Sunday, June 30, 2013

The Victims Of The Arab Spring Are Not Just Christians -- They Are Shiite Muslims Too

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Shias: The Arab Spring's Latest Victims


by Raymond Ibrahim
June 25, 2013

The U.S.-sponsored "Arab Spring" continues to expose itself as a Sunni supremacist takeover. While the indicators are many—from the al-Qaeda Benghazi consulate attack to the ongoing persecution of Christian minorities—attacks on Shia Muslims are also on the rise.

Neither The Obama Administration Nor The Media Have Realized They Are Being Played By The Islamists

"It’s remarkable how America’s enemies fool them and the mass media, too."
Barry Rubin

Barry Rubin notes that Fools Rush In Where Statesmen Fear to Tread:
How many of those enthusiastically cheering on giving arms to the Free Syrian Army really comprehend that they are going directly to the Muslim Brotherhood? Even though they should know this, they don’t really seem to comprehend who these people are and what this means. (We cannot say it too often: the Muslim Brotherhood are unrepentant Nazi collaborators, among other things.) There are about 300 nationalist officers in Turkey but all the soldiers in the field pretty watch are Brotherhood types (though not necessarily under the Muslim Brotherhood's direct discipline.

Does Kerry Realize That Abbas and the Palestinian Arabs Have No Interest In a Peace Agreement With Israel?

The growing resentment about Abbas's autocratic regime and refusal to share powers and plans with other Palestinians cast doubt on his ability to win the support of a majority of Palestinians for resuming peace talks, let alone signing a peace treaty with Israel.

Abbas's autocratic rule and the frustration of many Palestinians do not seem to bother Kerry.
Khaled Abu Toameh

While Kerry's visits to the Middle East are well-publicized, Khaled Abu Toameh notes What the U.S. Does Not Want to Know About Abbas -- namely that Abbas is a despot who does not have the backing of his people.

Indeed, Toameh describes how Abbas has followed in the footsteps of his mentor, Yasir Arafat, in accumulating power:

Daniel Pipes Suggests Obama Save His Presidency By Bombing Iran

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

Obama to Save Presidency by Bombing Iran?
Round Two

by Daniel Pipes
June 27, 2013
Cross-posted from National Review Online, The Corner

wrote an article 3½ years ago, at a low moment in Obama's first term, when his ratings tanked and his party just lost Edward Kennedy's senate seat to a Republican, that usefully suggested that Obama could "salvage his tottering administration" by taking "dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a lightweight, bumbling ideologue, preferably in an arena where the stakes are high, where he can take charge, and where he can trump expectations." He could do well and do good, I offered, by taking out the Iranian nuclear infrastructure.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Expectations As John Kerry Visits Israel Again

From Arlene Kushner:
June 28, 2013

And Here We Go

Secretary of State Kerry is convinced that it's necessary to make progress with negotiations before September, when the UN convenes for the new season.  Otherwise, goes his reasoning, Abbas will go to the UN with more unilateral plans.
Well, sorry about that.  Israel cannot negotiate by herself, or concede what should not be conceded, to stop Abbas's UN shenanigans.
Earlier in June, Kerry addressed the American Jewish Committee Global Forum in Washington, and explained to his Jewish audience how serious the consequences would be if no deal were to be reached:
“Think about what could happen next door.  The Palestinian Authority has committed itself to a policy of nonviolence. … Up until recently, not one Israeli died from anything that happened from the West Bank until there was a settler killed about a month ago.

Karsenty's Al-Durah Defamation Acquittal Overturned on Technicality -- Revealing Problems In the Media and French Legal System

On Wednesday, a French court found Philippe Karsenty guilty of defamation when he claimed that France 2's Charles Enderlin's video of the death of Mohammed Al Durah, was inaccurate and the death of the boy a hoax.

Typical of the media reporting of the case is the Associated Press report Frenchman convicted of defamation for saying film showing Palestinian boy’s death was faked:
In a report issued in 2004, Philippe Karsenty said the footage was orchestrated and there was no proof that the boy had been killed.

France-2 sued for defamation, and after a long legal battle, a Paris court fined Karsenty 7,000 euros Wednesday. He called the verdict “outrageous.”
The sloppiness of AP report is illustrated by the way it omits the fact that in 2008, Karsenty was actually acquitted of the charge of defamation.

Video: Latma On The Kerry Peace Plan

This week's Latma takes a look at Kerry's peace plan and Health Minister Yair Lapid's organ donor program.

Here is the video:

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Arlene Kushner on Obama Administration's Increasingly Troublesome Alliance With Islamist Extremists

From Arlene Kushner:
June 27, 2013

First Order of Concern

There are many issues that beg to be examined, but my attention has been drawn first to an alarming piece by Claire M. Lopez (with thanks to Dan F.).
The piece?  "U.S. Keeps Joining the Forces of Jihad."  If that title alone is not enough to get your attention you may be fast asleep. (Emphasis is added.)
"With the June 13, 2013 confirmation by senior Obama administration officials that the president has authorized sending weapons directly to Syrian rebels, there is a trend developing that can no longer be ignored. This is the third country and the third instance in which Barack Obama has leapt into the fray of revolution to the defense of al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood forces within days of an explicit call for action by Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood. While no ironclad case for linkage can be proven, even just the appearance, in and of itself, of responsiveness by the U.S. government to declared Brotherhood imperatives ought to be concerning.

"Speaking on Al-Arabiya Television on June 9, 2013, al-Qaradawi called for jihad in Syria:...

"Four days later, on June 13, Ben Rhodes, the Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, announced that the intelligence community had arrived at an assessment 'that the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, on a small scale against the opposition multiple times in the last year.' This conveniently-timed and entirely unsourced finding set the stage for the White House announcement the next day about Obama's authorization of military aid to the Syrian rebels. The Supreme Military Council, which claims leadership of the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Free Syrian Army and is headed by BG Salim Idriss, has been selected to receive the weapons."
A clarification: In recent weeks, when other nations, including Israel, had confirmed to their leaders' satisfaction, via intelligence sources, that Assad had used chemical weapons, Obama was hemming and hawing, claiming he needed better evidence.  He wasn't ready to act.  How suspect, then, is this announcement that suddenly the intelligence community had arrived at an assessment regarding use of chemical weapons.  Lopez's point here, which is critical, is very clear.  The Obama administration fell back on assessments made in the recent past -- assessments he had labeled inadequate -- when it suddenly suited the president to act.  There was no new evidence presented.
Lopez then proceeds to track the other occasions on which Obama pronouncements have followed al-Qaradawi pronouncements:  First, with regard to the necessity of Mubarak departing from office.  And then with regard to the situation in Libya.  In the second instance, al-Qaradawi issued a fatwa (a religious ruling) calling for the murder of Qadaffi, and this was followed by Obama's signing a secret document authorizing support for the al-Qaeda dominated anti-Qadaffi forces.  (What happened in Benghazi was directly related to this: Ambassador Stevens was the US liaison to those al-Qaeda dominated anti-Qadaffi forces.)
"It was the fall of rebel-held Qusayr to Syrian regime forces on June 5, 2013 that seemed to spur both the al-Qaradawi jihad fatwa and Obama's decision to follow suit and expand assistance to the al-Qa'eda and Muslim Brotherhood-led rebels.

"In each of these instances — Egypt, Libya, and now Syria — it is 'completely clear,' as Barry Rubin writes, 'that the United States is backing people who hate it.' It is also completely clear that, at least since President Obama green-lighted the Islamic Awakening in his June 2009 Cairo speech, U.S. policy has been turned upside-down: in very tangible terms, the U.S. government has joined the forces of jihad to overthrow the unfaithful Arab and Muslim rulers that the Muslim Brotherhood Supreme Guide Muhammad Badi so blatantly threatened (along with the U.S. and Israel) in his late September 2010 call for jihad. In so doing, U.S. leadership is deliberately and proactively enabling the self-declared forces of Islamic jihad and shariah, who make no secret of their enmity and loathing for the U.S. and Western civilization in general, to come to power in country after country of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.

"The results have been disastrous...

"We have come full circle from going after al Qaeda to indirectly backing al Qaeda," said one US official, speaking about the recent decision to arm these jihadist Syrian rebels...

"The sooner U.S. senior leadership realizes that, whether Shi'ite or Sunni, jihadis fight for the same objectives — restoration of the Caliphate (or Imamate) and enforcement of Islamic Law — the better for American core national security interests..."
Are you deeply disturbed yet?  Furious perhaps?  In my humble opinion both reactions are appropriate.  Will the American electorate continue to sit still for this, burying its collective head in the sand?  Read this article in its entirety, please, and share as broadly as you can.  Ask hard questions. Make your voices heard. 
For the record: Currently a senior fellow at the Gatestone Institute, the Center for Security Policy and the Clarion Fund and vice president of the Intelligence Summit, Clare Lopez was formerly a career operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency, a professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, Executive Director of the Iran Policy Committee from 2005-2006, and has served as a consultant, intelligence analyst, and researcher for a variety of defense firms.
That is, she knows whereof she speaks.

Clare Lopez.
Credit: Gatestone

An exclusive released yesterday by Steve Emerson's Investigative Project on Terrorism serves as a companion piece to the Lopez article.  Written by David Martasko, it reveals the fact that a deputy of Yusuf al-Qaradawi (the very same al-Qaradawi alluded to by Lopez), Sheikh Abdallah bin Bayyah, met with staffers of the White House Security Council on June 13. 
June 13? That's the very day that the Obama administration announced plans to arm Syrian rebels.  How about that?
Bin Bayyah, who poses as a moderate, has referred to al-Qaradawi as "a mountain upon whose peak there is light" and as "a great reformer" who "spreads knowledge and wisdom."
According to the Investigative Project report, "Al-Qaradawi is generally considered the leading Islamic scholar affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. He has called openly for the destruction of Israel and the deaths of all Jews, called Adolf Hitler a divine punishment for the 'misdeeds of the Jews' and claimed the Nazi Holocaust has been popularly exaggerated.
"Al-Qaradawi has also said he wants to die 'in the service of jihad' by blowing himself up in Israel and killing Jews in the process...

"The two clerics' close association has caused reputational trouble for bin Bayyah among Western governments, and the U.S. State Department has denied al-Qaradawi entry into the country since 1999. But the Obama administration welcomed bin Bayyah into the White House." (Emphasis added)
The report documents bin Bayyah's presence at a "December 2012 International Union of Muslim Scholars' board meeting in Doha, Qatar...The meeting ended with a call for the destruction of the state of Israel."

Gayle Smith, Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Development and Democracy at the National Security Council, met with bin Bayyah. According to the sheikh's website, so did National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (although that reference was erased after inquiries were made).

Read: EXCLUSIVE: Deputy of banned suicide-bomb-endorsing cleric Yusuf al-Qaradawi had White House meeting with National Security Council staff
And then, a piece written by Raymond Ibrahim. Another analyst who knows what he's talking about, he is a Coptic Christian, American-born of Egyptian immigrants, and fluent in Arabic. A Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center and an Associate Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

Raymond Ibrahim
Credit: Komonews
His article is entitled, "Obama to Egyptian Christians: Don't Protest the Brotherhood."  In this instance, emphasis was in the original throughout.
"As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi's rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse the Tahrir protests that earlier ousted Mubarak. Accordingly, among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to urge his flock, Egypt's millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.

"While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protesting—including the Copts. The June 18 edition of Sadi al-Balad reports that lawyer Ramses Naggar, the Coptic Church's legal counsel, said that during [Anne] Patterson's June 17 meeting with Pope Tawadros, she "asked him to urge the Copts not to participate" in the demonstrations against Morsi and the Brotherhood.

"The Pope politely informed her that his spiritual authority over the Copts does not extend to political matters.

"Regardless, many Egyptian activists are condemning Patterson for continuously behaving like the Muslim Brotherhood's stooge. Leading opposition activist Shady el-Ghazali Harb said Patterson showed 'blatant bias' in favor of Morsi and the Brotherhood, adding that her remarks had earned the U.S. administration 'the enmity of the Egyptian people.' Coptic activists like George Ishaq openly told Patterson to 'shut up and mind your own business.'...

"Indeed, the U.S. ambassador's position as the Brotherhood's lackey is disturbing—and revealing—on several levels. First, all throughout the Middle East, the U.S. has been supporting anyone and everyone opposing their leaders—in Libya against Gaddafi, in Egypt itself against 30-year U.S. ally Mubarak, and now in Syria against Assad. In all these cases, the U.S. has presented its support in the name of the human rights and freedoms of the people against dictatorial leaders.

"So why is the Obama administration now asking Christians not to oppose their rulers—in this case, Islamists—who have daily proven themselves corrupt and worse, to the point that millions of Egyptians, most of them Muslims, are trying to oust them?

"What's worse is that the human rights abuses Egypt's Coptic Christians have been suffering under Muslim Brotherhood rule are significantly worse than the human rights abuses that the average Egyptian suffered under Mubarak—making the Copts' right to protest even more legitimate, and, if anything, more worthy of U.S support...

"Yet despite the fact that if anyone in Egypt has a legitimate human rights concern against the current Egyptian government, it most certainly is the Christian Copts, here is the U.S., in the person of Ms. Patterson, asking them not to join the planned protests.

"In other words, and consistent with Obama administration doctrine, when Islamists—   including rapists and cannibals—wage jihad on secular leaders, the U.S. supports them; when Christians protest Islamist rulers who are making their lives a living hell, the administration asks them to "know their place" and behave like dhimmis, Islam's appellation for non-Muslim "infidels" who must live as third class "citizens" and never complain about their inferior status."
Shocking and shameful. What has the US become?
All other matters I had expected to write about today will keep until I write again.  What is here must be digested thoroughly and used extensively.
© 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. 
If it is reproduced and emphasis is added, the fact that it has been added must be noted.

If you found this post interesting or informative, please it below. Thanks!

Technorati Tag: and .

Mideast Media Sampler 6/27/13: Karsenty Loses In Al-Durah Case, As French Court Refused To Hold Media Accountable

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

Karsenty, Accountability lose

A few weeks ago Israel's government released a critique of the Al Dura case. During the so-called "Aqsa intifada," Mohammed al-Dura was allegedly killed by the IDF during a shootout at the Netzarim Junction in Gaza. Or so it was reported by France's Channel 2 and its reporter Charles Enderlin. Al-Dura became a cause in the Arab world. His image was put on postage stamps to inflame the "Arab street" against Israel. The Palestinian Authority released a video starring "Al-Dura" encouraging other children to become martyrs

When the report was released, the Jerusalem Post's diplomatic correspondent Herb Keinon wondered:
But still. Israel, by releasing this report 13 years on, has put this picture back into people’s minds, and it is not entirely clear whose interests are served by resurrecting this potent image.
Richard Landes responded:

IRS Seeks To Dismiss Lawsuit By Pro-Israel Z Street, While Trying To Avoid Testifying Before Congress

WED., JUNE 26, 2013
CONTACT: +Lori Lowenthal Marcus,

IRS First Post-Scandal Appearance in Court Reveals Effort to Run From Justice

Yesterday marked a new entry in an ongoing pattern of changing stories and defenses to prevent the light of day from exposing egregiously unconstitutional behavior by one of the most dreaded limbs of government: the Internal Revenue Service. 

“It is no surprise that the IRS is desperately fighting to prevent anyone from learning exactly how the IRS decided to categorize organizations on the basis of their political, religious or other viewpoints, an issue from which the government entity has been reeling for weeks, and with good reason,” said Lori Lowenthal Marcus, president of Z STREET.

Women of the Wall Meet Their Match

Outmaneuvered by Two Young Women

by Jonathan Rosenblum
June 19, 2013

For well over a decade, I ran a media relations office in Jerusalem on behalf of Agudath Israel of America. I used to think I did a pretty good job. Not any more.

For the past six weeks, I've been watching from the sidelines as Ronit Peskin and Leah Aharoni have run a multi-pronged response to the well-oiled publicity machine that is Women of the Wall. Despite spotting WoW a 24-year head start, they have managed in that brief period to completely reset the terms of the public debate. And they have done so while raising families and running their own businesses, and without taking a penny in salaries.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Arlene Kushner on the Growing Opposition in Likud to John Kerry's Pressure on Israel

From Arlene Kushner:
June 26, 2013

The More Things Change...

There I was, for several days (as may happen again), focused on family matters and attending to the news less vigorously than is my norm.  Now that I'm back to concentrating on Israeli and world events, I'm not sure how much I really missed.  Certain issues are simply recycled, and recycled, and recycled.
I have in mind, most significantly, the prospect of Secretary of State Kerry returning to this area to "advance" the "peace process."  He will arrive in Amman, Jordan late today and use this as his base for shuttle diplomacy.  An exercise in futility that I had expected him to abandon before now.  Silly me.

Despite Egyptian Persecution of Christians, Obama Asks Them NotTo Protest Against Muslim Brother and Morsi

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Obama to Egyptian Christians:
Don't Protest the Brotherhood

by Raymond Ibrahim
June 25, 2013

As Egyptians of all factions prepare to demonstrate in mass against the Muslim Brotherhood and President Morsi's rule on June 30, the latter has been trying to reduce their numbers, which some predict will be in the millions and eclipse the Tahrir protests that earlier ousted Mubarak. Accordingly, among other influential Egyptians, Morsi recently called on Coptic Christian Pope Tawadros II to urge his flock, Egypt's millions of Christians, not to join the June 30 protests.

While that may be expected, more troubling is that the U.S. ambassador to Egypt is also trying to prevent Egyptians from protesting—including the Copts. The June 18 edition of Sadi al-Balad reports that lawyer Ramses Naggar, the Coptic Church's legal counsel, said that during Patterson's June 17 meeting with Pope Tawadros, she "asked him to urge the Copts not to participate" in the demonstrations against Morsi and the Brotherhood.
The Pope politely informed her that his spiritual authority over the Copts does not extend to political matters.

Regardless, many Egyptian activists are condemning Patterson for continuously behaving like the Muslim Brotherhood's stooge.

Mideast Media Sampler 6/26/13: Kerry Plodding On -- With Help of New York Times and Robert Malley

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) Kerry to make his mark?

Michael Gordon profiles the new Secretary of State, in Following a Star, Kerry applies a Personal touch
Secretary of State John Kerry flew to Moscow early last month, determined to involve Russia in a new push to try to end the carnage in Syria. After a two-and-a-half-hour meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, and a private stroll with Sergey V. Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister, the two sides announced they would convene a conference in Geneva to bring representatives of the Syrian government together with the opposition, possibly by the end of May. The idea of a conference was a bold move — and so far, at least, an unsuccessful one. 

"Homegrown Terrorists, Rebels in Search of a Cause"

The following by Peter Al Olsson is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Homegrown Terrorists, Rebels in Search of a Cause

by Peter A. Olsson
Middle East Quarterly
Summer 2013, pp. 3-10 (view PDF)

The Boston bombing has refocused public attention on a steadily growing phenomenon the Obama administration has been trying to sweep under the carpet: domestic Islamist terrorists whose familiarity with American culture makes them more difficult to detect prior to their acts of terror. By way of preventing similar attacks, therefore, it is necessary not only to monitor terror networks but also to understand the psychodynamics of the creation of "homegrown terrorists" in general, and the appeal of radical Islam to "In-betweeners"—young persons in a transitional phase in one or more key aspects of their lives—in particular.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Video: CAMERA's Dexter Van Zile Interviewed on Rabbi Kaufman's "Understanding the World"

Dexter Van Zile of CAMERA speaks about how Christian media and institutions relate to Israel.
The interview begins at about 9:50 into the video.

Here is the interview:

When Rabbi Berel Wein Met Israel's Chief Rabbi Yitzchak Halevi Herzog

Rabbi Herzog's Charge

by Jonathan Rosenblum
Mishpacha Magazine
June 5, 2013

Last week, I had the pleasure of moderating a discussion between Rabbi Emanuel Feldman and Rabbi Berel Wein, as these two still active giants of the American rabbinate reminisced about their more than half-century public careers. In the course of the evening, Rabbi Wein told a story of a meeting with Rabbi Yitzchak Isaac Halevi Herzog, the first Ashkenazi Chief Rabbi of Israel, and its impact on his life.

One morning in 1946, Rabbi Wein's father, the rav of a congregation on Chicago's West Side, woke him early in the morning and told him that they were going out to the airport to greet Rabbi Herzog. Eleven-year-old Berel was as excited by his first ever trip to the airport as he was by the prospect of greeting the Chief Rabbi. The greeting party, consisting of all the rabbonim of Chicago, gathered on the tarmac itself to greet Chief Rabbi Herzog.

Will Kerry Bring Jews To His Meeting With Abbas -- And If He Does, Will Abbas Let Them In?

It may seem like a silly, even awkward, question but based on the apparent policy of the Abbas regime -- the question is pertinent.

Khaled Abu Toameh writes: Palestinians: "No Jews Allowed!":
Just last week, for example, a journalist who requested a meeting between Western journalists and a top Palestinian Authority official was told "to make sure there were no Jews or Israelis" among the visitors.

Ali Alfoneh Reviews "The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Years Conflict with Iran"

The following by Ali Alfoneh is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Twilight War
The Secret History of America's
Thirty-Years Conflict with Iran

by David Crist
Penguin Press, 2012. 656 pp. $36

Reviewed by Ali Alfoneh
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 87-92 (view PDF)

What the Iran-Iraq War Can Teach U.S. Officials

Relations with Iran have challenged every U.S. administration since the 1979 revolution, and all U.S. presidents since Jimmy Carter have had to address the regime's attempts to export its Islamist revolution abroad, its fierce opposition to the Arab-Israeli peace process, and its dogged nuclear quest. As President Barack Obama begins a second term in office, it would serve the president and those advising him well to truly understand the mindset of the revolutionary regime in order to avoid repeating past mistakes.

The task of untangling that history, facilitated by such books as Kenneth Pollack's The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America[1] and Patrick Clawson and Michael Rubin's Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos,[2] has now received a major boost with David Crist's excellent new title The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran.[3] Based on twenty years of archival research and four hundred interviews, it is a serious contribution to our understanding of the turbulent relations between Washington and Tehran during the past three decades. Crist highlights both the immaturity of the revolutionary regime in Tehran and errors in judgment by Washington that have led to numerous missed opportunities to normalize relations over the years.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Video: Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's First Bedouin Diplomat, Interviewed on Rabbi Kaufman's "Understanding the World"

Ishmael Khaldi, Israel's first Bedouin diplomat, was interviewed by Rabbi David Kaufman on May 30, 2013 about a variety of issues -- including the Arab community in Israel and anti-Israel activity in Britain, where Mr Khaldi now resides.

Mr. Khaldi is also the author of A Shepherd's Journey: Tthe Story of Israel's First Bedouin Diplomat, a biography of his life and experiences.

The interview begins at approximately 8:45 into the interview.

Here is the video:

Rockets Fired From Gaza Highlight The Problems With Kerry's Middle East Peace Process

Jonathan S. Tobin describes how Gaza Illustrates Palestinian Statehood, as Israel somehow becomes the focal point in the battle between Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza:
[T]he Islamic Jihad group fired half a dozen rockets at southern Israel from Gaza. Israel responded with air strikes on the terrorists and the upshot was that for the first time in six months the fragile cease-fire between the Hamas rulers of the strip and Israel seemed in danger. But as the Times of Israel pointed out [In upside-down Gaza, rockets fired at Israel actually aim to hurt Hamas], the rockets were not so much aimed at Israelis (though if some Jews had been killed that would have been considered a welcome bonus by the shooters) as they were at Hamas.

Egypt And How The West and The Pundits Got The Arab Spring So Totally Wrong

Barry Rubin addresses the failure in the West to understand the Middle East and the need to realize
Unlike Madonna, the Middle East Isn't A "Material Girl":
A reader pointed out that in the West, it is assumed to be obvious that Arabs understand that material advancement is necessary for progress and power. For example, Tom Friedman talked about the UN Arab Human development report written by Arab liberals. In other words, the Arabic-speaking world is shaped by the failure of leaders to understand that Western pundits know far more about their society than they do.

Understanding that Friedman doesn’t understand the Middle East, though he has persuaded a big audience otherwise, is the beginning of wisdom on the region.

NGO Monitor: Speaking Out about "Breaking the Silence"

June 25, 2013 
Lenny Ben-David
NGO Monitor

Speaking Out about
"Breaking the Silence"

Jerusalem - The intense international campaign by Breaking the Silence (BtS) resulted in a strong rebuttal from an official of the IDF Spokesperson's Unit, and in this context, NGO Monitor is providing additional background information and analysis on BtS and this issue.

As shown in NGO Monitor's detailed research reports, BtS presents a highly distorted perspective, distributing unverifiable "testimonies" by former IDF soldiers.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Video: Barry Rubin Interviewed About Middle East on Rabbi Kaufman's Understanding the World -- May 9, 2013

Rabbi Kaufman interviewed Middle East expert and author Barry Rubin on his show Understanding the World, on May 9, 2013.

The interview with Barry Rubin begins at 10:00 into the show.

Here is the video:

Oh Oh: Virginia's Islamic Saudi Academy Has Curriculum Just Like "They Are Used to Back in Saudi Arabia"

The following by Cinnamon Stillwell is reposted here with permission of Campus Watch:

Why Saudis Send Their Kids to the Islamic Saudi Academy

by Cinnamon Stillwell  •  Jun 12, 2013 at 1:24 pm

Interview With Barry Rubin on the Situation in Turkey and Syria

The following is from an interview Barry Rubin gave to National Review's Kathryn Jean Lopez on June 13: What’s Happening in Turkey? And how will it end? It is reposted here with permission.
Barry Rubin
Middle East expert Barry Rubin

Q: Are the protests in Turkey more Arab Spring or Occupy Wall Street?

A: The ideas that this is some far left thing is a slander by Islamists. Those involved include a wide front of social democrats, liberals, and conservatives (usually called center-right in Turkey), and all sorts of people who are tired of a ten-year-long march toward Islamism. This is the kind of thing we should be supporting. Instead, unfortunately, the Obama Administration is on the side of the democratically elected dictator, so to speak. (See: ‘Model’ Muslim State Turkey Accelerates Towards Tyranny)

Q: What is this exposing about Erdogan?

Religion of Peace: Violence and Context in Islamic Texts

The following by Mark Durie is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Violence and Context in Islamic Texts

by Mark Durie
Gatestone Institute
June 20, 2013

Recently, the journalist Paul Sheehan, reflecting on the Woolwich beheading of Drummer Lee Rigby, invited consideration of the view of Muslim violence in authoritative Islamic texts. In the Sydney Morning Herald of May 27, 2013, Sheehan observed that the Koran and the teachings of Muhammad seem to be a factor behind Muslim violence, and offered these critical observations:
  • Many violent attacks on civilians are done in the name of Islam.
  • The existence of violent Islamic sectarian conflict and the repression of religious dissent in Muslim nations give the lie to the "absurd claim" that Islam is "the religion of peace."
  • Many verses in the Koran call for violence against unbelievers, and these are invoked by Muslims who murder others: "So many Muslims have been encouraged to murder civilians by such exhortations that the rate of violent incidents perpetrated in the name of Islam is staggering, a toll that shows no sign of subsiding."
A rejoinder was published the next day by Associate Professor Mohamad Abdalla, founding director of the Islamic Research Unit at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. Abdalla rejected the proposition that Islam supports killing innocent people: "A contextual reading of the Koran or Hadith leads to one conclusion only: there is no justification for killing of innocent people…"

Friday, June 21, 2013

Raymond Ibrahim: Christendom's Greatest Cathedral to Become a Mosque

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum

Christendom's Greatest Cathedral to Become a Mosque

by Raymond Ibrahim
PJ Media
June 18, 2013

While unrest in Turkey continues to capture attention, more subtle and more telling events concerning the Islamification of Turkey — and not just at the hands of Prime Minister Erdogan but majorities of Turks — are quietly transpiring. These include the fact that Turkey's Hagia Sophia museum is on its way to becoming a mosque.

Why does the fate of an old building matter?

Is Obama's Buddy, Tayyip "Mosques Are Our Barracks" Erdogan Also A Reformist?

We have been informed by the media that newly elected Iranian president Hassan Rohani is a moderate -- this despite the fact that
But Rohani is not the first Islamist to be hailed as a moderate -- take Turkey's Erodgan, for example.

Video: Latma Interviews the New Moderate President of Iran

In the latest edition of Latma, we get an interview with the new Iranian president, who gives us a taste of the new era of moderation in Iran.

Enjoy the video:

Thursday, June 20, 2013

David P. Goldman Explains Why Syria and Egypt Can't Be Fixed

The following by David P. Goldman is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Syria and Egypt Can't Be Fixed

by David P. Goldman
Asia Times
June 17, 2013

Syria and Egypt are dying. They were dying before the Syrian civil war broke out and before the Muslim Brotherhood took power in Cairo. Syria has an insoluble civil war and Egypt has an insoluble crisis because they are dying. They are dying because they chose not to do what China did: move the better part of a billion people from rural backwardness to a modern urban economy within a generation. Mexico would have died as well, without the option to send its rural poor - fully one-fifth of its population - to the United States.

It was obvious to anyone who troubled to examine the data that Egypt could not maintain a bottomless pit in its balance of payments, created by a 50% dependency on imported food, not to mention an energy bill fed by subsidies that consumed a quarter of the national budget. It was obvious to Israeli analysts that the Syrian regime's belated attempt to modernize its agricultural sector would create a crisis as hundreds of thousands of displaced farmers gathered in slums on the outskirts of its cities. These facts were in evidence early in 2011 when Hosni Mubarak fell and the Syrian rebellion broke out. Paul Rivlin of Israel's Moshe Dayan Center published a devastating profile of Syria's economic failure in April 2011.

Video: Dore Gold: Should We Wait It Out? Israel and a Changing Middle East

Dore Gold took part in a panel discussion on "Should We Wait It Out? Israel and a Changing Middle East", at The Israeli Presidential Conference: Facing Tomorrow 2013, in Jerusalem, June 2013

Below is the video of Dore's statement, followed by a transcript of Dore's comments by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

Why Are Israeli Arabs Losing Confidence In Their Arab Representatives In The Israeli Knesset?

Khaled Abu Toameh writes that there has been a 76% increase in the number of Arab volunteers since September 2011:
Israel's Arab citizens are clearly not listening to the bad advice they have been getting from some of their leaders, including Arab members of the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, who keep inciting them against Israel.

These leaders and parliamentarians -- who say they want the Arab citizens to boycott national service and any attempt by the government to fully incorporate them into Israeli society -- have been waging a campaign against the Israeli government's plan to recruit Arab citizens for (civilian) national service as an alternative to military service.

What Do Nasrallah and Hezbollah Have Planned for Lebanon?

The following by Hilal Khashan is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Hezbollah's Plans for Lebanon

by Hilal Khashan
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 81-86 (view PDF)

Hezbollah first became known to the Lebanese public in 1985 with its now-famous open letter, whose introductory statement read: "We are the sons of the umma (Muslim community)—of the party of God (Hezbollah), the vanguard of which was made victorious by God in Iran. … We obey the orders of one leader… that of our tutor and faqih [i.e., Ayatollah Khomeini]."[1] A year later Hassan Nasrallah, then an officer associated with the party's consultative council and now its supreme leader, made the organization's overall goals and strategy unmistakably clear: "We are incapable at the present time of installing the rule of Islam, but this does not mean postponing our ideology and project … We must work hard to achieve our goal, and the most important means of doing so is to transform Lebanon into a society of war."[2]

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 6/19/13: The Media Has Decided That Hassan Rohani Is A Moderate, Despite His Record

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) Asserting Moderation

Having read many articles about Iran's new President, Hassan Rouhani, I'm struck by how little evidence is presented that he is a moderate or reformer, even though those words are regularly used to describe him. He's described as a reformer because he's supported by previous presidents Khatami and Rafsanjani (and how exactly is the latter is a "reformer" is a mystery). But that's moderation by association. He is described as a critic of the outgoing President, Ahmadinejad or possibly of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Kahmenei. But that's moderation by negation. It's pointed out that when he was Iran's lead nuclear negotiator he wasn't confrontational. True, but this was about style, not substance.

Does Kerry Want To Model Syrian Intervention On The Bosnian War?

As the Obama administration contemplates a strategy for intervening in Syria, Jeffrey Goldberg writes that the Pentagon Shoots Down Kerry’s Syria Airstrike Plan:
At a principals meeting in the White House situation room, Secretary of State John Kerry began arguing, vociferously, for immediate U.S. airstrikes against airfields under the control of Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime -- specifically, those fields it has used to launch chemical weapons raids against rebel forces.

Daniel Pipes: What Turkey's Riots Mean

The following by Daniel Pipes is reposted here with permission:

What Turkey's Riots Mean

by Daniel Pipes
The Washington Times
June 19, 2013

Rebellion has shaken Turkey since May 31: Is it comparable to the Arab upheavals that overthrew four rulers since 2011, to Iran's Green Movement of 2009 that led to an apparent reformer being elected president last week, or perhaps to Occupy Wall Street, which had negligible consequences?

The government of Istanbul told mothers to "bring their children home" but instead they joined the protests in Taksim Square.
The unrest marks a deeply important development with permanent implications.

What Can Save The US From Obama's Doomed Alliance With The Muslim Brotherhood?

Barry Rubin writes about the Obama's Middle East policy mistake: Backing Middle East Radicals After 10 Previous Western Failures. Here are the first 3:
  • During the 1880s and 1890s, Germany became convinced that it could turn the forces of jihad against British, French, and Russian rivals. The kaiser presented himself as the Muslim world’s friend and German propaganda even hinted that their ruler had converted to Islam.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

NGO Monitor: Spanish Gov't Funding of NGOs Campaigning Against Israel

June 18, 2013 
Lenny Ben-David
NGO Monitor

Spanish Gov't Funding of NGOs
Campaigning Against Israel

Jerusalem - The Spanish government provided funding between 2009 and 2011 to political NGOs leading the campaigns to delegitimize Israel through demonization, boycotts, lawfare and other forms of political attacks, concluded an NGO Monitor report issued today. The report provides comprehensive and detailed evidence of the use and/or misuse of official Spanish funds, including regional governments.

EU Challenges the UN and OIC on Press Freedom

The following by Nathaniel Sugarman is reposted here with permission of The Legal Project:

EU Challenges the UN and OIC on Press Freedom

by Nathaniel Sugarman
American Thinker

The European Parliament (EP) in Strasbourg passed two resolutions Thursday, each detailing a set of recommendations to protect the rights of journalists to speak and print freely.

"The EU, as a community of values, should aspire to lead in ensuring the free word, whether blogged or spoken, and information, whether researched or photographed, are protected. Journalists and a free, pluralist media, are essential for democracies and checks on power. Freedom of speech and freedom after speech are at the core of open and free societies," said Marietje Schaake (ALDE, NL), rapporteur for press and media freedom in the world. The EP is the directly elected parliament of the European Union.

Yitzhak Shamir Stamp -- And An Interview He Gave in 1999

The Israeli Postal Service has come out with a stamp honoring former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir

Yitzhak Shamir Stamp

To go along with the stamp, here is an interview with Shamir that appeared in the Middle East Quarterly back in 1999:

Iranian President Rohani's Nuclear Boast Is Ignored As The West Ready To Dance To Iran's Tune

While the West gushes of Rohani being a "moderate," a "reformist" and a pragmatist, it might be a good idea to actually listen to what Rohani -- who never claimed to be a "reformist" -- has said about Iran's nuclear program.

Banafsheh Zand addresses the issue of Who Is Hassan Rouhani? for The Gatestone Institute:
As a negotiator, Rohani is triumphantly duplicitous, known to lull his non-Iranian counterparts into a false sense of calm. Despite all the talk that, during his term as a nuclear negotiator, Iran appeared more cooperative with the international community, Rohani bragged about how he had tricked the West. In April of 2006 during a speech at the Assembly of Clerics, Rouhani was caught on tape, boasting that while talks were taking place in Teheran, Iran was able to complete the installation of equipment for conversion of yellowcake -- a key stage in the nuclear fuel process -- at its Isfahan plant, but at the same time convince European diplomats that nothing was afoot. "From the outset," he said, "the Americans kept telling the Europeans, 'The Iranians are lying and deceiving you and they have not told you everything.' The Europeans used to respond, 'We trust them!'"
Read the whole thing.

Monday, June 17, 2013

The Politics of Muslim Magic

The following by Dawn Perlmutter is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

The Politics of Muslim Magic

by Dawn Perlmutter
Middle East Quarterly
Spring 2013, pp. 73-80 (view PDF)

Election of Iranian President Hassan Rohani Hailed As "Beacon of Hope" -- By Hezbollah Terrorists

The Jerusalem Post reports that Hezbollah welcomes Iran's 'beacon of hope' Rohani:
Lebanese militant Shi'ite Muslim group Hezbollah on Sunday welcomed the election of new Iranian President Hassan Rohani, calling him a "beacon of hope."

"The Arab and Muslim people... who have always seen the Islamic republic as a supporter of the oppressed... and every fighter who resists for God, consider you today a beacon of hope," AFP quoted the militant group as saying.

From MEQ 1999: Netanyahu Deciphered!

The following by Neill Lochery is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Netanyahu Deciphered!

by Neill Lochery
Middle East Quarterly
March 1999, pp. 29-36

Raymond Ibrahim: Muslim Persecution of Christians: March, 2013

The following by Raymond Ibrahim is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

Muslim Persecution of Christians: March, 2013
U.S. Defends "Human Rights" of Persecutors of Christians

by Raymond Ibrahim
Gatestone Institute
June 12, 2013

The Islamic jihad against Christians in Nigeria is proving to be the most barbaric. A new report states that 70% of Christians killed around the world in 2012 were killed in the African nation. Among some of the atrocities committed in March alone, at least 41 people were killed in a suicide bomb attack at a bus station in a predominantly Christian neighborhood. According to the Christian Association of Nigeria, these attacks "were a signpost of the intended extermination of Christians and Christianity from northern Nigeria."

According to the Rev. Jerome Ituah, "Out of the 52 Catholic churches in Maiduguri diocese, 50 of them have been destroyed by Boko Haram. When two Christian brothers were returning home after Sunday church service, jihadis opened fire on them with machine guns, killing the brothers, as well as three others, and injuring several more Christians.

Another 13 Christian factory workers in Kano were "gruesomely" slain. Said the local bishop: "Reports of the attack reaching us disclosed that on that fateful Saturday at about 7 p.m., Muslim faithful were conducting their prayer close to the affected compound occupied by Christian families, when two taxi cabs stopped in front of the compound and the occupants, who all concealed their arms dashed into the complex and demanded to know why the residents were not part of the 7 p.m. Muslim prayer. They responded by telling the visitors they were Christians and so could not be part of the Muslim gathering. At that point, they separated the men from their wives and children and shot them dead on the spot after ordering the women and children into their homes" to be enslaved.

The bishop added that, "government should show more concern, like it has always done when Muslims are affected; I have not seen that in the case of Christians—that 13 Christians were killed in one straight attack and nothing is heard from the government reflects selective justice because we are aware of compensation paid to Muslim families in situations of this nature."

However, the Nigeria government recently did go on the offensive to try to contain the jihadis in northern Nigeria—only to be chastised by the Obama administration, in the person of John Kerry, who recently warned the Nigerian government not to violate the "human rights" of the jihadi mass murderers.

Categorized by theme, the rest of March's Muslim persecution of Christians around the world includes (but is not limited to) the following accounts, listed by theme and in country alphabetical order, not necessarily according to severity:

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler - 6/16/13: Everyone Says New Iranian President Rohani Is A Reformist -- Except Rohani

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

Long Live Rouhani the Reformer

To read the New York Times, the election of Hassan Rowhani was a victory for the people of Iran. Thomas Erdbrink reported in Iran Moderate Wins Presidency by a Large Margin:
The cleric, Hassan Rowhani, 64, won a commanding 50.7 percent of the vote in the six-way race, according to final results released Saturday, avoiding a runoff in the race to replace the departing president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose tenure was defined largely by confrontation with the West and a seriously hobbled economy at home.

After Erdogan, Is Obama's Second Favorite Ally in the Middle East Going to be The Muslim Brotherhood?

Barry Rubin writes Obama Doctrine: America Allies with Muslim Brotherhood to Promote Middle East “Stability”
There have been in American history the Truman Doctrine (help countries fight Communist takeover), the Nixon Doctrine (get local middle-sized powers to take part of the burden of the Cold War from the United States), the Carter Doctrine (defend Gulf Arab states from Iranian aggression), and the Reagan Doctrine (go on the offensive against Soviet expansionism). Now we have the Obama Doctrine:

From MEQ 2004 -- Predictions For The Middle East Till 2020 (How Are They Doing So Far?)

The following is reposted here with permission of Middle East Forum:

20/20 Vision? The Middle East to 2020

Middle East Quarterly
Winter 2004, pp. 63-67

Iranian Elections Result in Victory of "Moderate" Hassan Rohani -- Does It Matter?

All candidates with a chance of winning are either related to the leader or to the security apparatus...It is not in shades of grey, but all black.
Comment by Western diplomat to AFP on Iranian election, May 23 in Iran stacks poll with safe Khamenei men

Back in May, Secretary of State John Kerry was similarly pessimistic about the Iranian elections:
The council narrowed a list of almost 700 potential candidates down to the sort of officials of their choice based solely on who represents the regime’s interests, obviously, rather than who might represent some different point of view among the Iranian people. That is hardly an election by standards which most people in most countries judge free, fair, open, accessible, accountable elections. The lack of transparency obviously makes it highly unlikely that that slate of candidates is either going to represent the broad will of the Iranian people or represent a change of any legitimate kind.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Will Obama Do To The Arab World What He Has Done For Israel - Palestinian Peace?

Barry Rubin writes about the Obama administration quandary in Syria: Panic in Washington: Is Iran and Syria's Regime Winning and What to Do?. Part of the concern relates not to Syria's continued control by Assad per se, but rather the implications for Iranian influence in the reason.

Iran is not going to take over the Middle East, nor is it about to win a lot of Sunni followers. Iran’s limit of influence is mainly in Lebanon and Syria (where its ally only controls half the country) and to a lesser extent Iraq. Tehran can fool around in Yemen, Bahrain, and southwest Afghanistan a bit too, but that’s about it. There are real limits.
Rubin explains 3 reasons why Iran and its proxies appear to be winning. in brief:

Friday, June 14, 2013

Mideast Media Sampler 6/14/13: Hamas Summer Camps Combine Training in Both Islam and Terrorism

by David Gerstman, contributing blogger at Legal Insurrection

1) Earning merit badges in terror

Following recent revelations that Hamas plans to train thousands of children soldiers a number of media outlets are reporting that Palestinian Islamic Jihad is running summer camps training youngsters in the fine points of urban warfare. Ynet reports:
An AFP correspondent listed some of the activities the Islamic Jihad summer camp offers its enrollees: Weapons use, jumping over fire and crawling under barbed wire, all performed to the tune of exploding charges.