These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 16, 2012.
Monday, 16 July 2012
Secretary Clinton Meetings in Egypt provide Evidence of US Tilt towards the Muslim Brotherhood
Secretary of State Clinton and Egyptian Egyptian Marshal Tantai of SCAF
President Mohammed Morsi with Secretary of State Clinton
Any rational person who viewed the smiling picture of Secretary Clinton with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood President Mohammed Morsi would have to believe we were living in a parallel universe. Contrast that smiling picture with the grim one of her with Supreme Council of the Armed Forces head, Marshal Tantawi. The contrast speaks paragraphs as pundits might say.
Madame Clinton came to entreat President Morsi to make a deal with the Egyptian Military leaders of the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (SCAF), maintain the 1979 Camp David Accords with Israel and protect the minority rights of beleaguered minority Christian Copts. Of course she also threw in prospects of several hundred million taxpayer dollars to offset the faltering economy. $250 million for loans to Egyptian small business and $70 million for a US Egyptian enterprise fund. She suggested in a statement issued prior to a separate meeting on Sunday with Marshall Tantawi of SCAF that it was time for the Egyptian military to return to their ‘traditional national security role”. The reality is the SCAF has investments in the Egyptian economy that it will be loathe to give up control.
We wonder if Madame Secretary bothered to ask President Morsi and Marshall Tantawi about securing the release of a Boston Pentecostal Pastor, the Rev. Michel Louis and another American on pilgrimage in Egypt. Note the latest development from CBS news:
While family and church members prayed Sunday for the Boston Pentecostal pastor kidnapped with two others in Egypt, their abductor said he has had conversations with intelligence officials about their release.
Jirmy Abu-Mashu told The Associated Press he kidnapped the Rev. Michel Louis and two others off a bus on a road between Cairo and Mount Sinai on Friday, and is demanding police release his uncle from prison. He said his uncle was jailed after refusing to pay a bribe to police.
He said two intelligence officials came to his home Saturday to negotiate the captives' release. During that meeting, he said, he relocated the pastor and the two other captives — a 39-year-old Boston woman who was traveling with the same church group and a tour guide. He said he returned the three to his home when the officials left.
CBS affiliate WBZ Boston identified the female hostage as Lissa Alphonse.
One group that refused for good reasons to meet with Secretary Clinton during her two day visit to Egypt was the beleaguered Christian Copts. Note this report from Egypt Independent:
Coptic leaders have declined to meet with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, saying that she is recognizing sectarian divisions by meeting with the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafis before requesting to meet with Copts.
Individuals who refused to meet with Clinton included business tycoon Naguib Sawiris, political activist Michael Mounir, former MP Georgette Qilliny and former MP Emad Gad.
A group statement issued Sunday said that since the 25 January revolution, Clinton and other US officials on visits to Egypt have held meetings with the forces of political Islam to the exclusion of other political groups. The statement claimed that the US administration has demonstrated their support for Islamism over other political and civil forces.
Perhaps Secretary Clinton may have been swayed by several factors. The former first family has received tens of millions from Saudi and Emirate leaders who contributed funds for the Clinton Presidential library in Little Rock and large fees paid President Clinton for annual speeches in the Emirates. Then there is their daughter Chelsea who has blossomed into MSNBC Islamophobia correspondent. Then there is her close personal aide Chief of Staff Huma Abedin who comes from a family of Muslim Brother Supporters. Huma Abedin you may recall was the wife of former defamed Brooklyn Congressman Anthony Weiner. Her mother Salehi is a Saudi women's college professor and an alleged leader of the international Muslim Brotherhood sisterhood. Her brother Hassan sits on the board of the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies with prominent Muslim Brotherhood representatives.
Secretary Clinton will have another tough day visiting Israeli PM Netanyahu in Jerusalem who will be keenly interested in how President Morsi will abide by the cold peace treaty between Egypt and Israel. An Israel vitally concerned about security along its Southern border and the Philadelphi Corridor with Gaza. Ms. Clinton will doubtless broach the Levy Commission Report findings that might throw the tattered Israeli Palestinian discussions into a cocked hat. The implications of the Levy Report might provide Israel with a legal basis for annexation of Judea and Samaria.
We also wonder if the bolstering of the US naval presence in the Persian Gulf is as much to prevent another attempted closure by the Islamic Republic in Tehran of the Straits of Hormuz. Or could that enhanced US military presence in the Gulf region also be sending a message to PM Netanyahu not to undertake a possible unilateral military action against Iran’s nuclear program?
To many observers Secretary Clinton’s current Middle East visits are compelling evidence that Obama Administration policies in MENA have weakened the US strategic position in the region.
Such are the travails of Secretary of State Clinton since the “New Beginnings” Cairo Speech of President Obama in June 2009.
Following a recent meeting between Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr and Filippo Grandi, commissioner-general of the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees, Canberra agreed to contribute $90 million for additional teachers and doctors working for UNRWA.
Australia will provide these funds over five years to support Palestinian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.
But why is Australia, like so many other Western countries, so ready to write large cheques to the UNRWA?
UNRWA is an open-ended educational and social welfare system for millions of Palestinians, primarily in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. But in what sense are these individuals truly refugees who should fall within UNRWA's remit?
Publicly, UNRWA defines a Palestinian refugee as anyone whose "normal place of residence was Palestine during the period 1 June 1946 to 15 May 1948 and who lost both home and means of livelihood as a result of the 1948 conflict".
In reality UNRWA has continually expanded the definition to include "the children or grandchildren of such refugees (who) are eligible for agency assistance if they are (a) registered with UNRWA, (b) living in the area of UNRWA's operations, and (c) in need".
The best estimates are that perhaps 700,000 Palestinians became refugees in 1948-1949. By UNRWA's accounting, however, virtually every Palestinian born since that time is also a refugee. That number now reaches into the millions.
This is unprecedented in the history of refugee crises. In no other situation has a group been extended specific status that has been continually expanded to include subsequent generations over a period of decades.
The result of this over a 60-year-long process is that incentives for the refugees to resettle in Arab countries and elsewhere are minimal, as are those for UNRWA itself to ever end its operations.
UNRWA states that despite the creation of the Palestinian Authority, Palestinians remain refugees. It has financial and political interests in maintaining this fiction: as long as the Palestinians are refugees, UNRWA is in business.
Of the 30,000 people UNRWA employs, the vast majority are Palestinian: UNRWA is the largest single employer of Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank. Contrast this to the UN High Commission for Refugees, which employs only 5000 to 6000 people worldwide and which focuses far more clearly on resettlement and rehabilitation of refugees and building new lives, and not on maintaining services that prop up the status quo.
Synonymous with Palestinian national identity is the collective belief in a right of return to "Palestine". Palestinian identity is rooted in three parts. One is that resistance to Israel is permanent and holy. Another is that Palestinians are, individually and communally, refugees, made so at the hands of Israel. The third part is that the world, specifically the UN and Western countries, must support these refugees until they can return to a future Palestine and to homes in what is now Israel.
As such, when the global community hears words such as "refugees" and "refugee camps" the instinctive image is that of fleeing individuals who are living in tents in dire settings. However, a closer look at Palestinian architecture reveals that the camps are actually adjacent to neighbourhoods in Palestinian cities with water, electricity and satellite TV.
The claims of Palestinian refugees have engendered sympathy that has helped UNRWA generate financial support of millions of dollars. This is all a result of the belief that these funds would eliminate starvation and help Palestinian refugees to assimilate.
While its sister agency, the UNHCR, has worked to decrease the number of refugees in the world, UNRWA has worked for more than 60 years to grow the number of Palestinian refugees and to prolong and exacerbate the Palestinian refugee issue.
Of late, Washington has correctly questioned the hereditary clause associated with UNRWA's definition of who is a Palestinian refugee through an amendment proposed by senator Mark Kirk, R-Ill, which sets out a more precise series of definitions for US aid to UNRWA, to be specified in the memorandum of understanding with the organisation.
The amendment states that "a Palestinian refugee is defined as a person whose place of residence was Palestine between June 1946 and May 1948, who was personally displaced as a result of the 1948 or 1967 Arab-Israeli conflicts, who currently does not reside in the West Bank or Gaza and who is not a citizen of any other state".
Refugee status would therefore no longer be heritable, at least if UNRWA were to continue to receive US funding. The amendment would also require the secretary of state to report to congress about the notoriously slippery numbers of refugees and what measures the US government is taking to ensure these limits are abided by.
Accountability and transparency have been hard to come by at UNRWA given its monopoly over Palestinians. If the creation of institutions that foster civil society and promote some element of democratisation are definitive goals, it follows that the present UNRWA model is an abject failure. UNRWA's ability to act independently has been compromised by its having been co-opted.
The Canadian government has taken these problems to heart by becoming the first Western country to defund UNRWA, following a report commissioned by the European parliament documenting that Hamas terrorists have been chosen by the UNRWA labour union to actually administer its facilities.
The Kirk amendment and Canada's actions are good models for Australia to follow as we seek better ways to use our tax dollars to promote independent Palestinian organisations and private-sector growth.
Egyptian Christians And Secularists Angry With Clinton For Not Grasping The Ikhwan's Threat
From the Gulf News:
Clinton’s interference has angered Egyptian liberals
Mursi must be very careful not to be seen doing America’s bidding
By Linda S. Heard,
July 17, 2012
Egyptian elites, secularists and moderates, concerned about the agenda of the country’s new president, drawn from the upper echelons of the Muslim Brotherhood, are coalescing. On Sunday, the Free Egyptians Party called for a ‘Million Man’ demonstration in the vicinity of the US Embassy in Cairo and another one the following day outside the US Consulate in Alexandria, which was scheduled to be inaugurated by the US Secretary of State, Hilary Clinton.
The impressive, banner-wielding turnout in the capital was well over half-a-million, according to someone I spoke to who was there. The crowd stretched along the Nile Corniche from 5pm to the early hours of the morning, but went largely unreported with the exception of Faraeen TV, whose owner Tawfiq Okasha literally begged his countrymen to participate, promising to kiss their shoes. He gave viewers an advance warning that the protest would not receive media coverage. It hardly merited a mention on local or international channels. In the past, Okasha, a former presidential candidate, was largely dismissed as a “funny man” by the population at large due to his never-ending conspiracy theories and overly passionate rhetoric. However, it now appears that his core message to the Egyptian people “to join a jihad to the death against the Brotherhood and its American backer” is hitting home.
Okasha and his growing band of fans are suspicious of what they term America’s interference in Egypt’s affairs. They are confused by the seemingly cozy relationship between their recently-elected Islamist leader and the Barack Obama administration. Their ire is turned against President Mohammad Mursi, who, they say, exclusively represents the interests of the Muslim Brotherhood rather than all Egyptians. They accuse him of planning to appoint Brotherhood members to key positions within the cabinet, in particular, as ministers of defence, interior and information.
They say Mursi is conspiring to topple the top tiers of the military establishment and replace them with commanders loyal to the Brotherhood, with assistance from Hamas; they fear he will open Egypt’s border with Gaza and give free rein to Hamas fighters to take on the army. Moreover, Okasha is persuaded that Mursi aims to send Egyptians with Islamist affiliations to Qatar for military training so that when they return home they will be a force capable of facing off against the Egyptian military that has ruled behind the door since the 1952 army coup that brought Jamal Abdul Nasser and his successors, Anwar Al Sadat and Hosni Mubarak, to power.
Rallies that took place on Sunday and yesterday were ostensibly organised to prove to Clinton that a substantial percentage of the Egyptian population believe the presidential election was flawed and want President Mursi gone; some protestors interviewed claimed the Brotherhood used its substantial treasure chest to buy votes and bribe electoral monitors. Others blamed the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces (Scaf) for ensuring the top job went to Mursi in an attempt to avoid bloodshed on the streets, although his rival, Ahmad Shafiq, narrowly beat him to the post, or so they (and Shafiq himself) contend.
And by ordering the resumption of parliament, deemed unconstitutional by the highest court of the land, Mursi has irredeemably blotted his copybook, they insist, by showing his disrespect for an independent judiciary that is the staple of every true democracy. They promise to support Scaf in case the situation warrants a military crackdown in the future with chants of “We are your soldiers” that has echoes of a brewing civil war.
The Egyptian mainstream is largely prepared to give President Mursi the opportunity to prove his worth. His speeches have been carefully crafted to seem all-inclusive, his pledges to improve wages and living conditions are just what most people want to hear. But he is currently walking a tightrope between pleasing his Islamist base that wants him to flex his muscles against the military and maintaining stability without which the economy — and the hopes of Egypt’s poorest to better their lives — is doomed. Mursi’s recent “fruitful and constructive” talks with King Abdullah Bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia have gone a long way to mend fences, following the rift over an attack on the Kingdom’s embassy in Cairo. And, naturally, Mursi is keen to cement good relations with the superpower that provides the Egyptian military with $1.3 billion (Dh4.78 billion) of annual aid. But he must be very careful not to be seen doing America’s bidding, the kiss of death with regard to his political longevity.
Egypt’s revolution was inspired at the grass roots level and most Egyptians, including Sunday’s protesters, are not amused by Clinton’s finger-wagging or warnings to Scaf to revert to its national security role. Indeed, Okasha and Co are convinced that the Obama administration is out to bring down the army and give Mursi and his Brothers enough rope with which to hang themselves when the US will tag Egypt as an extremist/terrorist/rogue state with the aim of controlling the Suez Canal and giving the oil-and-gas-rich Sinai Peninsula to Israel. [this is the crazed conspiracy theory that mars the otherwise sensible mistrust of the American government by the Egyptian secularists. It was to be expected, but still, it is disappointing if indeed it is widely believed. The notion that the Americans would deliberatley want Egypt to become the kind of place that could be described as "extremist/terrorist/rogue" state" so that Israel -- which after all gave up the entire Sinai under American pressure -- could have an excuse to take it back, is absurd. What the Egyptian secularists should keep doing is emphasizing that making a fetish of democracy, when by democracy is meant mere head-counting, and then supporting its results, coute que coute, when it leads to a takeover by the Ikhwan, is crazy. A little common sense, a little realism -- that's what Egypt's Christians and less crazed Muslims should be demanding of the Americans, and not warning darkly about a plot to enable Israel to retake the Sinai. If Israel has to retake the Sinai because of Egyptian acts, it will, and it won't need American support. The two times before, in 1956 and 1967, Israel took the Sinai to ensure that there would be a buffer zone, and it did it while Nasser, a secularist, was in control.]
Whether or not this theory has any basis, it is rapidly gaining ground with proponents citing the way Hamas was ostracised and attacked when it won the Palestinian vote in 2006 fair and square. Perhaps, it’s not so far-fetched after all. Israel, where Clinton is headed next, has erected an Iron Dome missile defence system close to Eilat near its border with Egypt. Tensions between the two countries are high and it’s not hard to figure out on which side the US would be should trouble erupt.
The article by Asaf Romirowsky, re-posted below, misses a few points. And he makes some errors. He has,right in his title, that Arab-propaganda phrase "the Palestinian people." That phrase should never be used, except to hold it up for inspection as an example of propaganda designed to disguise the Jihad, of Arabs and Muslims, against the Infidel nation-state of Isreal, by the invention of a "tiny people" that just wants its "legitimate rights" and so on and so bloody forth. Romirowsky also ccepts a variant o the theme when he uses the phrase "Palestinian refugee." Why does he do this? Why doesn't he point out that the original mandate for UNRWA never used that phrase, nor the word "Palestinian" in anything other than the adjectival sense? It was always "the Arab refugees."
Why doesn't he note, in making the point that the children of the approximately 590,000 Arabs who left what was Mandatory Palestine, in order to escape the conflict -- egged on by Arab broadcasts starting in the fall of 11947 -- in the assurance that they would, once the Arab armies had wiped out the Jews, return to help themselves to Jewish property (It didn't work out that way.), that Henry Kissinger's son is not a "German refugee" nor are the millions of children of those who were (far more legitimately than the soi-disant "Palestinians") refugees from the Nazis, or the Communists, described as "Polish" or "Czech" or "German" or Chinese "refugees." If they were born in America they are called Americans, if Canada Canadians, if in the U.K.,, British, and so on. Only in the case of these "Palestinians" is the refugee status encoded in the genes, and inherited. It's for obvious propasganda purposes, and it should be recognized as such, and despite the power of the Arab-Islmaic bloc, more than 60 years have passed, and those who might have once qualified as refugees as a result of the Arab decision to attack the nascent Jewish state, surely include only those who are at least sixty-four years old. They must nuimber, at mostl in the tens of thousands.
Not only is UNRWA now staffed, save at the very top, where non-Arab sympathizers and collaborators, carefully vetted by the "Palestinians" themselves, are still in positions of public prominence, with Arabs who have no intention of stopping the flow of money -- Western money -- to support these Arabs on a permanent dole, with an ever-incraasing list of those recfeiving aid. But UNRWA is up to its neck in collaborating with the "Palestinian" Arabs in the Jihad al-kalima, the propaganda jihad, against the Infidel nation-state of Israel;.
There are tens of millions of real, and recent, refugees, all over the world. If they are not getting the aid they need, it is because the "Palestinian" Arabs, and UNRWA, are hogging the limelight and holding greedily on to most of the U.N.'s refugee funds, just as the "Palestinian" cause uses up between one-third and one=half of the U.N.'s time which might, for example, be devoted, among other topics, to global warming.
Particularly maddening -- and this is another thing Asaf Romirowsky neglects to mention, is that it is the Western taxpayers who have, without their consent, been handing over billiions of dollars, over the past 60 years, to keep supporting all these Arabs, the "refugees" and their children, and their grandchildren, and plenty of other Arabs, too, indistinguishable by language, culture, religion, from the "Palestinian" Arabs but, seeing a good thing, have managed to get themselves on the URNWA dole. Why? Why, when the Muslim members of OPEC have recdeived, since 1973 alone, more than seventeen trillion dollars, not because of any effort on the part of their people, but simply because of an accident of geology, are they not asked, as part of their supposed "zakat" to fellow members of the Umma, the Community of Believers, to pay, or at least at this point to pay, given that the West is in economic trouble and those rich Arabs, with their fantastic lives (think of little Qatar, where 200,000 Qataris do nothing, and are waited on hand and foot by 1.6 million non-Qataris, the foreign wage slaves who take care of everything and make the tiny city-state run), have all the money in the world.
Make them pay for their felllow Arabs. Let's bow out. And if they won't pay? Well, that's an intra-Arab or intra-Muslm problem. Let the resentments of the poorer Arabs grow, but against the rich Arabs of the Gulf, not even more against the West, hated and despised as it is, not for being "free" but solely because it is non-Muslim.