MANAMA, Bahrain — Not everyone wants democracy, or sympathizes with the popular protests crashing across the Middle East.
Not here, anyway, where the ruling elite protect a way of life for a minority Sunni population that fears and resents the political demands of the Shiite-dominated opposition. [there are about 500,000-600,000 Bahraini citizens, with a million more wage-slave foreigners in Bahrain. Of those citizens, only 30% are Sunni, that is fewer than 200,000 people].
Changing a political system, by necessity, means there will be winners and losers, a reality that has sent a chill through parts of the Sunni community here after days of protest by those seeking to alter the status quo in this small country. Their resistance to change may help explain why the government seems confident that it can retain enough public support to carry out the ruthless suppression of the protests that it began on Thursday.
“I don’t want a democracy,” said Rayyah Mohammed, 32, an art project director and strong supporter of King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa. “I want a monarchy. I like how things are. I have a job. I have a house. I have free health care.”
Bahrain is gripped in what its citizens see as an existential political battle, where the leadership insists on preserving an absolute monarchy and the opposition is demanding a new constitution and elected parliament.
For the most part, the protesters are widely regarded as the good guys in a battle against uncompromising rulers willing to use lethal force to preserve their domain. But there is another world here, one populated by those who have benefited from an order that they see as a guardian against the kind of compromise, inevitable in a democracy, that might work against their interests. They see their leaders as protecting their freedom, while they see democracy as perhaps imposing on them demands they do not want to meet.
This is especially true in a place like Bahrain, which is divided along sectarian lines and politics is often regarded as a zero-sum game — if Sunnis win, then Shiites lose, in a community where sectarian identification trumps national identity.
“We are pro-government, we are pro-king, we don’t want what they want,” said Ahmed Zainal, 27, a public relations executive.
When the protests began, on Monday, a group of young professionals — a public relations director, an art curator, a banker and an educator — asked to have their voices heard as to why they supported the king and rejected the protesters. They were Ms. Mohammed, the curator; Mr. Zainal, the public relations executive; Bashayer Ali, 31, a banker; and Suhaib Abdullah, 25, a graduate student assistant. Ms. Ali’s father is a Shiite, and the rest are Sunni.
During 90 minutes over coffee in a street-side cafe in the city, they offered a critical counterpoint to the protesters. While the Shiites see themselves as discriminated against and marginalized, these children of the upper middle class said the Shiites were largely responsible for their own plight, a position that seemed to overlook established patterns of discrimination in Bahrain. They said that what the demonstrators wanted was not democracy, but superiority.
They blamed the Shiites for having too many children, for not being willing to work hard and for demanding handouts from the government. “Whose fault is it when you have five or six kids and you can’t afford two?” Ms. Mohammed asked. “Why is that the government’s fault?”
Mr. Zainal was equally critical. “Plain and simple,” he said. “The uneducated people of Bahrain, or the world, you have kids to support and you pull the kids out of school to sell water at the roadside, you cannot blame the government.”
“The educated,” he said, “understand the value of keeping their children in school.”
The four made their comments before a police attack on Pearl Square, which left at least five dead and dozens injured, at a time when it appeared that the protesters might be gaining the upper hand. They said they resented seeing the narrative of Bahrain, a country they love, being written by the demonstrators, and they accused them of hiding sectarian goals behind democratic slogans.
They said, for example, that they were offended that the Shiite-led opposition had called for the protests to begin on an important Sunni holiday, the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, which begins at sundown.
“It’s very sectarian,” Ms. Mohammed said.
All four acknowledged that they lived relatively comfortable lives, but said that was because they and their parents had worked hard. They saw the protests as a personal affront, a demand for a handout. “The people in that circle are not very well educated,” Ms. Ali said.
On Thursday night, Ms. Mohammed said that she and her friends were disturbed by the events of the night before, when the police stormed Pearl Square, and that they had sympathy and empathy for those who were injured and killed.
But a day earlier, when the opposition was reveling in the square and demanding that the government offer concessions, she said she did not accept their version of why their lives were difficult. She and the others said they believed that the protesters were more loyal to Iran than to Bahrain, a frequent charge — rejected by Shiite Bahrainis — that is leveled against Shiites as a justification for blocking their path to power. Shiites are largely barred from the police force, for example, and from the military.
In the looking-glass world of this group, a police force staffed by foreigners is preferable to a police force staffed by Shiite citizens. They also said they feared a Shiite government might be too religious and impose restrictions on society.
“To me,” Ms. Mohammed said, “it’s about preserving my freedom.”
Russia's Chechnya asks workers to wear Muslim dress
(Reuters) - Russia's Chechnya region has asked state workers to dress conservatively, including headscarves for women and an Islamic dress code on Fridays, in its leaders' latest assertion of Muslim customs.
"We recommend that male state workers come to work in a suit and tie, and that women dress in a skirt below the knee and the appropriate headgear," Chechen government deputy head Magomed Selimkhanov told reporters.
On Fridays -- the main day for prayers in Islam -- employees of both sexes should observe "a traditional Muslim dress code", meaning covered arms and legs. Selimkhanov said his "recommendation" was "purely advisory". News agency Caucasian Knot reported that he had signed a document stating Muslim dress was "essential" for state workers.
As other Afghan police and military 'trainees' have done, Afghan soldier kills his German 'colleagues'
Yet again, we see that the NATO troops in Afghanistan simply cannot trust the local Muslim men whom they are supposed to be training, or whom they are supposed to view as colleagues. And Germany, with her low indigenous birthrate, can ill afford to lose even one of her precious young men; in this instance, she has lost three.
'Afghan soldier fires on German troops, killing three.
'Pul-e-khumri, Afghanistan' - German soldiers, just back from patrol, had already started shedding their heavy body armor when shots rang out Friday at their coalition base in northern Afghanistan.
You will observe that the attack took place on a Friday, the Muslim 'holy' day.You will also observe that the attacker waited until his victims were off their guard and vulnerable; this attack was not, I think, done on impulse, but something premeditated. - CM.
'An Afghan soldier, a man they thought was on their side, was spraying them with bullets at close range.
No practising Muslim can ever be deemed to be on the side of a non-Muslim. The Quran and other core Muslim texts explicitly, and repeatedly, forbid Muslims to befriend non-Muslims or take them as allies - except feigningly, and temporarily, for Muslim advantage. - CM.
'The shooter was gunned down, but not before he killed three German soldiers and wounded six others in a tragic shooting that highlights the challenges of trying to train Afghan security forces so foreign troops can go home.
This 'training' business is a waste of time...and of precious lives. If the German government knew what it was doing, it would call its soldiers home now; and put them to work removing the aggressive and destructive Muslim colonists from Germany, or else assisting the Italians and the Greeks to halt - and turn back - the flood of young Muslim men of military age that is currently pouring into Europe. - CM.
'The Afghan soldier in Baghlan's provincial capital, Pul-e-Khumri, was part of a joint operation between the German and Afghan militaries, Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg told reporters in Berlin.
"Working together carries risks", said Guttenberg, who earlier this week spent the night with German troops at the base in northeast Afghanistan.
'Risks'. You can say that again. - CM.
"Still, this attack may not lead to questioning the partnering (with the Afghan army) that has so far been successful
(I beg to differ, and I hope the mothers of the dead young soldiers will differ also.I think that this attack should most assuredly lead to questioning of that 'partnering'; one hopes that Thilo Sarrazin, and Rene Stadkewicz and those with him, will ask those questions, loudly and repeatedly. As for 'successful' - Mein Herr, you have had three young German soldiers treacherously murdered by one of their Afghan so-called 'partners', and six wounded. This is 'success' only from the point of view of Muslims who desire to reduce the number of non-Muslims in the world - CM)
because this would only serve our enemies".
Your enemy, Herr Guttenberg, is in fact the entire Ummah, which declared war on the whole non-Muslim world back in the 7th century and has been waging that war ever since on three continents (with, today, new fronts opening covertly on the other three - North and South America, and Australia), desisting only when weak or when it encountered sufficient resistance. In Afghanistan the fast jihadists, the Taliban, are openly hostile; the slow jihadists, the Muslims associated with the Karzai regime, are content to wear you down gradually, and bilk you for what they can get - money and arms - while concealing beneath a false smile their Islamically-inculcated enmity toward you. But every now and again the smiling mask slips; as it did, on Friday, in that military base in Pul-e-Khumri. - CM.
Beduin Arab Muslims rape, torture, hold to ransom, murder African refugees, singling out the Christians and animists for the cruellest treatment
From the Jerusalem Post's Ben Hartman, a story that reveals Arab Muslim racism toward blacks - whether Muslim or non-Muslim - and Muslim sadistic cruelty toward non-Muslims whom they have within their power.
A story that might with profit be circulated among black communities in the United States, and elsewhere, who are being targeted by Muslim dawah. - CM.
'Testimonies given to Hotline for Migrant Workers describe horrific ordeals, systematic rape, torture at hands of Beduin smugglers.
At hands of Beduin Arab Muslim smugglers. - CM.
'"I was a virgin when I arrived in the desert. During the first few times that I was raped, I cried and resisted, but that didn't stop. They wouldn't leave me alone. After that, I stopped resisting".
'The testimony of A. I. S, a 21 year old Eritrean woman, is part of a report released by the Hotline for Migrant Workers on Wednesday, detailing horrifying ordeals reportedly suffered by African migrants to Israel at the hands of the Beduin smugglers in the Sinai Peninsula.
'The report, titled, "The Dead of the Wilderness", is full of tales of rape, torture, murder, extortion and near-starvation compiled during interviews with 60 African migrants. The 24 women and 36 men, mainly from Eritrea, reported suffering severe brutality on their way to Israel.
'Most of the interviews were conducted by the Hotline at the Saharonim Prison, where the migrants were held after arriving in the country.
'In 2010, 11,763 people were smuggled into Israel across the Egyptian border, according to a report by the Knesset Research and Information Center.
'Most, if not all, of these people paid exorbitant sums in the thousands of dollars to Beduin smugglers, and many reportedly found themselves held hostage later by the smugglers until their families could pay a ransom. Many of those held for ransom were reportedly subjected to repeated torture and rape - used against both women and men - to force their families to send more money to end their ordeal.
There appears to be little or no distinction between the mindset produced by Islam, and the mindset of a psychopathic serial killer or of an organised crime boss. - CM.
'However, the suffering doesn't always end with the payment of ransom, according to the report, which cites the case of some 18 men who were forced into slave labor to build sprawling Sinai mansions for two of the traffickers.
Let us reflect on the fact that had Israel been allowed to retain control of the Sinai, instead of being forced to give it all back to Egypt, none of this would be happening. Once a black African, most likely Christian or animist, driven to desperation by Muslim mistreatment in Egypt, crossed into Sinai, they would have been in territory controlled by a sane and decent state with effective law enforcement. - CM.
'The report also cites a study previously compiled by Every-One Group, a collection of Italian human rights groups, which found that migrants were threatened with having their organs cut out and sold. It said that four young Eritreans had been taken to a pirate medical clinic, where each had a kidney removed. None of the four was ever seen again, the report stated.
And yet the local Arab Muslims in and around Israel have screechingly accused Israel of stealing organs. They even made a propaganda movie about it. It seems that, as usual, the malevolent Muslims project onto others the evil things that they themselves are doing - CM.
'The Hotline report portrays the Beduin smugglers as tending to rape their captives (following the sunnah, or example of their so-called prophet Mohammed, who raped captured women himself, and approved of the rape of captive women by his followers - CM), and states that according to the testimonies collected, it appears that the majority of the approximately 5000 women held by smugglers in the Sinai last year were raped during their time there, many of them repeatedly. Of the 24 women interviewed for the report, 17 stated that they had been raped - an especially high number, the report says, considering that rape victims are typically very reluctant to come forward, particularly those from conservative African societies, where victims of sexual assault are often ostracized from their communities.
I cannot imagine what it must be like for these poor women, having emerged from the hell-pit that is dar al Islam, to sit and tell their terrible stories to a kind Jewish psychologist or sociologist, who listens with all his or her heart, and utters not a word of condemnation or rejection. - CM.
'The experience of 19 year old Eritrean, T L S, illustrates the helplessness of such captives.
'"When I arrived in Sinai, the smuggler sold me, along with a group of other people, to another smuggler named Abdullah. Abdullah demanded an additional $10,000 from me. I had no way to raise that sum of money. Abdullah raped me for five days, and two other smugglers raped me as well. I wanted to resist, but I had no strength, and the smugglers nearly strangled me during the rape. As a result of all these rapes, I got pregnant, and I'm now seven months pregnant," T L S told the Hotline in her testimony. "Only after eight months was my father able to send the smugglers $10,000; they released me, and allowed me to cross the border to Israel", she recounted. "I must have an abortion. My husband should not know what happened to me in the desert, and I must not give birth to this child".
I have a better idea, my dear. Give birth to it; and give it to an evangelical Christian couple to be reared as a Christian, or to a childless Falasha Jewish couple - Chabad might be able to advise - to be reared from birth as a Jew. That would be the perfect revenge upon its worthless, murderous, thuggish, rapist Muslim father. - CM.
'M. N. a 35 year old Sudanese Christian, told the Hotline that the Beduin captors "would take the women and rape them daily...The women cried and yelled in a way that kept me up at night, for the entire time we were there. After three months there, I asked the women, through the women who spoke English, and learned that none of them had menstruated on time. Some didn't realize that they were pregnant".
Rape jihad. Using rape as a weapon of terror and humiliation of despised non-Arabs, despised non-Muslims; and breeding more Muslims, by sadistic rape of captive women, 'possessions of the right hand'. The more I know of Islam, and the habitual behaviour of Muslims wherever - as in the Sinai - they are without restraint, the more revolted I am by it. - CM.
'Rape is also used as a weapon of terror and control against men, with the report stating, "One of the men admitted that several men in his group were raped as well, as punishment for trying to prevent the rape of the young women".
Perhaps the IDF, instead of enlisting Beduin ( the very same Beduin Muslims whose kin in the Sinai are running this ghastly system of extortion, enslavement, sadistic rape, torture and - frequently - murder) should consider forming a Foreign Legion and inviting the Christians and animists from among these African survivors of unrestrained Muslim viciousness, to enlist in a special unit with a briefing to enforce law and order in Beduin-infested areas of Israel and also, given the collapse in law and order in the Sinai due to the current disturbances in Egypt, to conduct lightning surgical strikes upon the smuggler/ slaver/ rape camps in the Sinai, annihilate the Muslim rapist-extortionists, and rescue the captives. Muslim refugees could be sent to other Muslim lands; Christians and animists could be healed, armed and sent to Southern Sudan to reinforce the resistance to Jihad there. - CM.
'The report also describes the prison camps reportedly operated by the Beduin smugglers, where the migrants are tortured until their families send their ransoms or until enough new migrants arrive that there is simply no room to keep them any longer.
'The report further states that there is a network of African "collaborators" located in Israel, who exert pressure on migrants in Israel so they will send money to release their relatives being held in Sinai.
I would be interested to know what proportion of these 'collaborators' are Muslims - CM.
'The migrants' testimonies indicate that the smugglers, who are mainly members of Beduin gangs, but who employ some Sudanese, use Eritrean, Somalian, Nigerian and Sudanese nations as guards for the camp - at times because the guards were once captives themselves and were unable to pay ransom.
The Somalis would all be Muslim. It would be interesting to know what percentage of the Eritrean, Nigerian and Sudanese nationals used as guards, are also Muslims. If mostly Muslim, then what we have here is Arab Muslims (the Beduin) using black Muslims to do their dirty work.
And now comes the really important part of the story. It seems that the grossest cruelties and the most extortionate prices are inflicted upon those among the refugees who are not Muslim. - CM.
'The report notes that the level of cruelty dealt to the captives is linked in some part to religion.
'It asserts that Muslim Turks and Ghanaians who came to Israel by way of the same smuggling routes were not tortured or held to ransom, and were only required to pay $1000-1,400 each, as opposed to the $2,500- $3000 smuggling fees reportedly demanded of Christian and Animist migrants from Africa.
Quran, Surah 48: 29, Dawood translation: "Mohammed is allah's apostle. Those who follow him are ruthless to the unbelievers, but merciful to one another".
'The Hotline's report is consistent with the findings of an update issued in December 2010 by Physicians for Human Rights, entitled, "Hostages, Torture and Rape in the Sinai Desert".
'The update stated that "of 165 abortions facilitated by the clinic between January-November 2010, PHR-Israel suspects that half were requested by women who were sexually assaulted in the Sinai. During the same period, 1,303 women have been referred for gynecological treatment, here, too, a large percentage as a result of the trauma endured in Sinai. Harsh experiences in the Sinai have also translated into an increased number of patients seeking rehabilitative services from our Open Clinic".
'PHR stated that a subsequent questionnaire it had distributed to African migrants had found that "Eritreans and Ethiopians encountered pronounced harm, more so than any other group questioned".
'Figures in the PHR statement indicate that "77 % of Eritreans and Ethiopians reported physical assault including punching, slapping, kicking and whipping (compared to 63 % of patients from other African countries). 23 % of Eritreans and Ethiopians reported burning, branding, electric shock, and hanging by the hands or feet. No patients from other countries reported this phenomenon".
'In addition, PHR said, "47 % of Eritreans and Ethiopians reported seeing others beaten or tortured. 94 % of Eritreans and Ethiopians reported being deprived of food and 74 % reported being deprived of water. The phenomenon also occurred among other Africans, [with] 80 % being deprived of food and 53 % deprived of water".
'Sigal Rozen, head of the Hotline for Migrant Workers, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday that "the situation has just become more and more difficult. The report only includes testimonies taken before the end of 2010. In recent weeks, ever since the turmoil broke out in Egypt, we began hearing even worse stories".
'According to Rozen, "we have heard that people are being kidnapped from police stations in Sinai and held for ransom, as well as testimonies that indicate that Egyptian soldiers have captured migrants who escaped and sold them back to their captors".
'When asked what Israel could do in response to crimes taking place in Sinai, Rozen said that "Israel must find the [smugglers'] collaborators here, and put them on trial. Also, we hope the state will treat the victims as victims, and not just put them in jail and then release them onto the street without jobs or any right to receive medical or psychological treatment."
She said she also expected the international community to exert whatever pressure it could on those responsible.
Among those responsible I would name those who hold power in Egypt, who are clearly winking at or even profiting from all this infernal wickedness. They certainly seem to have done nothing whatever to stop it. - CM.
'Rozen noted that a number of testimonies revealed that some of the torture and abuse had taken place within as little as a 30-minute walk from the border with Israel - indicating that not all of the tragic events detailed in the report were that far out of reach or out of sight.
'Nic Schlagman, who manages a Tel Aviv shelter for African migrants, operated by the African Refugee Development Centre (ARDC), said the organization knew fully well the rampant, systematic sexual violence suffered by female migrants in the Sinai desert, who he said arrived at the shelter "emotionally and physically shattered".
The more I see of the fruits of Islam, the Arab Imperial Religion, the more I hate and despise it. - CM.
"The ARDC is dealing with the issue of abortions for women on a daily basis, and we are not the only organization doing this work", he said. "For us, the process is not just helping to organize the procedure, but also a process of rehabilitation and support".
'According to a report released earlier this month by the Population, Immigration and Borders Authority, there were 33, 273 "Illegal infiltrators" in Israel as of December 23, 2010, all of whom arrived by way of the porous southern border with Egypt. Of these, 19,442 were from Eritrea, 8.356 were from Sudan, and 5, 575 were from other countries in Africa.'
My advice to Israel: take in the non-Muslims, but with a view to ultimately sending them - trained and equipped to resist Jihad - back to places such as Southern Sudan; send all Muslims back to Muslim lands in Africa.
Bernardi's stand seems to have firmed up since Christina's last post. From the Australian Herald Sun:
TONY Abbott's official frontbench understudy has reignited immigration tensions by denouncing Islam as a "totalitarian, political and religious ideology".
Liberal parliamentary secretary Cory Bernardi revealed last night he had received death threats after making the comments.
While the immigration debate usually differentiates between the religion of Islam and extreme fundamentalist interpretations, Senator Bernardi confronted the issue head-on yesterday.
"Islam itself is the problem - it's not Muslims," he told radio station MTR.
"Muslims are individuals that practise their faith in their own way, but Islam is a totalitarian, political and religious ideology.
"It tells people everything about how they need to conduct themselves, who they're allowed to marry and how they're allowed to treat other people."
Senator Bernardi said Islam had "not moved on" since it was founded and that extremists wanted fundamentalist Islamic rule implemented in Australia.
The senator also inflamed the row over funeral expenses for asylum-seekers by declaring that it was "wrong" for taxpayers to foot the bill.
The remarks provoked a strong reaction from Ikebal Patel, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, who said Senator Bernardi had "crossed the line" with his attack on Islam.
"These comments are more than offensive; they are bigoted," Mr Patel said.
"Cory Bernardi needs to have a good read of the Bible if he is a practising Christian.
"This is hardly the language of a religious person."
How about, "Beware false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are as ravening wolves." - does that sound like the language of a religious person?
Immigration Minister Chris Bowen also slammed the senator's remarks.
"The Liberal Party professes to have said this week it would not make political points out of race and religion, but here we have Tony Abbott's parliamentary secretary launching an attack on a religion," Mr Bowen said.
The Bidoun [stateless Arabs who live in Kuwait but are not citizens] would like some decent treatment. It's a lot to ask, in the Muslim East.
Bedoun protesters running away from police who used tear-gas and water canon to disperse their demonstration held in Jahra after Friday prayers
Twenty hurt in Kuwait protest Bedouns press for rights in Jahra
KUWAIT CITY, Feb 18: A peaceful demonstration by some members of the Bedoun community in front of a mosque in Tima-Jahra, after the Friday prayer, snowballed into violent confrontation between the demonstrators and about 1,500 special security forces, with support from 500 security operatives from Jahra command, officers from the traffic unit and rescue officers. 20 people among the protesters and some security operatives sustained injuries.
The demonstration continued until late Friday night within Blocks 2 and 3 as the demonstrators refused to stop the protest and demanded the authorities meet and implement their demands. At the beginning of the protest, the demonstrators raised the Kuwaiti flag and displayed a picture of HH the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah. They chanted slogans, saying, “We shall sacrifice our lives and blood for the Amir and Al-Fadhalah will fall”. Other protesters chanted, “We shall sacrifice our lives and blood for Kuwait, while Al-Mulaifi will fall”. “Citizens demand the rights of Bedouns,” chanted another slogan.
The Assistant Undersecretary for Operations Major General Dr Mustafa Al-Za’abie dialogued with the demonstrators at the beginning and gave them 15 minutes ultimatum to leave the scene. The protesters did not heed the advice. This infuriated the Special Forces who used tear gas, rubber bullets and tear-gas to disperse them, but the protesters reacted by stoning the officers and damaged three patrol cars in the process.
The women folk among the protesters held talks with the Assistant Undersecretary for Public Security Major General Khalil Al-Shemali during the protest. This did not pacify the demonstrators who demanded to meet the Interior Minister Sheikh Ahmad Al-Hamoud Al-Sabah. Smoke from the tear-gas entered some buildings through which several children, women and men were almost suffocated. Paramedics rushed the victims to hospitals in ambulances, whereas security officers arrested about 60 people. The officers have intensified security at the wards where three women demonstrators among the injured people were admitted to prevent them from escaping so that security operatives could question them later. The officers besieged the entire area and prevented people from entering, whereas the protesters also blocked a road in Tima but the officers later dispersed them and re-opened the road.
Reacting to the incident, Jahra Governor Sheikh Mubarak Al-Hamoud affirmed the determination of the government to solve problems Bedouns are facing and cautioned protesters against confrontation with the security operatives. He denounced protesters’ attack on the officers and promised that the relevant authority will deal with the protesters appropriately.
In the meantime, the incident generated reactions from some lawmakers and MP Faisal Al-Duwaisan complained bitterly about the use of force to disperse the protesters. He said Bedouns have the right to know their current situation, considering the case has been dragging on for almost 40 years. He supported the idea of demanding their rights peacefully because they have been patient enough.
For his part, MP Dr Yousef Al-Zalzala noted that Bedouns deserve fair treatment during the National Days celebrations and that the government should open doors of respite for everybody in the country to be happy and delighted during the festivities.
Another lawmaker Adel Al-Sara’awi urged those who are inciting Bedouns to protest at this sensitive period to fear God because the agitation is capable of denting the national image and that of the Bedouns. He affirmed that the government is doing well by offering qualitative education and healthcare to Bedouns. He stressed that globalizing the issue is a deliberate attempt to discredit the government, especially after the Social Affairs and Labor Minister Dr Mohammad Al-Afasi had sorted out the issue with the international community. He frowned at plan to ensure irrational granting of the citizenship, saying, “We shall repel any attempt to agitate for irrational citizenship.”
In the same vein, MP Dhaifallah Buramiya said it was high time the Bedoun issue was resolved, and urged the government to stop delaying the issue because it relates to their dignity and many of them live below the poverty level, advising the Interior Ministry must allow the protesters conclude their peaceful protest as a way of reaching out to the authority.
Stateless Arabs, estimated at more than 100,000, claim they have the right to Kuwaiti citizenship, but the government says that ancestors of many of them came from neighbouring countries and they are not entitled to nationality.
Kuwait launched a crackdown on them in 2000, depriving them of their essential rights in a bid to force them to reveal what the authorities say are their true identities.
Many Bidouns have no right to a driver’s licence, cannot get birth certificates for their babies or death certificates for the dead. They are also banned from getting their marriage contracts attested.
Due to stringent government restrictions, a majority of them are living in dire economic conditions in oil-rich Kuwait, where the average monthly salary of native citizens is more than $3,500 (2,575 euros).
Authorities said that following the crackdown, some 20,000 Bidouns disclosed their original citizenship and were given residence permits like other foreigners. Most Bidouns claim to be Kuwaitis whose forefathers, who lived as Bedouins in the desert, failed to apply for citizenship when the state first introduced its nationality law in 1959.
A biscuit of news pour le weekend about that crumbling cookie, the French language:
After yesterday’s Wikileaks revelations, Nicolas Sarkozy has today confirmed that the “French language” is indeed a one thousand year old hoax. The president of France revealed that what purported to be his native tongue was in fact complete gibberish, admitting the French really speak English, except in the presence of the British. This comes as Wikileaks published cables sent by French diplomats to countries such as Spain, China and Russia which were all found to be written in English.
During a speech given in received pronunciation, the French President came clean, stating that it all started off as a joke during William the Conquerer’s invasion to make the aggressors seem a bit more exotic. “What was initially a prank snowballed and after a few years we realised we’d look silly revealing the truth, so we had to keep up the façade,” said the Premier. “In the company of any Brits we would try to make convincingly “French” sounds, a mixture of guttural grunts and rapid-fire syllables.
But as soon as we were on our own we’d all heave a huge sigh of relief and revert to English. We developed a heavy reliance on hand gestures to cover up when we ran out of likely noises, and the shrug was a particular boon if inspiration dried up. In the end we became quite the raconteurs, with an impressive array of supposed vocabulary. So what began as a game for the élites, became a hobby across all levels of society, and it shocked us that the Brits were so naïve as to not see through the charade.”
Sarkozy claims Wikileaks will soon expose a number of other “languages”. “I mean, seriously guys, has anyone ever actually listened to “Arabic”? Je ne sais pas…..”
BAGHDAD — A popular MP and member of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's political bloc who has resigned told AFP on Saturday that he stepped down in protest at pervasive patronage and cronyism in Iraqi politics.
Jaafar al-Sadr's resignation on Thursday came amid a wave of protests across Iraq against corruption, poor basic services and high unemployment that has left three dead and more than 100 wounded.
"Of course parliament plays a vital role in the life of the nation," he said in response to e-mailed questions. "But, in Iraq, this institution has found itself hamstrung by quotas and cronyism."
Sadr, the only son of the founder of Maliki's Islamic Dawa party, added: "This cronyism is corrupting official political life, while average people are increasingly left on their own to deal with their problems."
"I do not wish to overwhelm those who have taken on the heavy responsibility of leading the country, but we must admit that disillusionment and a deep malaise has seized the population," said the 41-year-old.
Country-wide protests this week, from the northern Kurdish city of Sulaimaniyah to the southern port city of Basra, have called for the government to combat corruption, and rebuild Iraq's war-battered economy and crumbling infrastructure.
"Everything is wrong with the political process, both in the government and in parliament: there have been for many years no solutions to the country's most pressing problems, no strategy, no vision," said Sadr.
"People are still waiting for even the smallest improvement."
He continued: "The legacy of the former regime, the occupation and the mistakes that came with it, the increasingly aggressive intervention by countries in the region, and terrorism which strikes continuously have all contributed to this impasse."
"But we must have the courage and the honesty to admit that there has also been a major failure of policy since 2003."
Sadr, who won the second highest number of votes in Baghdad province after Maliki in the premier's State of Law coalition in a March legislative poll, said he had no "political objectives" for his post-parliamentary career.
His father, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Baqr al-Sadr, founded the Islamic Dawa party in 1957 but was killed in 1980 by president Saddam Hussein, who was overthrown in the 2003 US-led invasion.
Jaafar al-Sadr, a cousin and brother-in-law of radical Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, studied religion in Baghdad, the holy Shiite city of Najaf and in Qom, Iran, before earning a degree in sociology and anthropology in Lebanon.
Sadr said that given the fragility of Iraq's democracy, all sides must scrupulously respect the constitution and the law.
"The Iraqi context is not unique: every time a society finds itself divided along ethnic, religious, confessional and tribal lines, it oscillates between two models," Sadr said.
These were "authoritarianism to maintain social cohesion, which is in the process of falling apart in front of our eyes across the Arab world, and a political system based on a contract that establishes the framework and rules of politics."
He said Iraq had escaped chaos but failed to attach itself firmly to a constitutional framework based on laws. "The process of democracy is not irreversible -- never forget that," Sadr cautioned.
Somebody – nobody knows who – said: all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. Wrong. Good men can “start a dialogue” with wicked men or join the “debate”. Wicked men have cottoned onto this dialogue and debate business, and are using it to their own advantage – and that of the Ummah..
Tim Winter, Shaykh Abdal Hakim Murad to the Ummah, likes debate – it buys time for Islam to spread. Thus, when Ayaan Hirsi Ali fights to stop Sharia, which cuts up and kills women, he writes that she needs to get with the debating programme. From Clive James’s blistering response:
At a time when British police have truly distinguished themselves by at last asking potential victims of honour crimes to report death threats, we have a piquant state of affairs in which Tim Winter, a lecturer in Islamic studies at Cambridge, thinks that the first thing we have to understand is the “twentieth-century Muslim debate on Islamic law and modernity”. But surely, while we wait for the results of that debate to come in, the first thing to understand is that the men of the Islamic minorities in the democratic countries should be prevailed upon to honour the law of the land before they concern themselves with the supposed honour of their families. They simply must be induced, if not by persuasion then by punishment, to stop cutting up and killing their women. Otherwise there will be little hope for Islam within democratic borders.
Dialogue is another stalling tactic, to allow Islam to regroup and Muslims to carry on stoning. Tariq Ramadan is a great one for dialogue. Here he is in the London Evening Standard, sticking to his well-known blustering tactic on the matter of stoning:
We meet in the Grand Champagne Bar at St Pancras station, sipping tea among bankers who are necking glasses of fizz while waiting for an evening Eurostar.
Ramadan, an observant Muslim who says he prays five times a day, has found an hour before boarding a train for an evening lecture at Cambridge. The night before he had performed at an Intelligence Squared debate in London.
Seven years ago, he was challenged on French television by Nicolas Sarkozy to condemn the stoning of women adulterers under a section of the Islamic penal code, but declined to do so.
I had no better luck in the champagne bar when he said rather than condemn, he would prefer to open a dialogue with Muslim scholars about the validity of stoning.
"Why can't you just unequivocally condemn something that is self-evidently barbaric?" I asked.
He replied: "Because I can say that for me it is not implementable. The difference between you and me is that you only think with your mind. From an Islamic viewpoint, these are rules that you find in the texts.
"So I can please you by saying, I want this to stop. But to condemn this is not going to change anything. It means for you to take two minutes to get intellectual empathy, you come in my shoes, I am talking to Muslims now. The point is not to condemn but to change things."
I sensed in his refusal to budge, and in his resort to the peculiar word "implementable", a desire not to give a Westerner - me, or, for that matter, Sarkozy - some sort of assumed satisfaction in hearing a Muslim question Islamic teaching. I asked him if he believed the Koran could not be wrong on any count.
"What is in the Koran cannot be wrong for Muslims, for this is the very word of God. What is wrong is the way the Muslims are reading it the problem is the reader, not the text."
Even people on the Left who are sympathetic to Ramadan's world view express exasperation at his ultra-nuanced positions. It is not hard to see why he has been accused of camouflaging his Islamist agenda under the niqab of ambivalent doublespeak.
The camel in the room – the elephant got bored – is that there is nothing to debate. Stoning is just wrong, from the non-Muslim point of view but just right from the Muslim. What’s the point of a dialogue when there’s nothing to talk about? Is Ramadan, is Winter, suggesting that some kind of compromise could be reached – very small pebbles, perhaps, so the victim ends up half-dead?
As I note in my post here, Winter’s weaselling powers are on the wane. Ramadan, unfortunately, has more mileage.
BAHRAIN — There’s delirious joy in the center of Bahrain right now. People power has prevailed, at least temporarily, over a regime that repeatedly used deadly force to try to crush a democracy movement. Pro-democracy protesters have retaken the Pearl Roundabout – the local version of Tahrir Square – from the government. On a spot where blood was shed several days ago there are now vast throngs kissing the earth, chanting slogans, cheering, honking and celebrating. People handed me flowers and the most common quotation I heard was: “It’s unbelievable!”
When protesters announced that they were going to try to march on the Pearl Roundabout this afternoon, I had a terrible feeling. King Hamad of Bahrain has repeatedly shown he is willing to use brutal force to crush protesters, including live fire just yesterday on unarmed, peaceful protesters who were given no warning. I worried the same thing would happen today. I felt sick as I saw the first group cross into the circle.
But, perhaps on orders of the crown prince, the army troops had been withdrawn, and the police were more restrained today. Police fired many rounds of tear gas on the south side of the roundabout to keep protesters away, but that didn’t work and the police eventually fled. People began pouring into the roundabout from every direction, some even bringing their children and celebrating with an almost indescribable joy. It’s amazing to see a site of such tragedy a few days ago become a center of jubilation right now. It’s like a huge party. I asked one businessman, Yasser, how he was feeling, and he stretched out his arms and screamed: “GREAT!!!!”
Many here tell me that this is a turning point, and that democracy will now come to Bahrain – in the form of a constitutional monarchy in which the king reigns but does not rule – and eventually to the rest of the Gulf and Arab world as well. But some people are still very, very wary and fear that the government will again send in troops to reclaim the roundabout. I just don’t know what will happen, and it’s certainly not over yet. But it does feel as if this just might be a milestone on the road to Arab democracy.
For King Hamad, who has presided over torture, gerrymandering and lately the violent repression of his own people, I don’t know what will happen. Like Hosni Mubarak, he could have worked out a deal for democracy if he had initiated it, but he then lost his credibility when he decided to kill his own citizens. Some people on the roundabout were chanting “Down with the Regime,” and they have different views about what precisely that means. Some would allow the king to remain in a largely figurehead role, while others want King Hamad out.
A democratic Bahrain will also put pressure on Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other Arab countries. Saudi Arabia has been notoriously repressive toward the Shiite population in its eastern region, and the racist contempt among some Sunnis in the Gulf toward Shiites is breathtaking. If Shiites come to rule the banking capital of the region (as well, now, as Iraq), that will help change the dynamic. ["change the dynamic" in what way? In a way that furthers the interests of the non-Muslim world, which right now must worry most about the power and plans of the Islamic Republic of Iran?]
We don’t know what exactly President Obama said to the king in his call last night, but we do know that the White House was talking about suspending military licensing to Bahrain. This may have been a case where American pressure helped avert a tragedy and aligned us with people power in a way that in the long run will be good for Bahrain and America alike.
Americans will worry about what comes next, if people power does prevail, partly because Gulf rulers have been whispering warnings about Iranian-influence and Islamists taking over. Look, democracy is messy. But there’s no hint of anti-Americanism out there, and people treated American journalists as heroes because we reflect values of a free press that they aspire to achieve for their country. And at the end of the day, we need to stand with democracy rather than autocracy if we want to be on the right side of history.
Finally, I just have to say: These Bahraini democracy activists are unbelievably courageous. I’ve been taken aback by their determination and bravery. They faced down tanks and soldiers, withstood beatings and bullets, and if they achieve democracy – boy, they deserve it.
At least four tourists from Moscow have been killed by militants in Russia's North Caucasus region on their way to a ski resort. The group were heading towards the Kabardino-Balkaria region of Russia.
"Two people in masks armed with automatic guns in a foreign-made car forced the minibus onto the hard shoulder, asked about passengers, then opened fire on the vehicle and fled from the scene," the Investigative Committee said in a statement. All six people in the vehicle were from the Moscow region. Three died on the spot and two were taken to hospital, it said.
Killed in the attack were Denis Belokon, born in 1976, Vyacheslav Kara, born in 1984, and Irina Patrushev, born in 1973 according to a law enforcement representative. The attack also wounded Valery Belokon and Sergey Efremov, who were taken to hospital.
A message on Islamist website Islamdin.com, hosted by the militant group Caucasus Emirate, said the tourists were killed by "mujahideens" because they "came into the zone of war".
The group was going skiing to the Elbrus mountain area when they were ambushed near the village Zayukovo, according to the NTV channel, adding that a fourth person died in hospital.
Dexter Van Zile: How Tariq Ramadan Depicts His Grandfather, And The Muslim Brotherhood
February 16, 2011
by Dexter Van Zile
Tariq Ramadan Obscures the Truth about Muslim Brotherhood
The Muslim Brotherhood is set to play a significant role in Egyptian politics after the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. The organization may have been caught flat-footed by the protests that drove Mubarak from office, but the Muslim Brotherhood will not remain in the wings now that Mubarak is gone. On Feb. 15, 2011, the Associated Press reported that the Muslim Brotherhood plans to form a political party to participate in future elections.
The Muslim Brotherhood's participation in elections does not translate into a commitment to democracy and individual rights. The behavior of Hamas since its electoral victory in early 2006 and the recent hijacking of Lebanon's government by Hezbollah demonstrate that well-organized Islamist groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood can use violence, or the threat of violence, to seize the reins of power after an election. The manner in which Muslim extremists came to dominate Iran after a broad coalition of groups including secularists and Marxists ousted the Shah of Iran in 1979 is instructive.
Given the consequences, American people have great need for accurate information and insightful commentary about Muslim Brotherhood and its ideology. One place many Americans will look for this information and commentary is the pages of The New York Times, which in the past few days have been graced by Tariq Ramadan, whose grandfather founded the organization in 1928, and Essam El-Errian, a leader of the organization itself. Both of these articles portray the Muslim Brotherhood as a peace-loving reform group intent on playing by the rules of democracy in the years ahead.
Ample evidence suggests that readers of The New York Times who rely on Ramadan and El-Errian's testimony about the nature of the Muslim Brotherhood will be making a mistake similar to the one made by people who trusted Walter Duranty's blinkered coverage of the Stalinist regime in Soviet Union in the 1930s.
Numerous sources demonstrate that the organization's leaders have embraced a violent authoritarian agenda that could threaten whatever freedom the Egyptian people have won for themselves with Mubarak's ouster.
Tariq Ramadan's piece, “Whither the Muslim Brotherhood?” appeared in the International Edition New York Times on Feb. 8, 2011. In this piece, Ramadan, a well-known Muslim scholar born and raised in Switzerland, writes that the Muslim Brotherhood
… began in the 1930s as a legalist, anti-colonialist and nonviolent movement that claimed legitimacy for armed resistance in Palestine against Zionist expansionism during the period before World War II. The writings from between 1930 and 1945 of Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Brotherhood, show that he opposed colonialism and strongly criticized the fascist governments in Germany and Italy. He rejected use of violence in Egypt, even though he considered it legitimate in Palestine, in resistance to the Zionist Stern and Irgun terror gangs. He believed that the British parliamentary model represented the kind closest to Islamic principles.
There is an obvious contradiction between Ramadan's description of the Muslim Brotherhood as a “nonviolent” movement that nevertheless supported “armed resistance” in pre-1948 Palestine. Moreover, Ramadan's assertion that Muslim Brotherhood was opposed to violence in Egypt is false. In addition to engaging in acts of violence against Jews in Palestine, the Muslim Brotherhood's military wing was responsible for the murder of several prominent Egyptian politicians – including the prime minister – in the 1940s.
The Muslim Brotherhood was also responsible for stoking anti-Jewish hostility – not just in Palestine – but in Egypt as well. Matthias Küntzel, author of Jihad and Jew Hatred: Islamism, Nazism and the Roots of 9/11 (2009, Telos), reports that the Muslim Brotherhood was a “driving force” behind “a shift in direction in Egypt from a rather neutral or pro-Jewish mood to a rabidly anti-Zionist or anti-Jewish one, a shift that changed the whole Arab world and affects it to this day.” This shift, Küntzel states, took place between 1925 and 1945 and was stoked by a 1936 boycott against Jewish business owners in Egypt organized by the Muslim Brotherhood. Küntzel writes “In mosques, schools, and workplaces, the Brotherhood worked up the believers with the legend that the Jews and British wished to destroy the holy places of Jerusalem, tear up the Koran, and trample it underfoot.” (Page 21)
Ramadan also offers distorted testimony about his grandfather, Hassan al-Banna, founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. Ramadan reports that al-Banna condemned fascist movements in Italy and Germany. Nevertheless, al-Banna drew inspiration from these movements. In a “Letter to the Young” quoted by Caroline Fourest in her book Brother Tariq: The Doublespeak of Tariq Ramadan (Encounter, 2007), Al-Banna holds up the Third Reich as a model for an Islamic movement charged with the creation of a worldwide Muslim government based on Islamic foundations.
This government, al-Banna envisioned would free Muslims from tyranny and “bring them together as one whole.” Al-Banna writes: “If the German Reich makes it a principle to protect all those with German blood in their veins, well then Muslim faith makes it a principle for every Muslim to act as the protector of all those who have taken to heart the teachings of the Koran.”
Ramadan's assertion that his grandfather opposed colonialism is tenable if one is speaking solely about Western colonialism, for in fact, al-Banna explicitly called for the restoration of a previously existing “Islamic Empire.” This empire would include territory that previously “had the good fortune to harbor Islam for a certain period of time” before “fate decreed that the light of Islam be extinguished in these lands that returned to unbelief.” Al-Banna continues:
Thus Andalusia [Spain], Sicily, the Balkans, the Italian coast, as well as the islands of the Mediterranean, are all of them Muslim Mediterranean colonies and they must return to the Islamic fold. The Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea must once again become Muslim seas, as they once were, even if Mussolini has usurped the right to rebuild the Roman Empire. This so-called empire of ancient times was founded on cupidity and lust. It is thus our duty to rebuild the Islamic Empire, that was founded on justice and equality and that spread the light of the true way among the people.
Al-Banna's colonialist impulse is also evident in a tract titled "Our Mission." In this piece, written by al-Banna to explain the goal of the Muslim Brotherhood, the author states that Islam has ordained "the conquest of countries and lordship over the earth" and "has sent out conquerors to carry out the most gracious of colonizations and the most blessed of conquests. This is what He, the Almighty, says "Fight them till there is no longer discord, and the religion is God's." [Q.2:193]. This passage is from Five Tracts of Hasan Al-Bana (1906-1949): A Selection from the Majmu at Rasail al-Imam al Shahid Hasan al-Banna translated by Charles Wendell and published by the University of California Press in 1978, pages 49-50.)
In light of this passage, it is evident that Ramadan's assertion that al-Banna was an anti-colonialist is false.
The historical record contradicts Ramadan's assertion that his grandfather was an anti-fascist. In his text Terror and Liberalism (2004, W.W. Norton), Paul Berman reports:
The Muslim Brotherhood's founder, Hassan al-Banna, expressed—I am quoting now from Melise Ruthven, from his A Fury for God—“considerable admiration for the Nazi Brownshirts.” His organization did choose to designate its organizational units as kata'ib, or phalanges, in the Franco style. (Berman, page 59)
Jessica Stern, author of Terror in the Name of God: Why Religious Militants Kill (2003, HarperCollins Publishers), offers testimony that further undermines al-Banna's allegedly anti-fascist credentials as offered by Ramadan. She writes “Hassan al-Banna was strongly influenced by revolutionary totalitarian movements from the far left as well as the far right, including the glorification of the military and a fascination with violence, a cult of martyrdom, and the Russian revolutionaries' idea of the ‘propaganda of the deed.'” This fascination apparently extended into the membership of the Muslim Brotherhood itself. Stern reports:
By the late 1930s, revolutionary junior officers, including those affiliated with the Brotherhood, had established links with Nazi Germany. Although the Brotherhood had started out as a charitable and cultural organization, it soon had a paramilitary wing, which took on fascist like slogans and practices. From the very beginning, one of its explicit goals was to counter liberal democratic principles. (Stern, page 45)
Clearly, al-Banna was fascinated with fascism and promoted the creation of a Muslim empire and yet Ramadan portrays him as an anti-fascist with strong anti-colonialist beliefs. Ramadan's depiction of his grandfather is untenable.
To be sure, the Muslim Brotherhood's political thought does not end with al-Banna. The group's intellectual history also includes the writings of Sayyid Qutb, a virulent anti-Semite who depicted the Jews as enemies of humanity, Islam and God. Israel's creation in 1948 was, for Qutb, an affront to the Muslim nomos or sense of order that needed to be rectified with its destruction. He offered this message in his text Our Struggle With the Jews written sometime in the 1950s. Interestingly enough, Qutb, whose writings are hugely influential amongst Muslim believers decades after his death, is not even mentioned in Ramadan's vague summary of the organization history after al-Banna's death.
This is a telling omission.
In his summary of the Muslim Brotherhood's post-al Banna history, Ramadan makes two gambits. First, he acknowledges in passing the undeniable bothersome aspects of the Muslim Brotherhood's ideology, which he reduces to a call for the violent overthrow of the state. This inoculates him against charges of ignoring the problem altogether.
Once he weakly acknowledges the Muslim Brotherhood's radicalism, Ramadan then portrays these radical elements in the Muslim Brotherhood as competing for influence with other groups in the organization who see things differently than the extremists in the organization. As Ramadan calls it, some of these groups favor gradual reform and others have come “into direct contact with the European tradition of democratic reform” and have apparently embraced these traditions.
Interestingly enough Ramadan does not openly assert that the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who have been exposed to the European tradition of democratic reform have actually internalized the principles of individual freedom, but instead lets readers draw this hopeful conclusion for themselves.
This is an important issue, because being exposed to the principles of democracy does not dictate that these principles be internalized. For example, Tariq's older brother Hani was also exposed to the influences of Western democracy while growing up on Switzerland, but is clearly and openly committed to the imposition of sharia law and has little use for man-made law. “Muslims are convinced of the necessity to return to the divine law in all places and at all times.” (Fourest, Kindle Location 1068)
Nevertheless, in Ramadan's description, the Muslim Brotherhood is a pluralistic organization in which “contradictory influences are at work. No one can tell which way the movement will go.”
This depiction is undermined by the public statements of Muslim Brotherhood leaders revealing the group as an extremist organization intent on clashing with the West. For example, Mustafa Mashur, who served as the leader of the Muslim Brotherhood from 1996 to 2002 wrote a book titled Jihad is the way. In this text, translated by Palestinian Media Watch, Mashur reiterates the Muslim Brotherhood's goal of establishing an Islamic state – the goal first introduced by Ramadan's grandfather, Hassan al-Bana. Here is one passage:
The Muslim youth on the path of Jihad should know that the sphere of their Jihad for Allah is not limited to the specific region of the Islamic countries, since the Muslim homeland is one and is not divided, and the banner of Jihad has already been raised in some of its parts, and it shall continue to be raised, with the help of Allah, until every inch of the land of Islam will be liberated, the State of Islam will be established, and Allah's Da'wa (Islamic missionary activity) will reach all mankind.
These are not the thoughts of an organization whose members are struggling to adapt the principles of democracy individual freedom and anti-colonialism. This is an expansionist, theocratic, utopian and triumphalist ideology with little regard for notions of democracy and individual rights.
Then there are the public statements of Yusef Qaradawi, who was twice offered the position of Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood and who is described as the movement's spiritual leader or father figure. In January 2009 he stated that Hitler was a “divine tool” sent to punish the Jewish people for their sins. He also called on Allah to “take this oppressive, Jewish, Zionist band of people. Oh Allah, do not spare a single one of them. Oh Allah, count their numbers, and kill them, down to the very last one." (Qaradawi, who is mentioned nowhere in Ramadan's piece, offered a prayer in the 1995 funeral of Tariq's father, Said Ramadan.)
Can anyone truly committed to democracy belong to an organization whose leaders speak and write like this? Does Tariq Ramadan truly expect people to believe what he writes about his grandfather and the organization he founded?
That Disgusting U.N. Vote, That Tepid American Veto
Israel has a legal, as well as a moral, and historic, right, to build all over those parts of Judea and Samaria that the Jordanians, having seized the area in the 1948-49 war, carefully renamed as "the West Bank." Get this clear: Israel has a legal right to build those villages and towns, which many absurdly like to endow with a transitory flavor as "settlements."
Get the history of the Mandates system, of the Mandate for Palestine, of the history, demographic and castral, of the area, under the nearly 500 years of Ottoman rule, clear in your own mind -- yes that will require some effort, but what doesn't? -- before you dare to utter a syllable, no matter who you are, about the "settlements." You have to know something. Got that?
Here's a piece I've posted before and will happily post many times again:
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
Take The Dose Ad Libitum: No More Ignorant Nonsense About "Settlements"
Not for the first time, and not for the last:
What's behind opposition to the "settlements"
Opposition to what are so tendentiously called "the settlements" is not about the "settlements" at all. It is about whether Israel is going to be allowed to decide for itself the minimum conditions of its own survival, or whether others -- apparently to include an Administration so deeply unlearned in the history of the area, and in the claims, and rights, of the Jews to build these "settlements" (simply Jewish villages and towns) on land that was always intended for Jewish settlement by the League of Nations in its Mandate for Palestine. That was one among many mandates created after World War I, several of which led to the creation of Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq -- that is, three of the now-22 members of the Arab League. Other mandates were intended to make provision for some of the many other non-Arab or non-Muslim peoples -- but the Kurdish state and the Armenian state as originally envisioned were still-born, and the Jews received not all of historic Palestine, but only Western Palestine, while again the Arabs took the lion's share for themselves.
It is not the "settlements" that are at stake, but whether or not Israel will control the small sliver of territory, the "West Bank," without which the Jordan Valley, and the historic invasion route from the east, cannot be controlled. For if Jewish settlements are stopped, if the decision is taken out of Israel's hands, and if its claims are de-legitimized, it is just part of a deliberate, unending, and most cunning attempt by Muslim Arabs to push Israel back, so as to whittle away at it, and step by step to weaken Israel and demoralize its population. This has been written about and spoken about so much in the Arab media that it is inexcusable for those who make policy to continue to have failed to notice it.
This would be done in stages. Mahmoud Abbas is the leading proponent, at present, of this Two-Stage Solution. That is what he means when he says "we choose peace as a strategic option." Not "peace" tout court, but "peace as a strategic option." First, by opposing the Jewish claim to have any natural expansion in what are so wrongly called "settlements," this would condemn Jews, but not Arabs, to keeping their population from increasing in the "West Bank." That would inevitably lead to their shriveling. It would start the process of forcing Israel to yield, to give up those Jewish villages and towns, to give up their rightful claim that was already shrunken by 77% when Great Britain created, back in 1922, the Emirate of Transjordan out of Eastern Palestine. Eastern Palestine was originally intended for inclusion in the Mandate for Palestine.
If Israel cannot allow even for natural growth in its "settlements" -- meaning apparently no babies are to be born beyond the replacement level, while the Arabs in the "West Bank" and in pre-1967 borders of Israel, like the Muslims living everywhere, are permitted to have eight and ten and twelve children per family, we know the result. And if Israel's settlements are paralyzed, and painted even in the Untied States -- never mind the U.N. -- as illegitimate, the pressure on Israel, which is already immense, would likely force the Israelis, despite their own need to survive, to give up the "West Bank" that offers them the only strategic depth they possess. Israel without the "West Bank" is nine miles wide, from Kalkilya to the sea. It can be cut in two with ease by the fabulously well-armed, and overwhelmingly more numerous Arabs. Unless Israel is prepared at once to use nuclear weapons, it can be overrun. And not only must Israel continue to control the Jordan Valley and the historic invasion routes from the East, but it must also control the aquifers under the "West Bank" that are so vital.
The "West Bank" was always supposed to be part of Mandatory Palestine. It should legally be regarded, as the late Dean of Yale Law School Eugene Rostow noted, and as the Australian jurist Julius Stone so convincingly showed in his exhaustive book-length legal study, as an "unallocated part of the Mandate." Its legal status was unaffected, that is, by the Jordanian seizure and rule from 1949 to 1967. So when the Americans suggest, or more outrageously, "demand," that Israel stop "settlement activity," they are saying that the Mandate for Palestine is null and void.
They are saying, these people who have the presumption to tell the permanently-imperiled Jews of Israel what to do, that those Jews do not have a right to the small sliver of land that constitutes Western Palestine. They are saying that we must accept the camouflaged Jihad, the one that since the Six-Day War has presented that Jihad against Israel as a campaign for the "legitimate rights" of the hastily invented "Palestinian people" (never mentioned by the Arabs before that Six-Day War, not by any Arab diplomat, or political figure, or "intellectual" -- the phrase "Palestinian Arabs" or just "Arabs" or "Arabs of Palestine" -- never the "Palestinian people" -- was what one heard). It was a neat trick, and pursued quite determinedly. And much of the world has accepted this nonsense.
But now the world's Infidels are beginning to realize that Islam itself is a problem for them. Much to their regret, the peoples of Western Europe, for various reasons, but everywhere with a civilisational nonchalance or negligence that is lamented now by all of them, they allowed, over the past forty years, large numbers of Muslims into their midst. They also allowed many other immigrants. But none of those immigrants, save for the Muslims, bring with them, in their mental baggage, not merely an alien creed, but an alien and a permanently hostile creed.
For Islam is based on the idea of a state of permanent war existing between Muslims and Unbelievers. Muslims have a duty, sometimes collective and sometimes individual, to participate in the struggle or Jihad to remove all obstacles to the spread, and then the dominance, of Islam. It is this that the most intelligent and farseeing Infidels are coming to recognize. And as more and more of them do, the monstrous mistreatment, based on vicious or ignorant misreporting, of the Arab Muslim war made on Israel, and Israel's attempts to survive despite that unending war conducted by all possible means, will be recognized. Then, the former sympathy for Israel, that it enjoyed before 1967 and the attempt to paint it as a might aggressor, will return, at least to the minds of the informed men of good will.
If Israel is forced into limiting the natural growth of its villages and towns in that part of Mandatory Palestine that the Jordanians seized and held until 1967, it will then have troops there and no civilians. And then the claim will be made that Israel is merely a "military occupier" because of its having been forced to remove its civilians, who stand for those legal, historic, and moral claims. The world is ununderstanding of, and unsympathetic to, Israel's plight as the victim of a Lesser Jihad that has been quite openly recognized as such, called as such, by Arabs and Muslims when they address other Arabs and Muslims, but not so described when they are smilingly presenting the Arab case to the West. To the West the would-be destroyers of Israel present a case of pretend victimization. Yet they have done nothing to construct a "Palestinian" state in Gaza, and exist in order only to destroy what the Jews so incredibly, with such hardship and heartbreak, created out of the "ruin" and "desolation" described by every 19th century Western traveler who visited the Holy Land.
Without those Jewish villages and towns, those so-called "settlements," Israel would be more easily depicted as having no claim other than that of military occupier to this absurdly-named (by the Jordanians) "West Bank" -- that is, parts of Judea and Samaria, as it was called by everyone in the Western world until the Jordanians renamed it, like the Romans changing Judea to Palestine and Jerusalem to Aelia Capitolina. Its legal, moral, historic claims would be forgotten. My god, they are quite forgotten by many people, even in Washington, already. That must not happen.
Above all, there must be, for the moral sanity of Washington, and this country and the entire West, some preservation of what can only be called a sense of justice, of equity. At a time of continued squandering of men, money, and materiel, in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan, the confusion about Islam and ignorance of it that causes that squandering (which is entirely unnecessary if the well-prepared are listened to) also reveals itself in the temptation of appeasement. And as with Chamberlain and Daladier in Munich in 1938, our current leaders in the Western world, not knowing what to do about Islam, and willfully refusing to find out more about the matter, possibly for fear of what they might find out, are willing to appease, and the coin they offer is the safety and security of a tiny country.
By sacrificing that county, by listening to the demands of the Nazis or of the Arab Muslims, the Western powers -- then Great Britain and France, today the United States -- hopes that that will make things somehow better. It won't. The Sudetenland did not sate Hitler's appetite, but whetted it, and showed him the pusillanimity of France and Great Britain. Forcing Israel, step by step, back within the 1949 Armistice Lines, the "lines of Auschwitz," as Mahmoud Abbas and the Slow Jihadists (King Abdullah of Jordan, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, tutti quanti) want it, will lead only to Israel's destruction.
Justice. Equity. A sense of history, and of the most persecuted tribe in human history, the Jews. A sense of proportion, knowing that the Arabs are the most richly endowed, with land and natural wealth, of any people on earth. And yet, everywhere they deny to all others within the lands they rule, to all non-Muslims and non-Arabs, any hint not only of independence or autonomy, but even of something like equality with the ruling Muslim Arabs.
The Jews, like the Copts, like the Maronites, like the Kurds, like the black Africans of the Sudan like the Berbers, like so many other non-Arab and non-Muslim peoples, have through the centuries been ill-treated by those Arab Muslims all over the Middle East and North Africa. They deserve what they asked for, and the intelligent leaders who had to deal with the remnants of the Ottoman Empire knew they deserved what they asked for: the right to buy land, and to construct a country, and to be the inheritors, from the Ottoman state, of those lands owned by that state. That was all they asked for, and that was what they got. Now the Arabs, determined to deny that Infidel nation-state any existence, are divided between those who, like the Fast Jihadists of Hamas, want to go in for the kill at once, and those who, like the Slow Jihadists of Fatah, see the wisdom of patiently de-constructing Israel, step by step, with help from the confused (morally and geopolitically) Americans and Europeans.
Finally, there is the failure of so many to study how Muslims regard treaties made with Infidels. They do not adhere, as some may blandly assume, to the principle that seems to Westerners so obvious, but that in fact had to be arrived at, and then accepted, as it has been all over the West. That principle is the one known as Pacta Sunt Servanda, or, Treaties are to be obeyed. That is a principle of Western law, but not of Islamic law. In Islam, the model for all treaties made with Infidels is that agreement, that "hudna," or ten-year truce, made by Muhammad with the Meccans in 628 A.D. It was a treaty that, eighteen months later, feeling his side to be stronger, Muhammad violated on a pretext. He has been hailed for this splendid act of cunning, this illustration of his oft-repeated claim that "war is deception." Since Muslims are always in a state of war with any non-Muslims who resist the dominance of Islam, war-making includes the making of treaties to lull the enemy, or to buy time in order to build up one's forces, or to pursue war, that is the Jihad, by means other than qitaal or combat, or in combination with qitaal or combat.
None of this is fabricated. One has only to read the many Muslim commentators on Islam. Read the non-Muslim commentators. Read Joseph Schacht. Read Antoine Fattal. Read Bassam Tibi. Read Majid Khadduri. Find out what they have to say about Hudiabiyya, and its continuing to be the guiding model for all subsequent treaty-making with non-Muslims.
Merely being "pro-Israel" is not enough, if you do not bother to learn about the nature of the war being made on Israel, and on the entire Infidel world. For if you are one of those who thinks that "being Jewish" or "having a Likud father" or "being as pro-Israel as they come" (shades of Rahm Emanuel) allows you to endorse, or seem to endorse, policies that endanger Israel's survival because they are based on a misunderstanding of the nature of Arab Muslim treaty-making, and of the nature of the war -- a war without end, but one that is manageable, that can be contained, through invocation of "Darura" or necessity -- then you have another think coming.
US Vetoes PA Resolution at UN Security Council â€“while calling Israeli settlements â€œillegitimateâ€�
When we posted on the apparent backroom wrangling behind the scenes by Obama Administration and the PA over the UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel’s settlement policies , we noted the flip flops by US Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.
In a Jerusalem Post report by Abu Khaled Tomah, “PA: We'll turn to UN General Assembly to stop settlements”, he noted the alleged phone calls to PA President Abbas from Obama entreating him to pull their resolution condemning the Israeli ‘settlement’ policies. Apparently, Abbas refused. When the vote was finally held yesterday, Amb. Rice exercised the US veto and the PA resolution cratered despite the 14 in favor. Ms. Rice towed the line from President Obama’s June 2009 Cairo speech that the settlements were ‘illegitimate’. We gather that the striped pants and skirts brigade in Foggy Bottom have selective memories disregarding the objective of UNSC resolution 242 of November 1967, guaranteeing Israel’s rights to secure borders in the disputed territories. Abbas called for “Days of Rage” over the US veto shifting the venue to the General Assembly, dominated as it is by the members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference and non-aligned allies, of which 115 support the PA resolution. Then we have the classic EU appeasers, the UK, France and Germany issuing a joint statement condemning the US veto, despite the conflicted comments of Amb. Rice. Hamas in Gaza joined the Arab ‘amen corner’ calling this further evidence of US support for the Israeli positions.
Watch this Press TV You Tube video of Amb. Susan Rice articulating the US position on its veto while still calling Israel’s settlement position ‘illegitimate’.
Fitzgerald: How Could Anyone In His Right Mind Not Be On The Side Of Israel?
[re-posted; originally appeared June 2008]
The Israelis, or a majority of them, know their true situation. It is their government, from which so many Israelis are now so obviously disaffected, that refuses to know. But that government is wrong. Soberly recognizing the permanent meaning, and menace, of Islam, and acting and planning accordingly, and helping or insisting that other countries, including the United States, recognize the real nature of the threat that Israel faces, is not a counsel of despair. Nor is helping those other countries, including the United States, to understand that the Jihad against Israel is a Lesser Jihad, one of many whose sum is the worldwide Jihad, a "struggle" by Muslims, using various instruments that go beyond, and are more effective, than terrorism, to remove all obstacles to the spread and then to the dominance of Islam.
Everywhere Islam must triumph. Everywhere, eventually, Muslims must rule. It may take a century, or two. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it never comes to be. What matters is the fact of the promptings, that will not go away unless the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira either disappear, or are modified, or interpreted away, or are received as texts from which one may pick and choose. Until then, the immutable and uncreated Qur'an remains, the literal Word of God, outside of history.
Israel is not its only, not even its main, target. But for decades it has been the most-publicized target of Jihad, for the existence of an Infidel nation-state, smack in the middle of Dar al-Islam, and run by the despised Jews, is simply something that sends many Muslims into a fury. Some conceal that fury for the benefit of Western donors and diplomats, but that fury will always remain.
The Israelis -- or most of them -- now understand this. It is Haim Ramon, and Ehud Olmert, and the Livni lady, and David Landau of Ha'aretz, and the permanently preening Israelis, ordinarily on the left, who do not understand it, for they all learn what they need to know about Israel from their "Palestinian" friends -- the ones whom it is de rigueur for a certain kind of Israeli leftist to possess, and to prefer to those difficult Jewish fellow citizens who seem so...so...unwilling to compromise. Their rigidity is so unlike the flexibility and openness of those very nice "Palestinian friends," doing their own version of Edward Said courting, say, this or that Jewish professor at Columbia, or the musician Daniel Barenboim. [this paragraph reflects the date of the original post, which is 2008]
Yes, Israel appeared to be the sole victim (for those who never let their gaze wander over to the subcontinent, to India) until recently, when the OPEC trillions and Muslim millions in Europe made much larger goals, once scarcely conceivable, now entirely conceivable. Before that, the reconquest of Israel was the one goal that got all the attention. That the Arabs seemed exercised only by Israel (with its implied corollary that if Israel were to be thrown to the wolves, all manner of things would be well) was merely an optical illusion.
If it is any consolation to Israel, it now can share that attention with Infidel peoples and polities everywhere.
Indeed, how could anyone in his right mind not be on the side of Israel?
How can those diplomats at the U.N., the ones from the quasi-civilized countries, stand to vote as they are told to? Why does not one of them simply resign, on the spot, in a fit of moral fury?
How can those who presume to make policy in the capitols of the Western world, including Washington, London and, especially Berlin, and in all the rest of Europe, presume to preach to Israel as to what that tiny country, under permanent siege, has a "right" to do, as to what constitutes a "proportional" response, as to what Israel simply "must" give up, after it has already, for the past half century, again and again given up in every negotiation and every treaty, all of which have been, and all of which will be, breached by the Muslims who take as their model the Treaty of Hudaibiyya?
No one has the moral right to lecture or hector Israel about anything. No one has the moral right to pressure it about anything, to belabor it about anything, to dare to condemn it for anything, as it fights, and will have permanently to fight, for its life.