinian front against the Mubarak regime. …

Hamas gunmen went straight into battle with Egyptian Interior Ministry special forces (CFF) in the southern Egyptian-controlled section of the border town of Rafah and the Sinai port of El Arish. Saturday, Bedouin tribesmen and local Palestinians used the mayhem in Cairo to clash with Egyptian forces at both northern Sinai key points and ransack their gun stores.

Hamas terrorists aim to follow this up by pushing Egyptian forces out of the northern and central regions of the peninsula and so bring Egypt’s border with the Gaza Strip under Palestinian control. Hamas would then be able to break out of the Egyptian blockade of the enclave and restore its smuggling routes in full. …

For the last 30 years there has been a multinatinal force posted in the area to ensure that Sinai remains peaceful. Now for the first time it is needed to fulfil its mission and keep the peace as hostilities erupt.

So what exactly is it doing? It is going away. It is being withdrawn.

The  Multinational Force & Observers (MFO), most of whose members are Americans and Canadians, are on maximum alert at their northern Sinai base, while they wait for US military transports to evacuate them to US bases in Europe.

This force was deployed in Sinai in 1981 for peacekeeping responsibilities and the supervision of the security provisions of the 1979 Peace Treaty between Egypt and Israel under which the peninsula was demilitarized except for Egyptian police. Ending the MFO’s mission in Sinai after thirty years knocks down a key pillar propping up the relations of peace between Egypt and Israel.

Early Sunday, the Egyptian army quietly began transferring armored reinforcements including tanks through the tunnels under the Suez from Egypt proper eastward to northern Sinai in effort to drive the Hamas forces back. The Egyptian troop presence in Sinai, which violates the terms of the peace treaty, has not been mentioned by either of the peace partners. Our Jerusalem sources report the Netanyahu government may have tacitly approved it.

The people of Gaza could seize this moment to overthrow the tyranny of Hamas. Will they? Right now no development in that region is predictable.

Afterword; The Egyptian military is reported to have re-sealed the Gaza border. Mubarak is reported to have fled to Sharm el-Sheikh in southern Sinai.

For better or for worse? 1

Will the continuing protests in Egypt bring about a democratic revolution?

Or will Mubarak survive as president?

Or will a worse regime take power?

It seems probable that the armed men who went round the prisons in Egypt and let prisoners out were  Mubarak’s agents. The freed villains set about obligingly looting and raping, while the police were withdrawn, and the populace, the householders, the shop-owners were left to defend themselves and their property with whatever makeshift weapons they could muster. The idea behind these moves was almost certainly to provide Mubarak with an excuse to crack down hard on the protesting crowds. But if it was for that purpose that he then sent in the army, his will was frustrated. The soldiers started at once to fraternize with the protestors.

(Events are moving so fast in Eqypt that by the time any state of affairs is reported, it has probably changed. There are now reports that some police are back on the streets.)

“Experts” are expecting that the outcome of the uprising will be a worse regime than Mubarak’s.

The Muslim Brotherhood, some predict, will seize power. But they have no leader to put in place. Some expect Mohamed Mustafa ElBaradei to take over the presidency. (He was the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency. It was a wonderfully counter-productive idea the UN had, to appoint a Muslim to head the watch-dog organization in the years when Islamic states, chiefly Iran, were hell-bent on becoming nuclear armed powers. Funny that he didn’t manage to deter them.)

ElBaradei, however, has no base in Egypt. He has been living in Vienna for many years.

So will an organization that has no leader match neatly with a would-be leader who has no organization? If so, some say, ElBaradei may become president of an Egypt ruled by the Muslim Brotherhood.

These items of news come from the Jerusalem Post:

Sunday, the Muslim Brotherhood threw its support behind ElBaradei to hold proposed negotiations with the government in order to form a new unity government. …

ElBaradei, in an interview aired on CNN Sunday, said that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak must leave the country immediately.

“It is loud and clear from everybody in Egypt that Mubarak has to leave today, and it is non-negotiable for every Egyptian.” he said. He added that it should “be followed by a smooth transition [to] a national unity government to be followed by all the measures set in place for a free and fair election.”

Addressing Mubarak’s Friday night move to sack his entire cabinet, ElBaradei said, “I think this is a hopeless, desperate attempt by Mubarak to stay in power.” …

The statements came as protests continued in central Cairo, where tens of thousands of protesters were reportedly gathered despite an announced curfew and strong military presence. …

Minutes before the start of a 4 p.m. curfew, at least two [fighter] jets appeared and made multiple passes over downtown, including a central square where thousands of protesters were calling for the departure of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Al-Jazeera (Qatar-based, pro-Muslim Brotherhood) was officially, but apparently not effectively, closed down by Mubarak on Sunday. It is still reporting.

Al-Jazeera anchors on its English satellite channel directed viewers to follow the live Twitter feeds of its correspondents across the country who were updating on a consistent basis via satellite connection, while noting other prominent Twitterers and significant tweets, such as @Jan25Voices which was taking calls from Egyptian protesters and eyewitnesses and tweeting their messages in real time, thus circumventing the blackout in a creative way.

The network itself also found ways to bypass restrictions over the weekend, issuing a statement detailing its efforts: “While ordinary Egyptians have not had access to social networks like Twitter, Al-Jazeera have been using Skype to record messages by members of the public. It have made the recordings available on Audioboo, promoting them through Facebook.”

As the reported death toll rose drastically from 5 on Friday evening to over 95 by Saturday noon, Al-Jazeera broadcast graphic footage from inside hospitals and morgues of bloodied bodies, and of distraught family members. On Saturday, it showed scenes of laughter and amiable exchange between protesters and army officials. Some military personnel were filmed kissing young children and handing them back to their parents.

Also on Saturday night, Al-Jazeera’s live coverage provided viewers with real-time footage and reporting from Cairo as events descended into chaos when looting and vandalism became rampant, and thousands started escaping from prison. …

Al-Jazeera’s combination of mainstream coverage of the events on its satellite channel and website, including correspondents’ reports, expert commentary, interviews, and its staff’s savvy use of social media tools has maximized its influence and has turned it into a force to be reckoned with in the region.

As we have said before (see our post below, Tweet a changing world, January 26, 2011), American technology is transforming the world. The internet is an immense force for freedom – which is, of course, why governments want to control it. True, the forces of repression – Qatar and the Muslim Brotherhood through Al-Jazeera – make use of the new technologies too. But in the long run they must surely be liberating?

The angry crowds in the streets of Egypt are demanding freedom. Will they overthrow a secular despotism only to replace it with an Islamic tyranny?

We wait, with an unfamiliar smidgen of optimism, to see if the glimpse of freedom young Egyptians have caught through their iPods will stop them from submitting ever again to the oppressive rule that characterizes the Arab states.


Daring to be atheist 3

Here are some statements by atheists, more or less well reasoned. We present them because it took courage for the speakers to go on record with their beliefs at all, as all of them, wherever they may be, come from the intolerant world of Islam where apostasy and atheism are punishable by death.

Posted under Atheism, Islam, Muslims by Jillian Becker on Saturday, January 29, 2011

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Iran sends force to Tunisia 2

We say in the post below, Hope and change in the Arab world, that the violent revolts could develop into a conflict between a movement for freedom and religious tyranny. We say that if America ignores the dramatic change occurring there, Islamic forces (the militant Iranian Shia regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban-like al-Qaeda) stand a better chance of winning.

Already the dark Islamic forces are positioning themselves to seize power.

Oliver North writes at Townhall:

What’s most important right now is how the Obama administration handles the increasingly intense cries for greater freedom sweeping from Tunisia to Yemen – threatening every authoritarian Muslim regime in that region save one: Iran’s.

The theocrats in Tehran didn’t foment the “Jasmine Revolution” — the youth-driven popular uprising that forced Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali to flee the presidential palace he occupied for 23 years. … But the ayatollahs are capitalizing on the expanding chaos.

Expatriate Iranian opposition figures claim that members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds force have been dispatched to Tunis “to help guide developments.”

Ominous! And worse news follows – if it is true:

Tehran’s government-controlled Fars News Agency has since quoted Jamil bin Alawi, a Tunisian “student activist,” as saying, “The advanced revolutionary and Islamic models like the Hezbollah of Lebanon can provide a bright and promising prospect for Tunisia.”

Jamil bin Alawi sounds to us – as he does to Oliver North, we guess, since he puts the words “student activist” in quotation marks – like a parrot-mouth for the Ayatollahs rather than a spokesman for the Tunisian revolutionaries.

In Egypt — where riot police and the army are confronting angry protesters with tear gas, batons and gunfire — the Iranians may well see another autocratic regime ripe for Islamic revolution. Student-led riots opposing the 30-year reign of President-for-Life Hosni Mubarak erupted Monday in Cairo and quickly spread throughout the country.

Unlike their counterparts in Tunisia and Lebanon, the Egyptian police and army thus far appear loyal to their leader, Mubarak, and the government has all but shut down press access and communications, including many Internet links. …

Now reports are coming out of Egypt that at least some policemen and soldiers are discarding their uniforms and joining the protestors.

Hope and change in the Arab world 5

The world is changing as swiftly as a turn of a kaleidoscope. The upheaval in the Arab states is momentous. These events could be at least as transformative as the fall of the Soviet Union.

It’s good in itself that that the oppressed are rising against their tyrants, but outcomes are uncertain. Worse despots could take power – but against them too the people might rise.

A vital factor in the mass protests has been the equipment that puts individuals in touch with each other without permission of governments. The uprisings were co-ordinated in Egypt and Tunisia by means of Facebook, Twitter, and cell phones. If millions of Arabs want a bright future enabled by such things instead of lives slogged out in the ancient ways of Islam, then Islam may have had its day.

The conflict now, we hope, is between those who want  the sort of life Westerners have in this twenty-first century, and those who want to restore the old dark world of Islamic superstition, ignorance, and cruelty: a conflict between a movement for freedom and a religious tyranny. It may even spread through all the Islamic world.

If the movement for freedom wins, many good effects could flow from its victory. The Arab countries could be transformed into productive, prosperous  trading nations; their self-crippling opposition to the existence of Israel might stop, and Israel’s Arab neighbors could at last benefit from its presence as a pattern of the modernity they need.

Such a movement towards a bright tomorrow would be more certain of victory if it were helped by an awakened America: an America led by an intelligent administration (which now it lacks).

Whether the West wakes up to it or not, and whether Western politicians encumbered with the mental paraphernalia of outdated ideologies such as socialism like it or not, dramatic change is occurring in the Arab world. If America ignores it, Islamic forces (the militant Iranian Shia regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, Taliban-like al-Qaeda) stand a better chance of winning.

America should actively guide it towards freedom and real democracy – the bright and possible future.

Jillian Becker  January 28, 2011

A lethal spin 0

While the greater part of the Arab World is in upheaval over issues of poverty, hunger, and oppression, fury flares also in the “Holy Land” over the unlikely accusation that the Palestine Authority, led by the politically impotent Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), has conceded too much to Israel in “peace-process” negotiations.

We hadn’t been aware that Palestinian leaders had ever conceded anything – not at least in practice. The whole idea since the ill-advised Oslo Accords were signed in 1993, was that there would be an exchange of “land for peace”. Israel delivered land – shifting every Israeli resident out of Gaza – but did not get peace. It got rockets, suicide bombers, and an intensified world-wide campaign to delegitimize its existence.

The accusation that the PA has betrayed the Palestinian cause has arisen out of the publication of some 1600 leaked documents from “peace-process” negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel. The Palestine Papers, as they are called, were given by a person or persons unnamed to al-Jazeera, which gave them to the Guardian newspaper (or so it is said).

Both al-Jazeera and the Guardian are heavily biased on the side of the Palestinians. Or to put it more accurately, they are both frantically devoted to the cause of the Palestinians, and passionately against the existence of the state of Israel. They favor the uncompromising and murderous Hamas leadership to that of the PA (which is the older terrorist organization, Fatah, dressed in a suit.)

You can read what al-Jazeera has to say about the Palestine Papers here. It believes they prove that Israel and America negotiated in bad faith, and the PA conceded too much land to Israel and dropped the sacred demand for the “return of  the Palestinian refugees”.

The Guardian pounced upon the documents in a flush of Schadenfreude. You can read the Guardian’s spin on them here. It believes they prove Israel’s intransigence in the face of Palestinian generosity.

As we are heavily biased on the side of Israel, we prefer this view of the affair by Noah Pollak at Commentary-contentions:

You wouldn’t expect Al-Jazeera and the Guardian newspaper in Britain to do anything but spin the “Palestine Papers” — the leaked transcripts of late Bush administration negotiations between Israeli, Palestinian, and American officials — to the max. And so they have, today, with shocked responses from foreign-policy types. Indeed, an editor at Foreign Policy magazine went so far as to declare on Twitter that the “two state solution is dead” as a result.

But the reality of the papers themselves turns out to be incredibly boring. Yes, during the months surrounding the Annapolis summit in 2008, there were negotiations. Yes, these negotiations concerned issues such as borders, Jerusalem, refugees, security, and settlements. Yes, the two sides discussed land swaps that would enable Israel to retain major settlement blocs. Yes, in private, the Palestinians acknowledged that the Jewish Quarter of Jerusalem is not going to be handed over to them and that Israel will not consent to being flooded with millions of Arab refugees. Yes, in private, the negotiators treated each other with respect and even graciousness. No, the talks did not succeed. This is news?

And we find this from The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs interesting:

With the “peace process” a shambles, someone wants to show the Palestinians as moderates, taking “risks for peace” against a nasty, intransigent Israel. Who? … The Guardian itself tells a story in which the British government is strongly implicated.

The leaked material came from a unit called the, “Palestinian negotiation support unit (NSU), which has been the main technical and legal backup for the Palestinian side in the negotiations. The British government has heavily funded the unit. Other documents originate from inside the PA’s extensive U.S.- and British-sponsored security apparatus. The Israelis, Americans and others kept their own records, which may differ in their accounts of the same meetings.”  …

So the British government (read British intelligence) paid for and organized support of the Palestinians in negotiations and The Guardian announces up front that American and Israeli records of the same meetings may be different. Who knew the British were so heavily involved? Why were they and why would their records be different if everyone was in the same room speaking the same language – English – according to The Guardian. Either concessions were offered or they weren’t.

We’re betting they weren’t. [The implication here being that at least some of the papers are British forgeries - JB.]

The most obvious outcome of the leaks has been to enhance the already bloody rivalry among Palestinian groups. Fatah called the documents lies, but Hamas called Abu Mazen and Fatah traitors for giving away Palestinian assets. There were riots in Ramallah yesterday.

The lives of Fatah leaders, especially Abu Mazen’s, are now in danger.

*

C. Gee read the relevant papers and writes:

In countering the Al Jazeera/Guardian revelations one does not need to hypothesize that the documents are a hoax. They can be genuine and still not prove that the Palestinians gave “concessions”; that these concessions were taken to Israel; that Israel refused them; that they were not abandoned by the Palestinians themselves; or would not be abandoned during negotiations when push came to shove. As far as I can see, the documents do not provide sufficient evidence of any of this, let alone all of it. Without that evidence the story of intransigent, duplicitous Israel and beleaguered, earnest Abbas fails. As does any story that Abbas has betrayed his cause.

The characterization of the positions as “concessions” forming an offer made and rejected by the Israelis is a story put upon the Papers by Al Jazeera. What motivated Al Jazeera to concoct that spin is not too hard to guess at, but one does not need to examine motives to show the spin. The documents themselves do not support the story.

In fact the documents could be given an altogether different spin: Abbas, as leader of Fatah (and that is what he is leader of, not the Palestinian people) never deviated from the bad faith demanded by his organization in his conducting of peace negotiations with Israel: negotiate, but never sign away our rights.

Were I a newspaper looking into the story put out by Al Jazeera, I would like to see:

  • the documents where the claim is made that they took the concessions to the Israelis, then verification of this in records of the negotiations with the Israelis from all sources
  • documents where the claim is made that the Israelis turned them down, and when
  • documents where the Palestinians explain on what grounds the Israelis turned them down, then verification and cross-checking of these Palestinian claims with other statements by the Palestinian negotiators and with Israeli records
  • an evaluation of how the ‘Negotiating Support Unit‘ is constituted, what its political role is and whether the minutes reflect what was actually said, or a glossed account which positions the speakers – and the unit – correctly for the historical record. (On reading minutes of this Unit, one gets the impression that one is witnessing a soviet committee at work: each comrade is afraid that every other comrade might catch him deviating from the party line and denounce him and displace him. There is none of the candor one might expect among negotiating advisors and their negotiators, and certainly no unambiguous adoption of “concessions”. When AM says “it is illogical” to demand the return of a million refugees, he is saying that it is a pointless negotiating demand, not that it is a concession, not that he has agreed to forfeit the right of return. Everybody in the room would use and understand such code. We see the typical inner workings of a totalitarian system. One can sympathize with AM’s outrage that the very thing he tried to avoid – an interpretation of his statements that he is betraying the cause – has come about.)
  • an independent translator verify that the Al Jazeera translations of the documents are correct.

One may step outside the documents to discount the Al Jazeera story. The recent history of negotiations shows time and again that an agreement, with hard compromises from both sides, is in the bag, that it merely awaits signatures, only to have it be abandoned. So far, the evidence points to Palestinian balking. The reasons given are always that the positions described as “concessions” by the Palestinians (and “demands” by the Israelis, which, given the power balance, is perverse) are too onerous and conflict with the inalienable rights of the Palestinians: to their ancestral homeland; to the right of return; to resistance. Sometimes they give procedural reasons: they never the saw the maps, the maps were given to them late, the maps shown did not give as much land as the Israelis claimed, the settlements after all take up too much space.

One explanation for the Palestinian bosses’ behavior is that any “concessions” resulting in an actual peace would be justification for their rivals in Fatah and for Hamas (a rival organization) to topple them, on behalf of that useful, angry, imaginary electorate, Arab public opinion. If they wish to stay in power, they must fulfill the statesman role expected of them by the world and negotiate for a state, but never deliver it, for fear of their rivals ousting or even offing them. The negotiating process must be justified to the rivals (as avatars of Arab public opinion) as part of the “resistance”. This is supported by recent statements by the Palestinians in the wake of the scandal, that the leaks put in jeopardy their successes in “isolating Israel diplomatically”. It is in their interest (which is not to say it might not also be in the Israeli interest, but for different reasons) to spin out the peace process, but never sign a peace treaty. Why else would the Palestinians now be working towards a unilateral declaration of a state with recognition by the UN or individual nations?

Tweet a changing world 7

America’s magnificent technology, not its dwindling political power, is helping to set oppressed nations free.

Western governments – in particular the Obama administration, obsessively and weirdly convinced that peace and joy would prevail on earth if it could only stop Israel building houses for its citizens in its capital city – have been so blinded by their own misguided assumptions that they are overtaken with surprise by what is happening in  North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula, and at a loss to know what to do.

The Arab rulers themselves are astonished and shaken. They found it very useful to blame Israel and America for the miseries of those they oppressed, but now the people aren’t buying the excuse, and the rulers fear not just overthrow but the loss of their lives.

It was never true that what happened in and round Israel mattered to the ordinary Arab man and woman (beyond lip-service to the Palestinian cause when they were asked). What matters to them is the struggle to live. A steep rise in the price of food has brought them to furious revolt.

The greater part of the Arab world is in turmoil. The revolution in Tunisia has sent its autocratic ruler scuttling for asylum in Saudi Arabia.

In Egypt, tens (some reports say hundreds) of thousands are out in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. Hundreds have been arrested, but the protests continue. The son of the president has fled to Britain, having sneaked out of Egypt from a military airfield in West Cairo, with his family and an immense quantity of baggage – which suggests that he has a long stay abroad in mind. President Mubarak, now 82 and ailing, has been in power for 30 years. If he was expecting his son Gamal to succeed him, as was generally supposed, that  hope has now been dashed. In any case there were strong forces opposed to Gamal’s succession, chiefly the military – which is probably why they helped him on his way. (In Tunisia, it was the military switching sides from the government to the people that ensured the success of the revolution.)

In Mauritania, Algeria, MoroccoJordan crowds are marching, and the monsters of corruption that keep them hungry are afraid.

They had to wonder, how did it come about that so many appeared on the streets at the same time on the same days, with the same banners in their hands, the same slogans on their lips? How were the protests organized?

The answer is: Twitter, Facebook, and cell phones. When the Egyptian authorities realized this, they tried to block both Twitter and Facebook in a feeble gesture against the overwhelming tide of progress that is suddenly transforming the Arab world. They managed to do it for a short time only. Then they issued banning orders which were not obeyed. They used tear gas, water cannon and beatings to try and disperse the demonstrators. Official reports admitted that three people were killed, two demonstrators and a policeman. An unofficial figure is some 150 dead. But still thousands continue to protest.

The Muslim Brotherhood, however, hovers in the wings to seize power if it can. And if it does, Egypt will no longer be a secular state; diplomatic relations with Israel will almost certainly be broken off; and relations with the US will change for the worse.

In Lebanon, Hezbollah is in the process of putting its own choice of prime minister into power. It is a Shia organization and the prime minister of Lebanon must (by the terms of a 1943 unwritten agreement called the National Pact) be a Sunni. The man designated for the office, Najib Miqati, is a Sunni who is sympathetic to Hezbollah’s demand that the government refuse all co-operation with the International Court at the Hague in its efforts to bring the murderers of former Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri to trial. As a result, the Lebanese Christians rioted yesterday in many parts of the country. They know  that under Miqati’s leadership, Lebanon will become a proxy for Iran, which created, finances, and arms Hezbollah. The threat Iran already poses to Israel will be greatly enhanced.

What did the president of the United States say that touched on any of this in his State of the Union address last night? Just two sentences:

And we saw that same desire to be free [as in Southern Sudan, recently seceded from the North] in Tunisia, where the will of the people proved more powerful than the writ of a dictator. And tonight, let us be clear: The United States of America stands with the people of Tunisia, and supports the democratic aspirations of all people.

And Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State? She declared yesterday that the government of Egypt is “stable”.

Jillian Becker   January 26, 2011

Allah at CPAC 4

The American Conservative Political Action Conference, CPAC, will be held this year February 10-12 at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, D.C. About 10,000 conservatives are expected to attend.

It’s a grand annual event. Lots of stimulating ideas are aired and discussed.

There is something, however, about it that troubles us. CPAC’s umbrella organization, the American Conservative Union (ACU), has on its governing board one Suhail Khan, who is expected to speak at this year’s conference.

Like us, Roger Kimball, writing at PajamasMedia, wants to know why:

He presents himself as a conservative Republican who can speak for “moderate Muslims.” In fact … Suhail Khan is a smooth-talking apologist for the Muslim Brotherhood … a radical Islamist group whose credo is: “Allah is our objective. The Prophet is our leader. Qur’an is our law. Jihad is our way. Dying in the way of Allah is our highest hope.”

Suhail Khan made his way into the U.S. government during the Bush administration. He has defended “Ground Zero mosque” Imam Feisal Rauf as a “moderate.” … In June 2001, Khan personally accepted an award from the now-notorious Abdurahman Alamoudi, then head of the American Muslim Council. …

Sen. Arlen Specter of the Judiciary Committee … cited a New York Post report documenting how Alamoudi had supported terrorists and “declared an interest in destroying America.”… [In October 2004, the "very supportive" Alamoudi was sentenced to 23 years in federal prison "on charges related to his activities in the United States and abroad with nations and organizations that have ties to terrorism."]

In September 2001, four days before the 9/11 attacks, Khan spoke at the Islamic Society of North America’s [ISNA] convention. Introducing him was Jamal Barzinji, whose offices and home were raided by federal agents after 9/11. “Barzinji is not only closely associated with PIJ [Palestinian Islamic Jihad], but also with Hamas,” according to the search-warrant affidavit. At the event, Khan shared his experiences from “inside” the White House, and praised his late father, Mahboob Khan, for helping found ISNA — which the government now says is a front for the radical Muslim Brotherhood and has raised money for jihad. The founding documents of the Brotherhood’s operation in America (recently seized by the FBI) reveal that it is in this country to “destroy” the Constitution and replace it with Islamic law.

An alarming prospect: a widespread movement bent on destroying the Constitution and replacing it with Islamic law. Is that overstated? On the contrary, that’s what the Muslim Brotherhood is all about. Here, for example, is a key passage from the 1991 “Explanatory Memorandum” on the Brotherhood’s “strategic goals” for North America. It was written by Mohamed Akram, then a central Muslim Brotherhood leader in the U.S.:

[T]heir work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and “sabotaging” its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God’s religion is made victorious over all other religions.

What happens to “people like” Suhail Khan? They get appointments to influential jobs in the White House, then the Hill. In addition to sitting on the board of the ACU, Khan is currently a spokesman for the Congressional Muslim Staff Association

While you’re being sexually assaulted at airports in the name of national security, because you might be an Islamic jihadist intent on blowing up a plane, an Islamic jihadist, the open enemy of your country, is being paid to tell the government how to be nice to Muslims dedicated to pursuing the jihad so as to help advance their cause. (See Note below.)

What excuse can the ACU possibly have for allowing this treacherous man anywhere near its governing board?

The American Conservative Union, founded in 1964 with the blessing of folks like William F. Buckley Jr., declares itself on the side of individual rights and “strictly limiting the power of government.” The Muslim Brotherhood and other activist Islamic groups work overtime to subordinate the individual to the will of Allah and recognize no distinction between state and religious authority. They represent as thoroughgoing a totalitarian force as the world has ever seen. Suhail Khan is a prominent spokesman for that anti-democratic species of tyranny. Why does he sit on the board of the ACU? … To my mind, the fact that the ACU’s board of directors includes apologists for the Muslim Brotherhood is the sort of thing that ought to worry our fellow conservatives. He is the proverbial wolf in sheep’s clothing…

Does he even bother to put on the sheepskin? We can see his slavering wolf-jaws when he speaks.

Suhail Khan is not the only member of the ACU’s governing board whose heart is on the side of America’s active enemy Islam. Another is Grover Norquist.

This is from The Jawa Report.

[Suhail Khan] is a protege of GOP activist Grover Norquist, who … co-founded the Islamic Institute with top Al-Qaeda fundraiser Abdurahman Alamoudi.

Messrs. Norquist and Khan [have had] troubling involvement for over a decade in causes profoundly at odds with U.S. security and national interests. In particular, Grover Norquist helped found and operate a Muslim organization with seed money and staffing from the man who was, at the time, the preeminent MB/al Qaeda financier.

It is devoutly to be hoped that they [Norquist and Khan], among many other aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood’s determined bid to insinuate shariah into the United States, will also receive close scrutiny in the course of the potentially momentous hearings into “radical Islam” that incoming House Homeland Security Committee chairman Rep. Pete King has pledged to convene in the weeks ahead.

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Note: See Frank Gaffney’s important article on Suhail Khan, A Jihadist in the Heart of the Conservative Movement, at Front Page here, in which he writes:

… Suhail Khan spent the rest of the Bush administration in the Department of Transportation, ultimately serving as the Assistant to the Secretary for Policy. In that capacity … he had access to classified information. Given the Department’s portfolio and his responsibilities, that would presumably have included secrets concerning: the policies and operations governing the Transportation Security Administration, port, rail, waterway and highway security, the movement of nuclear weapons and other hazardous materials, etc.

(See also an older article by Frank Gaffney on Suhail Khan’s candidacy for the ACU board of directors in 2007 here.)

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We ourselves cannot be at the conference as we exist only in the ether. But if any of our readers, existing in what we are told is now called “meat space”, should go to it  – and talk about atheist conservatism however unofficially – would he or she please send us a report?

Go here for information about the speakers and panels, and a link to register.

A better world 3

Even skeptics might acknowledge that the world would be better without the United Nations.

Is a start being made on demolishing the UN, or at least a wing of it?

News comes from The Hill:

A key House Republican is quickly pressing forward with her goals to scale back U.S. funding for the United Nations.

Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told The Hill that oversight would be a key function of the panel, particularly funding to the U.N. Human Rights Council (HRC) that is “a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

I’d like to make sure that we once and for all kill all U.S. funding for that beast,” she said last month. “Because I don’t think that it advances U.S. interests, I don’t think that that’s a pro-democracy group, it’s a rogue’s gallery, pariah states, they belong there because they don’t want to be sanctioned.”

Lovers of all things UN – leftists, the State Department, Obama and his shills, global warmists, world-government advocates, anti-Semites – have an argument for supporting the HRC which sounds ever so diplomatic, clever and subtle, as if they were cunningly manipulating the loathsome tyrannies that dominate the  organization, when in fact they are trying to deceive its honest and indignant critics.

Supporters of continued U.S. support of and participation on the HRC say that it’s essential that Washington have leverage on the panel, renowned for including countries that have their own records of human-rights violations [to put it very mildly - JB].

But staunchly the admirable Ros-Lehtinen is sticking to her resolution:

On Tuesday, Ros-Lehtinen will host a panel of U.N. critics and advocates … The 10 a.m. briefing before the full committee is titled, “The United Nations: Urgent Problems that Need Congressional Action.”

Fans of the UN and the shills for the HRC will appear before it to put their cunning (but transparent) argument:

One of those scheduled to testify, Peter Yeo, represents the United Nations Foundation/Better World Campaign, which at the start of President Obama’s term urged the commander in chief to “mount a campaign” to secure a place on the HRC, which the Bush administration had boycotted.

“Support of our UN commitments is more than an obligation, it is a smart investment in America’s strategic, economic and political interests,” Yeo told The Hill. “Continued American engagement and diplomacy at the UN will only advance our goals for democracy, human rights and world prosperity.”

Weasel words!

But there will be others who are fully aware of the evil the UN does, and some who have nobly exposed it.

U.N. critics set to appear include Claudia Rosett, who unveiled the oil-for-food scandal in 2004 and 2005 in The Wall Street Journal; Brett Schaefer, who regularly takes on the U.N. at the conservative Heritage Foundation; and Hillel Neuer, executive director of Geneva-based UN Watch, which monitors the controversial HRC.

Neuer [said] of Obama’s initiative to place a U.S. representative on the council with the intention of reforming from within that it was “naive for anyone to have thought it would change significantly.”

Or at all, since changing it is not Obama’s real intention – unless into a seat of world government.

Neuer probably knows this. He certainly knows how iniquitous the UN and the HRC really are. He has pointed out that 35 of the 45 resolutions produced by the HRC over the last five years have been “one-sided measures against Israel.” And he has lamented (The Hill reports) that “the U.S. and allied nations haven’t pulled together to trigger emergency sessions on crises such as the crackdown on democracy demonstrators in Iran or abuses against Tibetans or Uighurs by China.”

Another Republican who wants to “take on the UN” through control of the purse-strings, is Rep. Cliff Stearns:

The first bill in this Congress taking on the U.N., introduced on the first day the House was in session, came from Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) [who] introduced a measure to ensure that no federal funds may be used for the “design, renovation, construction, or rental of any headquarters for the United Nations in any location in the United States” unless Obama “transmits to Congress a certification that the United Nations has adopted internationally recognized best practices in contracting and procurement.”

“During the Bush administration, it was learned from internal U.N. auditors that 43 percent of $1.4 billion in procurement contracts investigated involved fraud,” Stearns said in a statement to The Hill.

“In addition, U.N. peacekeeping operations are plagued with numerous cases of abuse and sexual exploitation,” he added. “The U.N. is in desperate need of reform from top to bottom, and my bill is designed to have the world body take the simple step of adopting internationally recognized best practices in contracting and procurement, which includes taking the bid representing the best value.”

But the UN is not reformable. The UN (like its predecessor the League of Nations) was a bad idea to start with. After the Second World War the victors sat down together on the UN Security Council where the West and the Soviets, and later Communist China, glared at each other for the the duration of the Cold War – and still do; while in the General Assembly an overwhelming majority of despotisms vented their envy and spite against the West and especially Israel – and still do; and the bureaucrats who ran it, or at least some of them, corruptly enriched themselves at the expense of helplessly subjugated peoples (as in the oil-for-food scandal when they conspired with Saddam Hussein to line their own pockets and rob the oppressed Iraqis) – and still do.

The US sustains it. The US could destroy it at a stroke. Just not giving it the billions it does ($6.347 billion was the amount of American tax-payers’ money handed over to the UN in 2009) would crash the whole institution.

The Republicans are not apparently planning to be so radical as to bring down the edifice. Or not immediately anyway. We might hope that it is in their minds as an eventual aim. At present they’re ready only to chip away at its corners: 

The U.N. is also included in a broad-reaching budget-slashing bill by Ways and Means Committee member Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

The Cut Unsustainable and Top-Heavy Spending Act of 2011, introduced Jan. 7, calls for a 10 percent reduction in voluntary contributions to the United Nations — monies the U.S. is not required to give by law — for fiscal year 2011. …

“America can fulfill its generous financial obligations to the U.N., but will set priorities within the voluntary funding areas,” he said. “A financially and economically sound United States is in the U.N.’s best interest.”

A politically wise United States would see that abolishing the UN would be in the world’s best interest.  A movement to achieve its abolition would be a real “Better World Campaign”.

The Republicans need to throw away the chisel and lay the explosive, because the UN must be destroyed.

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