President Obama is considering supporting the Syrian rebels with “lethal aid”. We think that, far from this being a “reversal of policy”, he has been intending to do so ever since the rebellion started. And not only intending to do it, but actually doing it, by surreptitiously transferring arms to them from Libya – and that that is the secret, or part of the secret, the Benghazi cover-up is all about.
The rebels in Syria are not democrats. They are an alliance of jihadi groups intending to impose sharia law on Syria. Obama and his minions will help them into power.
The killing of Osama bin Laden, the drone attacks on al-Qaeda leaders, the detaining of jihadis in Gitmo, the apparent approval by the administration of Muslim terrorist trials inside the US, are all so much wool pulled over the eyes of the American public.
But we can no more fail to see that Obama wants to assist Islam with its jihad – its war of global conquest – than we can fail to see the sun. He must deeply believe it would be good for America to become an Islam-dominated nation. (And good for the world to be ruled by a caliphate.) He is aiding the Muslim Brotherhood overtly in its power grab in Egypt, preventing any effective action against Iran becoming a nuclear power, hugely increasing the granting of visas and green cards to Muslim immigrants into the US, and he has made the United States government itself an instrument of jihad, allowing the penetration of government departments, including the secret services, by personnel connected with militant Islamic organizations, and - worst of all – by weakening and destroying the capacity of the United States to counter the jihad.
Here is Dr. Sebastian Gorka, Military Affairs Fellow of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, describing how this radically transformative action has been accomplished.
The U.S. armed the Afghans and helped them drive out the Soviets, rescued Kuwait and Saudi Arabia from the psychopathic sadist Saddam Hussein, bombed Christian Serbs to rescue Muslim Kosovars and Bosnians, liberated Shiite Iraqis from Hussein, liberated Afghans from the brutal Taliban, poured billions of dollars of aid to terrorist Palestinian regimes, used our jets to help the Muslims in Libya free themselves from the psychotic Gaddafi, and supported in word and coin the jihadist, America-hating, anti-Semitic Muslim Brothers in Egypt so that Muslims can enjoy “freedom and democracy.” And that’s not all. We have incessantly protested our respect for the wonderful Islamic faith, censored our official communications and training programs to remove any references to jihadism or the Islamic theology that justifies holy war, euphemized jihadist attacks like the Fort Hood murders as “workplace violence,” invited imams to pray in the White House, filled our schools with curricula praising Islam and its contributions to civilization, scolded and prosecuted writers or cartoonists who exercise their First Amendment right to criticize Islam, abandoned “profiling” as a technique for identifying possible terrorists trying to board a plane or enter the country, hired as advisors to the FBI, the Pentagon, and the CIA Muslim apologists who recycle blatant lies and distortions – we have done all this liberating of Muslims and flattering of them and their faith, and they still don’t like us, and they still want to kill us.
We’ve taken this list of What America Has Done For Muslims from an article by Bruce Thornton. He compiled it to refute the oft-repeated fallacy that Muslim violence is an understandable (even condonable) reaction to “Western bad behavior”, such as – in Muslim eyes – “colonialism, imperialism, greed for oil, support for Israel, disrespect of Islam and Mohammed, the War on Terror that has demonized Muslims”. He doesn’t indicate approval of any of the actions he lists, but refers to them only to show that accusations of American ill-treatment of Muslims are untrue; that in fact America has treated Muslims tremendously well.
Far too well. That is the point we want to stress. More than that, we say America should not have done any of those things. (With the exception of destroying Saddam Hussein; a worthwhile achievement not because Kuwait and Saudi Arabia were “rescued” from him, but because the destruction of a monstrous tyrant is not a thing to be regretted.)
By going to the aid of the Kosovar terrorists against the Serbs, and the Afghans against the Soviets and the Taliban; by supporting the Muslim Brotherhood and the terrorist Palestinian regimes; by inviting Muslims to give policy advice in government departments; by defending them against criticism and praising them in the schools, America has not only flattered Muslims, but boosted their arrogance, endorsed their claim that they are owed much by the West in general and America in particular. Worse, America’s willingness to expend blood and treasure in their causes has positively encouraged them to carry on with their own “bad behavior” since that is what has brought them such rewards. If they are intensifying their jihad against the non-Muslim world – and they are – it is very largely because the are finding it profitable to do so. Some jihadists might be jailed; a few might even be executed; but for the most part Islam is being treated like the maiden needing to be rescued by the brave knight who will slay any dragon threatening her.
Islam is the self-declared enemy of the West, of America and what America stands for: liberty, tolerance, equality before the law.
Until Islam is treated as the enemy and not as a victim needing rescue and largesse, it will continue to kill and maim Americans, disrupt their lives, deprive them of their nearest and dearest, and constitute an ever intensifying menace.
But will America stop playing Lady Bountiful and St. George to its mortal enemy, and act like the great power it is? Will the present Islam-loving administration be got rid of and sane pro-American leadership take over? Will America win this war?
It is seldom that a news story from the Arab Muslim world has a happy ending. Here’s one that has. The bad guys get what they deserve.
Raymond Ibrahim reports:
Members of the Islamic group “Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice” in Suez, Egypt … took to whipping an Egyptian woman … because of her clothing — only to receive a sound thrashing at the hands of the citizens of Suez.
This is how they looked when justice had been done.
Since Islam regards women as punch-bags, chattels, sex-slaves, at best worth only half as much as a man (as heirs to property or witnesses in a sharia court), it would not seem a sensible idea to send women ambassadors to Islamic countries. But when last did the State Department have a sensible idea?
April Glaspie was US ambassador to Saddam Hussein, and is charged or credited with giving the green light to that abominable tyrant to invade Kuwait in 1991, though whether she intended to or not remains unclear. Saddam probably didn’t give a fig what the woman said anyway.
Now there is a woman in Cairo, Anne Patterson, who represents the US to the Muslim Brotherhood government of Egypt. How well is she doing?
This is from PowerLine, by Scott Johnson:
I’ve foolishly wondered why we’re giving Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood regime — you know, the one in which the President from the Brotherhood forced out the country’s top two military chiefs in order to consolidate his power over the armed forces — a slew of F-16s. If I’d only waited a few days, all would have become clear.
At a ceremony marking the delivery of the first four F-16s to Egypt on Sunday, US Ambassador to Egypt Anne Patterson explained:
“Today’s ceremony demonstrates the firm belief of the United States that a strong Egypt is in the interest of the U.S., the region, and the world. We look to Egypt to continue to serve as a force for peace, security, and leadership as the Middle East proceeds with its challenging yet essential journey toward democracy. … Our thirty-four year security partnership is based upon shared interests and mutual respect. The United States has long recognized Egypt as an indispensible [sic] partner.”
A pretty statement, typical of the Hallmark Card school of diplomacy, where charming dreamers, in select US embassies round the world, substitute their sentiments for reality .
Suitably rough comments by Daniel Pipes are quoted by Scott Johnson:
1) Is not anyone in the Department of State aware that Egypt is now run by an Islamist zealot from the bowels of the Muslim Brotherhood whose goals differ profoundly from those of Americans?
(2) Willfully ignorant, head-in-the-ground statements like this are the embarrassment and ruin of American foreign policy.
(3) What a launch for [new Secretary of State] Kerry, whose mental vapidity promises to make Hillary Clinton actually look good in retrospect.
This report by the (pro-Obama) Washington Post indicates just how much of “a force for peace and security” Egypt is and has been, and just how much its government deserves Americans’ respect:
A recent spate of police violence has highlighted what many Egyptians say is the unchanged nature of their country’s security forces two years after a popular uprising carried with it hopes for sweeping reform.
Long a pillar of Hosni Mubarak’s abusive regime, Egypt’s Interior Ministry, with its black-clad riot police, has increasingly become a sign of renewed repression under Islamist President Mohamed Morsi …
A series of clashes between anti-Islamist protesters and police that began on the second anniversary of Egypt’s revolt has snowballed into a much broader tide of anger toward the police force. Opposition leaders and rights groups say police used excessive force over 10 days of clashes that left more than 60 people dead across the country.
Two recent incidents have fanned the flames of popular dissent. And rights groups and analysts warn that if police reform does not come soon, the force’s brutal tactics are likely to spur more clashes in a cycle that could prove deeply destabilizing …
The death … of Mohammed al-Gindy, a member of the opposition Popular Current party, has driven some of that rage. Gindy’s colleagues said the 28-year-old was tortured to death in police custody after disappearing from a protest Jan. 27.
Sayed Shafiq, the head of investigations at the Interior Ministry, said that Gindy was hit by a car and that his body was found “far away from the area of the clashes,” citing hospital sources.
But Gindy’s ribs and skull had been smashed, and his back and tongue bore the burns of electrical shocks, a party spokesperson said Monday, citing Gindy’s autopsy report. His case follows three deaths by torture since Morsi came to power in June, according to a report on police abuse released last month by the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights (EIPR), a Cairo-based watchdog group.
It was Ambassador Anne Patterson who issued this statement when the US embassy in Cairo was attacked on the anniversary of 9/11 last year:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others
John Tabin at the American Spectator aptly called it “a shameful statement” and further commented:
A stand against those who “abuse” their right to free speech is best suited to authoritarianism, and it’s absolutely grotesque to see American diplomats embracing it. The effort at appeasement was as inefficacious as it was depraved: The protests against the film in question turned more violent after the statement was issued, when the embassy wall was scaled and the American flag was torn down and burned.
By late this evening this was obvious at the White House: “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government,” [said] a source characterized as a “senior administration official” …
That’s all well and good; the statement does indeed look like it wasn’t carefully vetted (the missing period after “others” … [is] how it is on the embassy website). But a not-for-attribution walk-back is hardly sufficient here. Somebody needs to be fired. Given that the embassy’s Twitter account spent the day defending the statement, it’s likely to be more than one somebody that needs to go, perhaps including Ambassador Anne Patterson herself.
It’s not enough to say, after the fact, that a diplomatic statement isn’t the position of the government; if the same diplomats remain on the job, the views that led them to make that statement will lead them to make similar statements in the future. This is a case where personnel is policy, and the clarification of White House policy cannot be taken seriously unless it’s accompanied by a change in personnel.
Yes, a change of personnel above all in the White House itself.
Here is Bret Stephens delivering a captivating speech.
The video runs for over 40 minutes, and deserves to be watched for every moment of it.
Jillian Becker comments on just one point:
“It is a cruel misunderstanding of youth to imagine that the heart of man’s desire is to be free. The heart of man’s desire is to obey.”
Bret Stephens quotes this aperçu from Thomas Mann’s huge novel The Magic Mountain. It is spoken by one of the characters, and Stephens believes it to be true.
Yes, many people – even most perhaps – like to be told what to do. They seek leaders, authorities who can and will instruct and direct them, and take responsibility for what then happens; who will give them purposes and causes and reasons, a meaning for their existence.
But it is also true that there is in human nature a perpetual, irrepressible longing for freedom, for self-determination; an impulse to shake off shackles and restrictions, to spread wings and fly.
The contradictions within human nature contend with each other in The Magic Mountain. It is the great novel of the twentieth century, and I endorse what Stephens says about its relevance to our time. A monumental achievement, it is one of the rare works of fiction to which the word “profound” can be – must be – applied.
The story is set in and around a Swiss alpine sanatorium for the treatment of tuberculosis.
The most important themes Thomas Mann deals with are raised in a debate, carried on day after day through many seasons, between two men who have come to the mountain to be cured of the disease: an Italian rationalist named Settembrini and a Jewish Jesuit (sic) named Naphta. They argue in the presence of the protagonist of the novel, a young man who comes in good health to visit a cousin undergoing the cure at the sanatorium, but stays too long and becomes infected. Settembrini and Naphta vie with each other to win him over, each to his own vision. Their argument is a dialogue of reason with faith, of humanism with nihilism, of science with mysticism, of candor with dissimulation, of restraint with voluptuousness, of classical skepticism with romantic passion, of Life with Death. The statement Stephens quotes is made by Naphta. Youth “feels its deepest pleasure in obedience”, he opines. He means obedience not to the benign orders of a just elder, but to a sinister force: “The order for the day is terror.” Finally, their altercations and rivalry lead them to a duel with pistols. Settembrini, unwilling to kill, fires into the air, upon which Naphta is convulsed with fury and turns his gun on himself. It is the completely logical, only possible, denouement.
Naphta is not, of course, the author’s mouthpiece, though Mann provides him with powerful arguments. Settembrini’s case, though a far better one, is not allowed to be indisputably right in every respect – idealism and reality never being in perfect harmony.
The book ends with the outbreak of the First World War. The reader is brought to ponder the idea that that vast slaughter was an outcome of a deep Settembrini-Naphta conflict in the heart of European man. A failure of reason and an infection of incurable depravity prepared a feast for Death.
A final note: Thomas Mann based Naphta on Georg Lukács, the Hungarian Communist, literary critic, theatre director, and Commissar for Education and Culture in the short-lived red republic set up in Hungary in 1919. In my own slight satirical novel L: A Novel History, I based my anti-hero Louis Zander also on Georg Lukács. My fascination with him was aroused in the first place by the character of Naphta. This post is linked to the Facebook page of L: A Novel History, where much more about the book may be found.
The new president of Egypt, Mohamed Morsi, propounds his political philosophy grounded in hatred.
He also speaks out loud and clear against Obama. But Obama continues to support him with vast sums of American taxpayers’ money.
This is from the Egyptian website Albawaba:
“An Islamist Egypt is a fascist Egypt. It is an Egypt that will use the faith people have in Islam as a religion to gain political power and to exclude and alienate all who are different,” says a former pious Muslim who now describes himself as “Godless and free.” …
While some Islamists widely attack liberals and Christians, describing them as “infidels” (some even going as far as justifying their killing), nonbelievers are not even acknowledged, let alone guaranteed rights in an Islamist Egypt.
“The Egyptian people are religious by nature, and there are no atheists,” said Yusuf al-Qaradawi, one of the most prominent Islamic scholars, if not the most, a few days ago.
The second article of the new constitution reads: “Islam is the religion of the state, Arabic is the official language and the principles of Islamic Sharia (law) is the main source of legislation.” …
“The Brotherhood themselves do not tolerate atheism. If there was another ruling party with the same constitution, they would not be as strict on atheists as the MB,” an aspiring Egyptian journalist who refers to herself as an “atheist” argues. “Nobody in Egypt made a decision to be an atheist without truly understanding and accepting the consequences.What I am actually worried about are the people who will be mistaken for atheists when all they did was crack a joke or disagree with a popular Muslim figure on a subject.” …
“I am afraid Egypt will slip into a period of ‘medieval Europe’ where the church was the main driving force behind the ignorance, intolerance and abuse to human integrity. History teaches us that there is no progress under religious, dogmatic ideology,” [an Egyptian-Canadian says] .
According to Article 60 of the new constitution, all citizens are required to take religion classes before they apply for university. This is not a new feature in Egyptian schools; religion classes (Islamic and Christian) were always mandatory in all national schools.
It remains to be seen how far the Muslim Brotherhood government will tolerate atheism in newly “democratic” Egypt. Our guess is – not far.
The Washington Times reports:
Essam al-Erian, deputy head of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Freedom and Justice Party, called on Egyptian Jews to leave Israel to the Palestinians and return to their own homeland.
“Their presence in Palestine contributes to the Zionist occupation of Arab lands, and every Egyptian has the right to live in his country — nobody can deny that,” Erian said …
“Egyptian Jews should refuse to live under a brutal, bloody and racist occupation stained with war crimes against humanity,” Erian said.
How do such people say such things with a straight face? Are they cynical beyond all shame, or are they utterly without a sense of irony?
From the Jewish Virtual Library, a Division of the American-Israeli Cooperative Enterprise:
Between June and November 1948, bombs set off in the Jewish Quarter of Cairo killed more than 70 Jews and wounded nearly 200. In 1956, the Egyptian government used the Sinai Campaign as a pretext for expelling almost 25,000 Egyptian Jews and confiscating their property. Approximately 1,000 more Jews were sent to prisons and detention camps. On November 23, 1956, a proclamation signed by the Minister of Religious Affairs, and read aloud in mosques throughout Egypt, declared that “all Jews are Zionists and enemies of the state,” and promised that they would be soon expelled. Thousands of Jews were ordered to leave the country. They were allowed to take only one suitcase and a small sum of cash, and forced to sign declarations “donating” their property to the Egyptian government. Foreign observers reported that members of Jewish families were taken hostage, apparently to insure that those forced to leave did not speak out against the Egyptian government.
From the Historical Society of Jews from Egypt:
Egyptian Jews being expelled from Egypt in 1956 under the direction of President Gamal Abd El Nasser … had to sign a pledge of NEVER TO RETURN, leaving behind their possessions, amounting to billions of dollars. All their assets have been placed under sequestration and confiscated by the government of which no restitutions have been made. The policy of sequestration and confiscation was in effect from 1948-1967. During the war of 1967 many Jews were mistreated and placed in jails for no reason other than they are of the Jewish faith. Egypt has yet to apologize. Today, with a handful of Jews left in all of Egypt, our request to salvage and rescue our heritage and religious articles has been denied by Egypt stating it all has been placed under the auspices of the department of Antiquities, and therefore may not leave Egypt.
From The Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs:
Why was the story of the Jewish refugees from Arab countries suppressed? How did it become a forgotten exodus? …
Although they exceed the numbers of the Palestinian refugees, the Jews who fled are a forgotten case. Whereas the former are at the very heart of the peace process with a huge UN bureaucratic machinery dedicated to keeping them in the camps, the nine hundred thousand Jews who were forced out of Arab countries have not been refugees for many years. Most of them, about 650,000, went to Israel because it was the only country that would admit them. Most of them resided in tents that after several years were replaced by wooden cabins, and stayed in what were actually refugee camps for up to twelve years. They never received any aid or even attention from the UN Relief And Works Agency (UNRWA), the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, or any other international agency. Although their plight was raised almost every year at the UN by Israeli representatives, there was never any other reference to their case at the world body. …
Arab statements in the UN General Assembly and the New York Times reports prove that the intention to expel these Jewish populations preceded the establishment of Israel and the plight of the Palestinian refugees. …
What, then, happened to the nine hundred thousand Jews of the Arab countries?
In a few years, Jewish communities that had existed in the Middle East for more than 2,500 years were brutally expelled or had to run for their lives. … Following the Partition Resolution of November 1947, and in some countries even earlier during World War II, Middle Eastern Jews were the targets of official and popular incitement, state-legislated discrimination, and pogroms – again, all this before the massive flight of the Arabs from Palestine. …
In a new book Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner* by Lela Gilbert (an intelligently pro-Israel enthusiast), stories of the Jews’ expulsion from Egypt are related by individuals who were robbed of all their possessions and expelled from the country.
“Levana Zamir [now living in Tel Aviv] … explains that she, her parents and her six brothers were … part of an affluent community … Then the “catastrophe” struck.
“On May 14, 1948,” Levana recalls, “we were sleeping. All of a sudden, exactly at midnight, people were knocking very, very hard on our door. We woke up and I saw ten Egyptian officers in their black uniforms. I wasn’t afraid because my parents were there and my mother was smiling to comfort me. But the soldiers opened everything. They went through everything. They were searching for something, but we never knew what. The next day I went to school (Levana attended a Catholic elementary school). The headmaster of the nuns came to me and said, ‘They took your uncle to prison!’
“My uncle lived in a big villa. He, my father and another brother owned one of the largest printing businesses in Cairo. I rushed home and asked my mother, ‘Is it true? Is he a criminal?’ My mother told me, ‘He’s not a criminal. It’s only because we are Jews’.
“So then it was even more a trauma for me. I thought to myself, I am also a Jew! I too could go to prison!”
Eighteen months later, when her uncle was released from prison like many others — on the condition of permanent expulsion — Levana and her family fled Egypt, leaving behind their sequestrated assets and possessions.
Today, Joseph Abdel Wahed lives in California … He recalls:
“I was 12 years old in May 1948,” Joseph says, “living in Heliopolis (a Cairo suburb). I remember the words of Azzam Pasha, the head of the newly formed Arab League, talking about the founding of Israel. He said, ‘This will be a war of extermination that will be likened to the Mongolian massacre and the Crusades!’ The very next day, the Egyptian army (and four other Arab armies) headed towards the new state of Israel to ‘throw the Jews into the sea.’ It was supposed to be a slam dunk, but they lost.
“By then everything had begun to unravel and our previously secure lives in Egypt had fallen apart. The Jewish section of Cairo, the Haret el Yahud, was bombed every year until 1949 …
Many were killed by the bombs. Jewish establisments were attacked, and individuals assaulted.
“The authorities sometimes played a part in these assaults, especially the Muslim Brotherhood, which began in the late 1920s under the leadership of Hassan el Banna. In 1967, about 400 Egyptian Jews, including my uncle and other relatives were thrown in concentration camps. …
And one more:
Another man whose family fled Egypt, Yossi Ben Aharon, now lives in Jerusalem. A career Israeli diplomat, Ben Aharon served as Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office under Premier Yitzhak Shamir and represented the Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs for nearly a decade in the United States. In a recent interview, Ben Aharon made it abundantly clear that the explosive violence against Jews in the Arab world following May 14, 1948 was no coincidence. He has collected a number of statements of lethal intent made by Arab leaders, calling for the death and destruction of Jews in their Arab homelands in case of the UN Partition of Palestine. …
Ben Aharon explains, “Immediately after the UN approved the Partition resolution on November 29, 1947, Arabs attacked the Jews throughout the Middle East, including Palestine. Yet, since 1949, the Arab states, together with Palestinian organizations, have mounted an intensive propaganda campaign, based on a rewriting of history, in an attempt to shift responsibility for the Palestinian refugee issue on to Israel. They describe the events of 1948 – and the estimated 762,000 Arab refugees – as an ‘ethnic cleansing’ by Israel. The facts of history point to the opposite: ethnic cleansing was perpetrated by Arab governments against their Jews, as witnessed by the fact that 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab countries, while more than 4 million Arabs continue to live in geographic Palestine, including more than a million in Israel. Now, sixty years after the events, the time has come for the historical facts to be recognized and for justice to be done.
“Jews who were ethnically cleansed from the Arab world did not get one penny from the UN, while the Palestinians have received over $50 billion (including funds from the European Union) since 1950. They still are receiving financial assistance.”
Lela Gilbert gives much the same figures as most authoritative sources, according to which the number of Jews living in Egypt at the start of 1948 was estimated between 85,000 and 100,000, and today there are fewer than 50.
She also writes about the fate of the Coptic Christians since the so-called “Arab Spring” was sprung in Egypt.
A massacre took place on Sunday, January 30  at 3 PM in the village of Sharona near Maghagha, Minya province. Two Islamists groups, aided by the Muslim neighbors, descended on the roof of houses owned by Copts, killing eleven Copts, including children, and seriously injuring four others. The two families were staying in their homes with their doors locked when suddenly the Islamists descended on them, killing eleven and leaving for dead four other family members. In addition, they looted everything that was in the two Coptic houses, including money, furniture and electrical equipment. They also looted livestock and grain.”
There have been many more murderous attacks on Christians in Egypt since then. In particular, Lela Gilbert records this appalling event:
In September, 2011, thousands of Muslims were incited by a Salafi imam during Friday prayers to attack a nearby church. The church has constructed a dome on its 70-year-old building … with legal permission from Aswan’s governor. But the iman was offended, and the mob he stirred up ransacked and torched the church … The following month[October 9, 2011], when protestors (most of them Copts) gathered on Cairo’s Maspero District to complain of ongoing attacks against Copts, including the recent destruction of churches, they were ferociously assaulted by the Egyptian military. … At least 27 protestors were killed. The military has refused to take responsibility for the deaths, even though videos of the day’s atrocities circulated widely on the Internet – including a gruesome scene in which military vehicles mowed down and crushed protestors – along with volumes of eyewitness testimony.
See our post More acts of religion, October 15, 2011, which is about this massacre. It is accompanied by this picture:
Our account of the protest, its causes, and the killings ends with these words:
The “Arab Spring” is the same old everlasting Muslim season of misery and death.
In the light of all that, it doesn’t take dyed-in-the-wool skeptics (like us) to work out that Essam al-Erian’s invitation to Jews of Egyptian origin now living in Israel to return “to their homeland” is an invitation to come and be killed.
Postscript: A new report brings no surprise. “The Islamic Jihad has called on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Essam el-Erian to resign from his role as adviser to Morsi and to apologize to the Egyptian people for his statement asking Egyptian Jews to leave Israel and reclaim their properties. … Reaction to El-Erian’s statements was furious. ‘We shall fight them vigorously if they return,’ said Mohamed Abou Samra, the leading figure in the Islamic Jihad movement. “Islamic Shariah says they deserve to be killed. … Their return will be over our dead bodies. We will continue fighting the Jews until the liberation of Palestine or Doomsday.”
*Saturday People, Sunday People: Israel Through the Eyes of a Christian Sojourner by Lela Gilbert, Encounter Books, New York, 2012
This report is from Al-Monitor, translated into English from Al-Masry Al-Youm (Egypt).
(The picture accompanies the original Arabic article.)
It is incautious to trust information from a source named Al-anything, because there is a long established Arab custom of describing events as the reporter would like them to be rather than as they actually are. But it is also a long established Arab custom to torture prisoners, and we think this description has the ring of truth. For one thing, there doesn’t appear to be gross exaggeration: the torture – mostly heavy beating – is less severe than is common in most Arab and Islamic states.
The report provides a picture of how the Muslim Brotherhood’s regime in Egypt deals with those who hold a different political opinion.
Al-Masry Al-Youm spent three hours in total in the torture chambers established by the Muslim Brotherhood at the gates of the Ittihadiya Palace in the suburb of Heliopolis. [City of the Sun - a name recalling the long centuries when Egypt was ruled by Greeks - ed.] The central torture chamber … is secured with a cordon and iron barriers, where the Central Security Forces (CSF) prevent the access of any persons without the authorization of the Brotherhood.
The torture process starts once a demonstrator who opposes President Mohammed is arrested in the clashes or is suspected after the clashes end, and the CSF separate Morsi’s supporters from his opponents. Then, the group members trade off punching, kicking and beating him with a stick on the face and all over his body. They tear off his clothes and take him to the nearest secondary torture chamber from which CSF personnel, members of the Interior Ministry and the State Security Investigations Services (SSIS) are absent.
Before the interrogation process starts, they search him, seize his funds, cellphones or ID, all the while punching and slapping his face in order to get him to confess to being a thug and working for money.
They ask him why he took to the street, whether he got paid to take part in the protest and whether he supports Mohamed ElBaradei, founder of the Constitution Party, or Hamdeen Sabahi, founder of the Egyptian Popular Current or the dissolved Egyptian Nationalist movement. As long as this person denies the allegations, they beat him and insult his parents. After that, a person will videotape the interrogation and contact the Misr 25 TV channel to tell them about the interrogation and arrest.
After a while, the detainee is transported from the secondary torture chamber to the central one. On his way, the beatings and insults continue. Every time the prisoner encounters a member of the Brotherhood, that person gets in his share of the insults and beatings. They also may collectively insult him before he enters the central room, while a Brotherhood lawyer hands over his national ID card, his funds and his belongings to the SSIS chief. …
The health conditions of some of the prisoners was very bad and they were unable to answer questions. Some of them were bleeding all over their bodies, severely exhausted and not receiving any medical aid. However, some got a bottle of water to drink or something to use to stop their bleeding.
Once 10 people had been arrested, police officers and state security chiefs in the chamber demanded that the three Muslim Brotherhood leaders in the room secure passage for the prisoners to the nearby al-Nozha police station and prevented the Brotherhood members from attacking them again. This all really happened.
So the police and state security can exert some authority, but the Muslim Brotherhood must have its vicious way first.
The report indicates what sort of regime Obama is supporting in Egypt.
Political opponents of President Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood have suffered worse atrocities than being beaten to a bloody pulp.
This is from a speech given last September by David Horowitz of the Freedom Center:
In August, the new Egyptian president sacked his military commanders, abrogated the Constitution, and assumed dictatorial powers greater than those possessed by his predecessor, transforming Egypt into an Islamist state. Opponents of the dictatorship were crucified – literally nailed to crosses – in front of the government headquarters. It was the Brotherhood’s way of dramatizing its intentions to turn Egypt into a Medieval totalitarian state.
Bashar Assad, Dictator of Syria, is a cruel man. Most dictators are. He’s a cool mass murderer, as his father was before him. Holding on to power seems to be his only aim, however small the Syrian nation may be that eventually remains for him to exercize power over.
A part of the oppressed nation is now rebelling against him in diverse fighting factions, not a co-ordinated force under a single command. For some reason we cannot figure out, the Western powers want this rabble of rebels to succeed in overthrowing Assad. They must imagine that whichever faction leader supplants Assad will be a better dictator. They surely cannot expect him not to be a dictator at all. As with the rebel rabbles in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya they spoke of the insurgent masses as aspiring democrats, thirsting for liberty. They helped rebels to topple sitting dictators. They applauded when, the old dictators gone, temporary authorities smiling like crocodiles presided over Western-style elections. It was a grand show, a political charade. The result has been new oppressors coming to power in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.
Why do we of little faith suppose that the same result will come about in Syria? Might there not be a faction among the rebels there which has a humane, tolerant sort of leader, one who respects human life, abominates torture, wants more nursery schools, cleaner hospitals, a better transport system, and genuine friendship with the West?
What is known about the rebel groups? Anything at all? We’ve heard that there are al-Qaeda affiliates among them. How big? Growing or shrinking? How armed and by whom?
We found some answers in an article by Jackson Diehl, deputy editor of the editorial page of the Washington Post. (Surprisingly, it is critical of President Obama.)
For more than a year, the Obama administration has been assuring the world that the downfall of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad is “a matter of time.” Yes, its own Middle East experts warned, but how much time matters. The longer the fighting goes on, they said, the more likely it is that what began as a peaceful mass opposition movement would be hijacked by extremists, including allies of al-Qaeda.
President Obama ignored that advice, ruling out measures that could have quickly brought down the regime — such as a no-fly zone — in favor of a year of feckless diplomacy. But it turned out the experts were right. So now the consequence of Obama’s passivity has a name, one that will surely haunt the occupant of the White House in 2013: Jabhat al-Nusra.
Actually, the full name of the Middle East’s latest jihadist terror movement, announced on an al-Qaeda-linked Web site last January, is Jabhat al-Nusra li-Ahl al-Sham Min Mujaheddin al Sham fi Sahat al Jihad, which means “Support Front for the People of Syria from the Mujaheddin of Syria in the places of Jihad.”
It was dismissed at first as a hoax, or maybe as a concoction of Assad’s intelligence service. Now its black flag is recognized, and often cheered, across Syria, and its bearded, baggy-pantalooned fighters are at the forefront of the critical battle for the city of Aleppo.
In the spring Jabhat al-Nusra had maybe 50 adherents, most of them in hiding, and had claimed credit for only a handful of attacks. Now it may have close to 1,000 core followers, and fighting units around Syria have begun openly claiming to belong to it. On YouTube, videos show the residents of areas taken over by the rebels waving its flag and chanting its name.
“They have been able to take an extremist identity and really give it a popular following in a context of bloody civil war,” says Elizabeth O’Bagy, the author of a sobering study of Syria’s jihadists for the Institute for the Study of War. “They have become the most significant threat to long-term stability in Syria.”
“Stability in Syria.” There was stability of a kind under Assad dictatorship. One of the abiding mysteries is why persons in the West want stability at any cost in regions of wretchedness such as the Arab Middle East. Whether stable or in the throes of revolution, wretchedness is the norm and survival is precarious. But we value Elizabeth O’Bagy’s information that this al-Qaeda affiliated faction has become most significant.
Was it to them the murdered US ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and the large CIA operation set up in Benghazi, were organizing the shipment of arms through Turkey? (See our post Obama the arms broker to al-Qaeda, October 26, 2012.) To what extent has aid and encouragement from the Obama administration helped Jabhat al-Nusra to grow?
Jackson Diehl anticipates our question and replies:
No, Barack Obama’s policies alone did not create this monster. [Our emphasis.] It is, first of all, a creature of Assad’s own regime, blowback from his years of sponsoring terrorist networks in Lebanon, Iraq and the Palestinian territories. For more than a decade, Syrian intelligence allowed al-Qaeda and other jihadist groups to establish bases and logistical networks to support attacks on American troops in Iraq, anti-Syrian politicians in Lebanon, and Israel. Now many of those rat lines have been reversed, and the extremists are targeting Assad.
He sponsored their training and arming. Now the beast he has fattened is turning on him. It’s a perfect vignette of Middle Eastern chaos.
They do so because they were never his natural allies — Assad’s Alawite sect, an offshoot of Shiite Islam, is considered heretical by the Sunni jihadists — and because they see an opening to rebuild a movement that was shattered in Iraq and Afghanistan.
One of the first contingents to bolster Jabhat al-Nusra, O’Bagy found, came from Fatah al Islam, a former Syrian intelligence client that launched a battle in 2007 to take over a Palestinian refugee camp near Tripoli, Lebanon. “These individuals,” O’Bagy writes, “received training in weapons and insurgency tactics from the Syrian government and gained experience using them in Iraq and Lebanon. They also have knowledge of and connections to the Syrian intelligence and security apparatus.”
In fact, the group has specialized in attacks on intelligence facilities. On Oct. 9, it staged a sophisticated, three-stage assault on an air force intelligence compound outside Damascus. Earlier in the month, it claimed credit for a string of bombings in Aleppo that targeted an officer’s club and other government-held facilities, reportedly killing dozens.
The rebel groups are not even willingly co-operating with each other. Only for the moment they fight together because they have the common aim of toppling the tyrant Assad.
Leaders of the Free Syrian Army, the mainstream rebel force that emerged from the original protest movement, don’t support the jihadists or their tactics. But as the war in cities like Aleppo becomes more desperate, Jabhat al-Nusra has provided precious reinforcements. Thanks to generous support from sources in Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states, its units are often better-armed than secular forces …
We note in passing that this al-Qaeda linked faction is generously supported by the Saudis. But we stop to consider what O’Bagy says next -
… which have been starved by Obama’s ban on U.S. weapon supplies.
“Obama’s ban on U.S. weapon supplies.” So to whichever factions Ambassador Stevens and the CIA were getting or trying to get arms, whether to the “secular” forces or the al-Qaeda affiliates or both, Obama was subverting his own policy? If that is so, it can be no wonder that he is trying to cover up the disaster in Libya.
The result, says O’Bagy, is that the character of Syria’s opposition has changed. “It’s no longer a pro-democracy force trying to bring down a dictatorship. It no longer holds the moral high ground. They have muddied the waters.”
“No longer a pro-democracy force”. Was it ever?
The Washington Post article ends on a note of dire warning:
If the war drags on, Jabhat al-Nusra will surely grow stronger. … It could try to get hold of Syria’s abundant stocks of chemical weapons. And it could start looking beyond Syria for targets. You might say it’s a matter of time.
Does Obama have the faintest idea of what he has got America into? Does Defense Secretary Panetta? Or CIA chief General Petraeus? Or Secretary of State Hillary Clinton?
We very much doubt it.