These are all the Blogs posted on Monday, 26, 2012.
Monday, 26 November 2012
Kurds Uniting To Resist Arab (Islamic) Supremacism
From Asharq Al-Awsat:
Syrian Kurds form unified army, call for fe[de]ralism
By Shirzad Shikhani
Erbil, Asharq Al-Awsat – A Syrian-Kurdish source, speaking to Asharq Al-Awsat on the condition of anonymity, revealed that “Kurdish forces represented in the People’s Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council arrived in Erbil to pave the way for the unification of fighters inside Syria’s Kurdish regions, to establish a popular army as an alternative to the armed militias that have run the security situation in Syria for a number of months”.
This group of Kurdish parties and forces, along with coordinating bodies, met in Erbil a few days ago to reach an agreement on unifying Kurdish efforts. This is in order to confront the threats that Kurdish regions are currently facing from Salafi groups, who in recent days have engaged in military confrontations with members of the Kurdish Democratic Union Party, which effectively controls the situation on the ground in Syria’s Kurdish cities.
A leading Kurdish source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “talks were conducted in Erbil under the auspices of the leaders of the Kurdistan region. These talks brought about a consensus to activate the remainder of an earlier agreement signed by the two Kurdish councils (the People’s Council of West Kurdistan and the Kurdish National Council) several months ago in Erbil, known as the Hewlêr [Kurdish name for Erbil] Agreement”.
The source stressed that “a comprehensive review was conducted of developments since that agreement was signed, as well as discussions about what has been accomplished and what remains in progress. Developments on the ground that have taken place in the region, namely the radical [Salafi] Islamist forces intensifying their confrontation with the Kurdish people in Syrian cities, necessitates the accelerated implementation of the rest of the agreement’s terms. Thus we reached an agreement to unite our armed forces inside Syria and to link them to the Kurdish Supreme Committee that represents both councils and the coordinating bodies”.
The source added that “there was also an agreement to increase the number of members in the Kurdish Supreme Committee to 21 members from each council. Each council now provides 16 of its own members in addition to 5 further members drafted from the coordinating bodies or independents”.
On the military front, the Kurdish source informed Asharq Al-Awsat that “it was agreed that a new armed force will be formed to replace the existing forces - formed previously by the Kurdish Democratic Union Party - who currently run the security situation in the liberated Kurdish cities. The new force will also consist of armed elements affiliated to that party, but in addition to 650 young Syrians who were previously trained in Iraqi Kurdistan. This force will be tasked with defending the liberated Kurdish regions in cooperation with all other parties, and it will also be ready to contribute to the liberation of the rest of the Kurdish cities and regions, should this be necessary”.
The source added that “this new joint force will be the nucleus of a wider local entity that will take over security operations and fill the vacuum that is left after the fall of the ruling regime in Damascus”.
In terms of politics, the source said that “the latest Erbil meeting raised democratic slogans for an independent Syria and for federalism in West Kurdistan. Furthermore, the Kurdish Supreme Committee, consisting of the People’s Council of West Kurdistan, the Kurdish National Council and local coordinating bodies should be the sole legitimate representative of the Kurdish people in Syria”.
Tariq Alhomayed On Understanding The Muslim Brotherhod And Morsi
From Al Sharq Al Awsat:
The Brotherhood’s true colors November 25, 2012
By Tariq Alhomayed
One can only be astounded by those in Egypt and the Gulf, specifically some in Saudi Arabia, who are shocked by what the Muslim Brotherhood has done in Egypt, where the President has granted himself new powers not held by any ruler since the pharaohs. It was as if they, i.e. those who are shocked, were waiting for the Brotherhood to rule democratically along the lines of America and Europe.
With respect to everyone, this is not the time for courtesies. Since the January 25th revolution, a very small number, particularly in this newspaper, were alert and warned of what the Muslim Brotherhood was doing in Egypt. This was not because these writers were fortune tellers, but rather because they had read history well, and they knew that past experiences of Islamic rule were not commensurate with democracy. Rather, Islamic currents have traditionally pursued an irreversible and uncompromising road to seizing power, using a simple means whereby they speak in the name of God and denounce all those who oppose them as infidels, outside agents or Zionists.
Thus, what is happening in Egypt was expected, and we warned of it at length. We said: Fasten your seatbelts! And we were told: Give Mursi a chance! The Egyptians, particularly the political and youth forces were told: Put the constitution first. Do not simply be firewood for the Brotherhood’s battles with the military, do not become preoccupied with the stories of remnants, and do not become absorbed in hatred for Mubarak, because revenge does not build nations. The Egyptians were also told: To vote for Shafik is to choose the civil state, and to vote for Mursi is to choose the religious state, along the lines of Iran, and this is what is happening in Egypt today. No one listened, and distrust and incitement prevailed.
In the Gulf, specifically in Saudi Arabia, we have seen the Brotherhood bloc suddenly emerge on some satellite channels, in newspapers, and on social networks. A wave of misinformation and incitement has spread to trigger chaos across the Gulf, with Brotherhood members and those allied with them trying to deceive everyone for different reasons but with the same goal; to normalize the Muslim Brotherhood model in the Gulf, taking heart from what has happened in Egypt. In addition to the great incitement in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, Jordan was also targeted. Yet the irony here is that those inciting for the Jordanian King to abdicate today and also justifying the Egyptian President’s moves to monopolize power! We are now being overwhelmed by justifications, between those trying to tailor democracy so that it fits with the Brotherhood’s objectives, and between those who have been shocked by what has happened but do not want to say they were wrong to trust and defend the Brotherhood in the first place!
Indeed the justifications of the Brotherhood members themselves, and those affiliated with the group, are the most laughable. Some of them say that the road to democracy requires certain dictatorial decisions, whilst others say that Mursi’s actions are only temporary, and that he must be given a longer chance. This is a bigger joke than “give him a chance for the first 100 days”!
Hence, what the Muslim Brotherhood did in Egypt was to be expected, and some rational minds warned of it. This was not a case of fortune telling; for in politics you cannot overlook history, geography, culture, constitutions, experiences, and the actors involved. [in other words that the writer can't write: you can't ignore Islam, and those who take Islam most to heart]. Anyone who went to the trouble of reading one book about the Muslim Brotherhood would not have been shocked by what they have done, and there would be no need today for these ridiculous justifications!
Matt Hill: The Idiot Who Knows Nothing About, And Doesn't Want To Know A Thing About, Islam
Here are Matt Hill's vaporings in The Telegraph about how "Netanyahu" and "Hamas" both "need each other" in order to perpetuate an easily solvable "problem." Because of Islam there is a world-without-end Jihad against Israel, which in turn necessitates awar of self-defense by Israel, an Infidel nation-state smack in the middle of Dar al-Islam, for as long as Muslims are taught that their central duty is to wage Jihad, so that the world, which rightly belongs to Allah and to the "best of peoples," that is the as-yet-unislamized world of Dar al-Harb, is subject everywhere (and not just "the West Bank" and "Gaza" as Matt Hill dreamily and dopily appears to believe, or pretends to believe) to domination by Islam, and Muslims rule, everywhere.
Here are Matt Hill's vaporings in The Telegraph on why there is, in the simple-minded view of the simpleton Matt Hill, a simple "solution" to the Jihad against Israel exists, and he, Matt Hill, is here to set us all straight, we who have ignored, like the gaping onlookers in Hogarth's print of Columbus making an egg stand upright, the most obvious point, as Matt Hill sees it, that there are no "irreconcilable differences" between the parties. And so there aren't, just as long as one ignores reality, as long as one ignores the tenets and teachings and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, and pretends that it is just a little quarrel over cadastral affairs, a resolvable dispute merely over dunams of land.
I won't bother to discuss Matt Hill's complacent ignorance of history, including that of the League of Nations' Mandate for Palestine, or his amazing misdescription of the Armistice Lines of 1949 as "internationally recognized" boundary lines. He's an idiot, and I suspect he's about 25 years old, because his bland unawareness of this history is of a kind I now associate with the very young. But on that point - his age -- I could be wrong. He may be much older, and not quite the idiot he appears but, rather, a deep sympathizer with, and promoter of, the Arab cause. Those who know more about him are encouraged to share their knowledge of him.
But again, here's what Matt Hill misses, as he apparently has not looked at what's happening in northern Nigeria, or in Kenya, or in southern Sudan, or what happened in New York at the World Trade Center, , or Madrid at the Atocha Station, or in Moscow at the theatre, or in Mumbai, or in thousands of other places, far from Israel, such as Northern Nigeria and the Southern Sudan, where Muslims have waged war, conducted Jihad, on non-Muslims (or in some cases, Arabs -- as the best of Muslims, have waged war on non-Arab, and therefore inferior, Muslims, as with the Kurds in Iraq or now in Syria, being attacked and murdered by the local Arabs, or the black African Muslims in Darfur who were murdered, by the hundreds of thousands, by Muslims who thought of themselves as Arabs and therefore superior -- Islam, remember, is a vehicle for Arab supremacism).
It's Islam, Islam, Islam. It's a Jihad against Israel. It has no end. The only "solution" is that of deterrence, of an Israel that remains so overwhelmingly more powerful, militarily, that the Arabs and Muslims will not be able to wage open war, by violent means on it. That is what keeps, more or less, the peace between Arabs and Jews. And that's the only thing now, or in the future, that will ever keep that peace.
Matt Hill describes his "solution" which depends on us all pretending we can continue to igore Islam. How can we, when every day brings fresh news of Jihad, local Jihads whose sum is the world-wide Jihad, and when we can now see, up close, the attitudes and behavior of Muslims who have so foolishly been allowed to settle deep within the countries of Westeern Europe, behind what Islam teaches them are essentially the enemy lines, the lines of the House of War or Da al-Harb? Does Matt Hill think we haven't eyes to see? He may be an idiot, but many others, including those who only recently started to figure out Islam, because the behavior of Muslims world-wide made it impossible to continue to ignore the subject of Islam, are not quite so ignorant or so stupid.
How much of his nonsense are we expected to endure, and who permitted Matt Hill, unsupervised and still in his swaddling clothes, to squirt his meconium all over the the pages, of The Telegraph?
Fitzgerald: When It Comes To Islam, Please Stop This "Problem" And "Solution" Nonsense
[Re-posted from January 16, 2010]
Many continue to believe that if we argue that Islam itself is the problem, this will leave the West with no solutions.
The word "solution" leapt out at me. I have written about it many times before, in regards to those who speak of a "two-state solution" to the Arab Muslim Jihad against Israel. I have written many times about what a foolish idea it is to believe that further Israeli surrenders, of claims, legal and moral and historic, and of tangible assets, especially the supreme asset, as it is viewed in the Muslim world, of land, would somehow change the immutable and uncreated words of the Qur'an, or somehow change the Hadith -- that is, change either the contents, or the rank of "authenticity," assigned to the Hadith (the written records of the words and deeds of Muhammad) more than a millennium ago by the most authoritative Muhaddithin.
I noted that Americans, unlike Europeans, are used to identifying situations that are troublesome or difficult or unpleasant as "problems," and, as problems, they are assumed to be susceptible of solution and therefore can be "solved." In some ways it is an attractive attitude. It testifies to a certain strain in the national character, a belief that may come from the encounter in this country with Nature, that the settlers in order to survive had to learn to subdue. And they felt, in a different way (a way we find not quite so unobjectionable today) it was felt necessary to subdue the indigenous Indians. Nature could be overcome, other men could be overcome. And when there was a need for something to be invented, born of necessity that invention would emerge. Yankee know-how and stick-to-it-iveness, the attitude that there is "no problem in the world that cannot be solved" if we just put our minds to solve it, may seem to some comically naïve, but for many it reflects an attitude that will not disappear, and of which many of us apparently cannot be disabused.
How many times have you heard someone call in to one of those NPR Talk Shows (where the host invites one and all to "join the conversation" and then has his call-vetters carefully keep out any of those well-informed callers whose questions would throw a spanner into the whole party-line works)? The callers who are allowed on the air say that "in the Middle East those folks have been making war on each other for thousands of years" and "apparently we Americans have got to get on in and bash some heads together to solve their problems if they can't do it for themselves." It never occurs to those who make these suggestions, or those who run the shows and hear them, to ask if it is merely a question of a "problem" to be solved, where the Americans come in because the parties in question have lost all sense of perspective or are unaccountably stubborn, and "solve" the problem by a little common-sensical solution - say, that "Two-State Solution" when it comes to the Arabs and Israelis. We already know it is a solution because otherwise, why would everyone in both parties who has been working on such an outcome call it a "Two-State Solution"? Q. E. D.
And what, even for Roger Fisher, he of Harvard Law, who once galumphed all around the world peddling his made-for-television series on "Arabs and Israelis," has been one of the biggest rackets and profit centers in para-academic life? It's "Negotiation." You can learn the craft and art of "Negotiation." You can buy books, you can take courses, you can hire consultants who will help you, help anyone and everyone if the price is right, to Getting To Yes. Many of those who first worked with Roger Fisher now have their careers, and their consulting centers, and their fat, fat fees. It never occurs to anyone that you can always "Get To Yes" if one side can be pressured to giving up what it needs for its survival (see under "Israel"). And it never occurs to anyone that sometimes life is a zero-sum game - very often in fact - and that one side may not wish to listen to Sweet Reason and Get To Yes, because recovery at once of any lands once possessed by Muslims, and then slow but inexorable domination by Muslims of the entire world, is more important than any Getting To Yes could ever be (unless of course "Getting To Yes" is merely a way to weaken the Infidel enemy, a variant on the Treaty of Al-Hudaibiyya).
There is no "solution" to the war being waged on Israel. Nor is there a "solution" within Israel to the presence of those, Muslim Arabs, who do not and cannot feel loyal to the state of Israel, and wish the Jews and the State of Israel ill.
But the same thing is true in the case of Muslims all over Western Europe and, to a much lesser extent, in North America. In a few decades of criminal negligence, elites in these places allowed in many Muslims who regard the countries they have settled in as places of great comfort, stability, economic opportunity, and also as places where they must work to establish Islam. They work to increase its power and the numbers of its adherents, inexorably, to expand Muslim political power and, in addition, the power of Muslims, to intimidate outside the political system. And they work against the legal and political institutions, such as the American Constitution, that flatly contradict the spirit and letter of the Sharia. There is a way to handle this, but there is no solution.
Many begin with the idea that there is a "problem" and that, therefore, there is a "solution" or must be, and if we analyze Islam and conclude that there is no "solution" to that perceived "problem," then we shall all have to let loose the dogs of war, and everything will be terrible, and nothing good can come of it.
Those who think this way are using the wrong terms. They are using, as so many do, the language of problem-and-solution, the language of political Mr. Fixits, a language that misinterprets reality.
Is world poverty a problem? Is there a "solution" to this problem? What about human greed? Radix malorum cupiditas est, saith the Schoolmen. The desire for money is the root of all evil. Is that a "problem" to be "solved"? Or is it a condition to be recognized, and warned about, as are all the other Seven Deadlies? What about the innate inequality of intelligence among individuals? Is such inequality a "problem" to be "solved," or simply a condition to be recognized, and one not necessarily to be deplored? Is war (the permanence of) a "problem" to be "solved," or a condition to be dealt with, a threat to be made less rather than more dangerous?
The ideology of Islam cannot be changed, cannot be transformed. None of those who tried, in the early part of the 20th century, to "reform" Islam managed to succeed. And indeed, the only reason they wanted to "reform" Islam was in order to make Muslims stronger, because in the early 20th century it was clear that Muslims all over the world were weak, and the Infidel West was strong. And so some changes were entertained by a few "reformers" because they correctly perceived that Muslim weakness and wished to address its causes, not because they wanted to modify the claims of Islam, or the hold of Islam, on its adherents.
Kemal Pasha, Ataturk, was someone who sensed deeply the connection between the disorder and decadence of the Turkish state, and the political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral failures of Turkish Muslim society, and what Islam inculcated, what atmospherics it naturally gave rise to. He was not a "reformer." He knew that there was no way to change the Qur'an, the Hadith, the Sira. What he wanted to do, and systematically did do, was to curtail the power of Islam, as a political and social force, over Turkish Muslims themselves, and thereby to allow room for the development of a secular class. The tragedy of modern Turkey is that many of those who were the beneficiaries of Kemalism did not continue to work to extend its reach and its effects, and did not attain a majority in Turkey, and those who had remained faithful to Islam bided their time, and then helped bring Islam back, and it is they - Erdogan and his associates - who are in the ascendant in Turkey. Those who thought that Kemalism was forever, turned out to be wrong. It is Islam that is forever.
Apparently, some find recognition of a permanent threat too upsetting an idea. But why? Fascism, in its Nazi variant, and Communism remain political ideas that will always attract some adherents. Antisemitism, a pathological mental condition, has not been, and never will be eradicated even with the most potent of vaccination programs. But the numbers of Nazis and Communists and antisemites, relative and absolute, and their positions close to or far from power, and their consequent ability to do harm, or to influence others - all this is in the realm of what can be effected.
We can divide and demoralize the Camp of Islam. We can make some Muslims aware, even keenly aware, of all the ways that Islam itself explains the failures, political and economic and social and intellectual and moral, of their societies. We can prevent Muslim states and groups from acquiring major weaponry. We can halt Muslim immigration to the West, and make conditions such that the conduct of Muslim life becomes more and more subject to review, critical scrutiny, open discussion. Instead of extending a dangerously naïve welcome, we can make clear that we now understand the texts and tenets of Islam, and as a consequence, we feel justified in viewing those who still call themselves Muslims with suspicion and alarm.
That isn't a "solution" to a "problem." That is something much more complicated and, for those who think we can achieve an identifiable "victory" over the ideology of Islam, or over the bearers of that ideology, a "victory" that will end the matter once and for all, no doubt this view is unsatisfying. Unsatisfying perhaps it may be. But as a way to deal with the never-to-end threat of Islam, it is the one that, being based on the truth, will prove to be the most effective.
Last week, turned television on, and saw. being solemnly asked by Piers Morgan, for their deep opinions on what was billed as The Crisis In The Middle East (not Syria, not Egypt, not Jordan, not Iraq, but Israel's successful attempt to suppress incessant rocket fire from Hamas, Islamic Jihad, tutti quanti), three officious talking-heads.
Alan Dershowitz (presumably representing, not nearly as effectively as he seems always to think, Israel), Reza Aslan (representing the careerist Reza Aslan, with a side-line in posing as Defender of the Faith, that Faith being poor misunderstood much-maligned Islam), and Robin Wright (who has come far from her days of her apartment on Harvard Street. and simply by toiling away as a (mere) reporter, has risen to the status of foreign-policy sage, and she was no doubt supposed to represent the Neutral Middle).
Within 30 seconds I heard Robin Wright say "everyone knows what a final settlement [between Israel and the Arabs, or "Israel and Palestine" (as some now like tendentiously to say) will have to look like."
I promptly switched off. I can't stand that "everyone knows" bullying.
I went to the kitchen for something, returned, and then, for some reason, turned the television on again.
Just then, Alan Dershowitz said exactly this: "Of course, everyone knows what the ultimate settlement will have to look like."
I switched off.
This time, I kept the television off.
What was it that furrier's son from St. Louis wrote?
I posted here some time ago a piece on Martin Indyk that included the following:
Martin Indyk offers the complacent and self-assured insistence that the nature of the agreement to be made between Israel and the Arabs is in the nature of the obvious. The phrase used is “everyone knows what a settlement will look like” – as Lesley Stahl said with such comical self-assurance the other day on national television. No, that’s not true. No one who studies Islam and understands how without it the real attitudes and intentions of Muslims cannot be grasped – the masses of Muslims as well as their cruel and despotic and corrupt rulers – nor can they possibly agree to be part of that “everyone.” The next time someone repeats that phrase, ask them the following: does this “everyone knows” include those people who best understand the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, or does it include only “everyone” who does not have such an understanding?
Martin Indyk is a naturalized American, originally from Australia, whose field of greatest interest, and presumed expert knowledge, is the Arab-Israeli conflict. He was once the American Ambassador to Israel, famous for being free with advice which was delivered as if it were a command. One observer of how he behaved when he was the ambassador described him as a “strutting little viceroy.” That description came to mind when I read about his recent visit to Israel, where he gave not advice but dire warnings of what would happen to Israel if it did not, when America gave the command, heed or rather, as a dog obeying a master, heel.
Indyk’s warning was not original to him; he was merely parroting the party line. And the line – that Israel “must do” thus and so “because otherwise American interests will suffer” is the same one being offered by Hillary Clinton, by Barack Obama, and by others who are not thinking clearly as to exactly what American interests in the Middle East are damaged by weakening Israel, the only sure ally the Americans have between Europe and India, and letting Arabs and Muslims know that if they declare their unhappiness long enough, show long faces to Madeleine Albright or Hillary Clinton and look them in the eyes with deep, deeper, deepest sincerity and declare that “if only” Israel gives the “Palestinians” the little tiny state they so desire, no harm to anyone could possibly come of it, then of course the Muslim Arab states will be able – they are chomping at the bit, they can’t wait to help out – to join forces with the Americans, to collaborate with them, as natural allies do.
Does it not occur to any of these people how for decades well-practiced blague coming from various Arab leaders – and Pakistanis too, come to think of it – has inveigled and fooled generations of American policy-makers? And does it not occur to them that the Bush Administration was inveigled to invade Iraq not by Israel (pace Mearsheimer and Walt), for the Israelis kept advising the Americans not to do so, and were horrified at the decision to go ahead, because of the blague offered by Shi’a Iraqis in exile, beginning but not ending with Ahmad Chalabi?
And does it not occur to these makers of policy, with Martin Indyk, lower down the totem poll, being merely a usefully sedulous ape, that what people think of as “American national interests” in the Middle East have been misconstrued, over many generations, and that there is absolutely no need to kowtow to those who have oil. They will sell oil at the market price, and do so sell it, and that in fact we should be taxing oil and gasoline in order to recapture part of the oligopolistic rents that the Muslim states of OPEC have been receiving.
And does it not occur to all of these people of whom Martin Indyk is merely an obvious indykation, that those unattainable and even undesirable, from the Infidel point of view, will-o’-the-wisp goals -- of a stable and prosperous Iraq and possibly the same for Afghanistan (oops, sorry, must remember to use that phrase born overnight, the one about “the Greater Middle East” that was concocted so that in talking about Iraq, one might also include Afghanistan and Pakistan), are exactly the wrong goals, and that American and the larger Infidel interests are best served by allowing the sectarian and ethnic strife within these countries to simmer, or even boil over, and there may be a good case, too, for encouraging and promoting an independent Kurdistan as a symbol of non-Arab Muslims throwing off the yoke of Arab imperialism, because raising the issue of Islam as a vehicle for Arab supremacism can be a useful tool in raising doubts about Islam, as well as justified resentments, among the 80% of the world’s Muslims who are not Arabs?
And does it not occur to all of these people for whom Martin Indyk loyally toils, as he barks his orders and warnings to the Israelis in his insufferable little way, that the spectacle of America now pressuring a tiny country to take risks involving its own survival, in order that American idiocies in foreign policy (in Iraq, in Afghanistan) might not suffer any possible consequences (what exactly would those consequences be if Israel does not sign a “peace” treaty but merely, as at present, maintains the peace, the only peace that is possible given the endless Jihad that is being and always will be waged against it?)? Does he think that Muslims not only in the Middle East but elsewhere will calm down, because they will forget the duty of Jihad, forget that not just the “West Bank” but the whole world belongs to Allah and the “best of peoples,” and that it is an intolerable offense, above all, for an Infidel nation-state to exist, whatever its size, smack in the middle of the lands the Arabs call “Arab” and that are the heart of Dar al-Islam?
Does he think a forced Israeli surrender would sate, or whet, Arab appetites?
What does Martin Indyk know about the Middle East? He knows exactly as much, and no more, than he knows about Islam. And that is something that he can never allow himself to recognize or admit. And so, in this Administration that promises top-to-bottom “new thinking” where “all new ideas” are welcome, it turns out that when it comes to the Middle East, there is no “new thinking” that grasps that Islam is what counts, and that the war against Israel is a Jihad, and that there is also an unassuagable – but containable – onward march of Muslims fueled by the trillions of OPEC dollars and by the colossal error of European and North American lands having allowed into their midst millions of Muslim immigrant who, to the extent that they take Islam seriously, cannot possibly be loyal to the legal and political institutions of Infidel countries. For the Shari’a flatly contradicts in letter and spirit those institutions.
So Martin Indyk offers the complacent and self-assured insistence that the nature of the agreement to be made between Israel and the Arabs is in the nature of the obvious. The phrase used is “everyone knows what a settlement will look like” – as Lesley Stahl said with such comical self-assurance the other day on national television. No, that’s not true. No one who studies Islam and understands how without it the real attitudes and intentions of Muslims cannot be grasped – the masses of Muslims as well as their cruel and despotic and corrupt rulers – nor can they possibly agree to be part of that “everyone.” The next time someone repeats that phrase, ask them the following: does this “everyone knows” include those people who best understand the texts and tenets and attitudes and atmospherics of Islam, or does it include only “everyone” who does not have such an understanding?
And what Indyk was also parroting, is the amazing idea that America is conducting a difficult but thoughtful and winning strategy in the Middle East to gather support to be used – how, exactly? – to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, and the Israelis, by refusing to give the “Arab leaders” what they assure the Americans they simply must, must, must obtain if they are to ally themselves, as they would so dearly like to, with America and other Infidel nation-states, and if they are to contemplate an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, because they have no independent grounds for being almost as worried, or perhaps just as much, or perhaps even more so, over a nuclear Islamic Republic of Iran than does Israel, must be bribed by the Americans, who are furthermore instructed in precisely the currency they are to use to do the bribing, and that is coin of Israeli rights, and Israeli security.
That the United States, not merely a Great Power but at present undisputedly the greatest military power on earth, would push around a tiny country, the most imperiled and permanently imperiled country in the world, and as it happens the country of people who constitute the most persecuted tribe in human history, that the United States would treat Israel not merely as bad as, but even worse than, Great Britain and France treated Czechoslovakia in 1938, is intolerable. That it does not understand that the Gulf Arabs, and Egypt, and Jordan, have their own independent reasons for fearing Iran and wanting its nuclear project stopped, and that they need not be bribed, least of all by throwing Israel to them as the very wolves they, in their sheeps’ clothing, pretend not to be, is not understood.
But even though such treatment, the treatment that if it had its druthers the Obama Administration would mete out to Israel – and will if it can get away with it – is morally unacceptable. What makes it “worse than a crime” because it is, in Talleyrand’s famous phrase, a “mistake,” is that it makes as little geopolitical sense as does the “strategy” or “stratergy” that supposedly requires Israel to make concessions. For it is claimed that the American “strategy” for dealing with the Muslim world is working. It is not. It is confused, it is idiotic, it is wasteful, it is wrongheaded, it is failing. It fails to alert Infidels to the meaning and menace of Islam. It ignores the instruments of Jihad that really count – the Money Weapon, Da’wa, and demographic conquest. It keeps minds fixated on a few Muslim countries, whose futures should be a matter largely of indifference, and keeps us from focusing on the Infidel lands that are in one way or another most immediately imperiled. Iraq and now Afghanistan, are part of, not a “strategy” so much as a kind of desperate casting-about for a way to deal with a problem it cannot properly define and so has proven incapable of arriving at tactics, or strategy, that make sense (and that problem is Islam). It has become expedient instead to blame our failures on Israel.
Islam is the ideology, religious, political, economic, the Total Belief-System of more than a billion people, some of whom do not take the texts and tenets quite as fanatically to heart as others, but you need not be the most fanatical of Muslims to be hostile to non-Muslims, even murderously so, as the behavior of a great many Muslims, supported or at least never opposed by a still larger number of Muslims, all over Muslim-dominated lands, has shown.
The Obama Administration thinks it is different from the Bush Administration in dealing with Islam, but its policy is based on the same ignorance – at this point, it must be wilful – of Islam. In that sense, this Administration’s failure to know what to do about Islam, its confusion and flailing, is merely a variation on a theme. That theme is: non-Muslim peoples and governments not think of the ideology of Islam, and the adherents of that ideology, as our enemy, but embrace those adherents, tell them how well we think of them, and of Islam, how we are not making “war on Islam” and, as Barack Obama has said, we “never would.” This policy, in other words, relies on a wilful ignorance of those texts and tenets. It relies on wilful ignorance of 1350 years of Muslim conquest of many non-Muslim lands, and the subsequent subjugation, and mistreatment, of many different non-Muslim peoples. This policy is based on ignoring the central duty of Muslims to participate, directly or indirectly, in Jihad – not always Jihad through violence, that is through qitaal and what we have no trouble identifying as terrorism, but Jihad that uses other instruments, the Money Weapon, propaganda, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest.
On April 19, 2010 Indyk published an article in the New York Times. He wrote a number of remarkable things, not one of them true, all of them based on an analysis that shows that Indyk himself, who has spent decades as a “Middle East expert,” has failed to grasp the central fact of life, the thing without which nothing in the Middle east can be understood – not the Arab war against Israel, that has no end, not the discontent of Berbers in the Kabylle and in Morocco, not the impossibility for the so-called “liberals” in Egypt or elsewhere to seize the mantle of opposition from the Ikhwan, not the acceptance of Ba’athism in both Syria and Iraq, where in each case it merely disguised a local despotism (Alawite in Syria, Sunni Arab in Iraq), not the near-impossibility of political change other than through military coup in any of the Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, not the permanently fractured state of Yemen, not the hopeless task of trying to encourage true economic development, instead of continued near-total reliance on the accident of geology that has thrown off oil and gas revenues, not the attitudes of permanent hostility and mistrust toward Americans and other Infidels, even by those who have gained the most from American military intervention, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that does not explain the meretriciousness of the Pakistani military and the zamindar-run civilian government, that does not explain the futility of the American efforts – messianic sentimentalism to a degree – in Iraq and Afghanistan. No, none of that, and a great deal more, can be understood unless one understands, has studied, has thoroughly assimilated, the texts and tenets of Islam, has understood the attitudes that naturally arise in Muslim minds, has understood the atmospherics of societies suffused with Islam.
And Martin Indyk has not done that. So he may, in fact, be a perfect example of the larger problem—an Obama Administration that, just like the Bush Administration before it, cannot possibly arrive at a strategy to divide and demoralize, that is to weaken, the Camp of Islam, unless the nature of Islam, that Total Belief-system that rests on the belief, inculcated in adherents, that humanity divides in one way: between Believers and Unbelievers, Muslims and Infidels, and between the two there exists a state of permanent war (though not always of open warfare), and it is the duty of Muslims everywhere to work to enlarge the size of Dar al-Islam, the House of Islam, and to diminish, until it finally disappears altogether, Dar al-Harb, the Domain of War, where Infidels who have not yet submitted to rule by Muslims still live. None of this is believed by Martin Indyk, because none of this is known to Martin Indyk, for all of his years in the corridors of power, years in which all kinds of papers, and meetings, and seminars, and solemn presentations, and peace-processing, and hectic travels hither and yon – went on, and Martin Indyk, a mediocre intellect but a compleat careerist, like so many in Washington, could never examine his own decades of missing-the-point pointlessness, could never see his striding or “strutting like a little viceroy” down the corridors of power as simply a long drawn out banana-peel slip-slide and pratfall, but that is what, in the end, it all amounts to: one slow-motion slip, slide, and pratfall.
Martin Indyk is happy to parrot – perhaps he even helped construct – the crazed world-view of the Obama Administration, one which requires averting one’s own mind from the fact of Islam, averting one’s eyes from reading any of the many great Western scholars of Islam (floriunt 1870-1970) and being satisfied with the obvious apologetics of assorted espositos and armstrongs and aslans and el-fadls. There are all kinds of excellent books by people who are now playing what defectors from the KGB played in the Cold War: bringing us the truth, or many unpleasant truths, about the ideological enemy. Such people as Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Nonie Darwish, Magdi Allam, and many others, who have written brilliantly on the subject of Islam, now that they exist within the atmosphere of mental freedom and also physical freedom, afforded by their being in the West. But one has no sense that those who make policy have been reading and learning from their accounts, just as one has no sense that the works of Joseph Schacht, or Antoine Fattal, or Snouck Hurgronje, or David Margoliouth, or Samuel Zwemer, or Henri Lammens, or many dozens of others, have been read.
And the main theatre of war, for Martin Indyk, a perfect example of Yesterday’s Man, is still the same old thing: the war against Israel. It has no end. It will go on forever. The Qur’an, the Hadith, the sira, the Islamic jurisconsults do not admit of allowing any non-Muslims to recapture, and hold in perpetuity, any part of Dar al-Islam. While it is true that the whole world, in the end, belongs to Allah and to the Muslims, the “best of peoples,” it is also true that on the To-Do List for Muslims, the recapture of lands once, however long ago, and forever long or short a time, takes mental precedence over the rest of the world. Israel, almost all of Spain and Portugal and part of southern France, Sicily, the Balkans, Greece, Bulgaria, Rumania, much of Hungary, all of what is present-day southern Russia and much of central Russia too, almost all of India – these are the places that, having once belonged to Muslims, by right should be the first places where Muslims should work – and to work with the trillions of dollars they have received from oil revenues, trillions that will keep on flowing, in part because agents of the Saudi lobby prevented, more than thirty years ago, the American government from sensibly taxing gasoline at the pump and oil at the wellhead, and to keep those taxes rising in predictable increments, so that those investing in other forms of energy would not have to worry about jerks downward on the price of oil.
Having never studied Islam, having never even noticed what has been going on in Western Europe – truly, the main theatre of war between Islam and the West, or Islam and the Rest, Martin Indyk continues to focus on one tiny little part of the problem. Oh, it’s a part of the problem that “Arab leaders” will always say “must be solved” if there is to be any real collaboration with the West. And there are people who are foolish enough to not comprehend, why those Arab leaders say what they do. I shall never forget a classic example of the kind of gullibility, now being exhibited by Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama, and Martin Indyk too, when they take at face value what those Arab leaders – or more accurately, those now ruling Arab countries, say. Madeline Albright, on television a few years ago, was discussing Saddam Hussein, and what he had “done to his own people.” The very phrase “his own people” showed a failure to grasp the nature of Iraq, in two ways. First, there is not an “Iraqi people” but rather, in the state of Iraq, there are Sunni Arabs (who under Saddam Hussein held power), and Shi’a Arabs, and non-Arab Kurds, not to mention the Christians who, though only 3% of the population, constituted about one-third of the professional class, and whose exit would greatly damage Iraq. And “his people” suggests a connection to them, on the part of a murderous and megalomaniacal dictator, that simply does not, and could not, exist, and it is an inapt phrase to describe the relations of ruling regimes and those they rule over, and steal from, all over the Muslim Middle East and North Africa. But what was most amazing was the deeply sincere way that Madeline Albright went on, in all her globe-trotting innocence, to say that no one had realized what Saddam Hussein had done to the Kurds, the Shi’a, and others” and that when she, Madeline Albright, met with Arab leaders, they had told her that they, too, even they, had had “no idea” of what was going on in Iraq. This utterly fantastic tale – in Saudi, in the Emirates, in Jordan and Egypt and Syria, everyone knew perfectly well what Saddam Hussein was doing, knew that he was mass-murdering the Kurds (and as Kanan Makiya noted in “the Republic of Fear” they knew this and not a single Arab, outside or inside Iraq, uttered a syllable of protest). They knew Saddam was ruthlessly suppressing the Shi’a and killing hundreds of thousands of them during his reign. But Madeline Albright believed her Arab hosts and what they deeply, sincerely, truly told her. They wouldn’t lie, would they?
And that is how Hillary Clinton and others who formulated the policy and are relentlessly --now scowling, and now sweetly smiling, depending on how much they worry about domestic political repercussions – pushing it, that is the policy that says that unless and until Israel makes the “concessions” or, still worse, “takes the risks for peace” (it’s Israel that must take the risks, you see, and no one else, ever ever ever) that will allow that “peace” to come, and assorted lions in the Muslim Middle East to lie down with that one sweetly-hopeful little lamb, now shorn of many of its defenses (just like Czechoslovakia, when at Munich it was forced to give up the Sudetenland, which bristled with Czech fortifications and without which Czechoslovakia could not resist a German invasion).
And how do Hillary Clinton, and George Mitchell, and all the others know that this “peace” – that is this “Peace Treaty,” this “solution” the lineaments of which, as Lesley Stahl said, “everyone knows,” is essential to the attainment of American foreign policy aims – but what are those aims? How do they fit into the goal of preventing, for example, the Islamization of Western Europe? Or further attacks on India? Or the murder of Christians and Hindus in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia? Or the continuation of the disguised Jizyah of the Bumiputra system in Malaysia? Or the use, in North America, of such weapons of Jihad as have proven most effective in Western Europe – deployment of the Money Weapon, campaigns of Da’wa, and demographic conquest?
Well, George Mitchell, and Hillary Clinton, and others in the Obama Administration know that they must force Israel to make the concessions that will allow the “Palestinians” to deign to “make peace” and accept still further concessions, not to mention American aid without end, because….well, because the “Arab leaders” tell them so. That’s right, just the way those same “Arab leaders” assured Madeline Albright that they had had “no idea” what Saddam Hussein had been doing to “his own people,” and believe Madeline Albright, they were “just as surprised as we were.”
Yes, that’s the world of the permanently and terminally naïve, those who cannot distinguish between what “Arab leaders” say, in their world suffused with deception (“War is deception” Muhammad famously said), in which of course they will say exactly what they think will bring more and still more American pressure on Israel. They will do this no matter what. They will do this even if, in some ways, they understand that they may – as in the case of King Abdullah of Jordan – be endangering themselves, or in the case of the Lebanese coalition, making Hezbollah stronger and the other groups less able to count on Israel to hold Hezbollah in check, or prevent it from seizing total control of Lebanon. They will do this even if some of them recognize that Israel is not a threat to them but, rather, a possible unintended ally against an aggressive Shi’a Islamic Republic of Iran. What really would you expect “Arab rulers” to say or do differently? But intelligent people get used to, and become inured to, the constant blague and deception and protestations of friendship “if only” this and “if only” that, which come from Arabs and Muslims.
Now comes Martin Indyk, one more of those Middle East “experts” who, having spent decades, his entire professional life, on the matter of bringing “peace” – that is a “peace treaty” which will in turn provide the “solution” to what is so inaccurately and incompletely called the “Arab-Israeli conflict,” – and repeats the whole business, in a bullying key. He, who has not the slightest understanding of Islam, and thus cannot possibly understand the very subject – the Middle East – in which he is supposedly an expert, and about which he has spent a lifetime of reading and writing position papers, and attending meetings, and solemnly listening to the leaders of tribes with flags, and strutting about in Israel, taking himself, and perhaps being taken, very, very seriously, cannot grasp the nature of Islam and does not realize that there is no “solution” to the war that is made by Muslims on Israel, just as he, and many others, write about, promoting the Obama Administration’s Party Line on the Middle East, and the need for “peace” – which always means nothing more than a treaty, one that according to which Israel will be held, and will hold itself, to scrupulosity fulfill whatever promises it makes, and those promises always involve tangible assets, real things such as land, and water, concessions not to be undone, while on the other side the promises always involve such things as halting terrorist attacks, or other hostile activities such as warfare by other means, including participation in, support of, even deliberate promotion of, every conceivable anti-Israel activity short of war. In every single case when Israel has signed such agreements or treaties, the other side, the Arab Muslim side, has pocketed the Israeli concessions, and never observed even one of the solemn commitments that were undertaken. Sooner or later, they are broken or never observed in the first place. And that should surprise no one, for it is perfectly predictable. Muhammad’s agreement or treaty with the Meccans in 628 A.D. at Hudaibiyya was broken by him, on a pretext, after 18 months, though the “treaty” – not a “peace treaty” but like all such treaties between Muslims and non-Muslims, mean merely to be a “truce treaty” meant to be broken by the Muslim side when it becomes stronger, just like Muhammad, that Model of Conduct (uswa hasana), that Perfect Man (al-insan al-kamil) did with the Meccans in 628, an agreement, and a breaking of the agreement by the Muslims, that has inspired great admiration by Muslims down the centuries, who have never hidden their gloating at this act of deception and trickery by Muhammad, and held it up as a model.
But does Martin Indyk know any of this? I don’t think so. I think he has spent the last twenty or thirty years involved with Arab-Israeli stuff and not bothered to learn what Islam is all about. It’s incredible. Or, rather, it would be incredible if the same thing could not be said of all the others – of Aaron Miller, with his breathless repeated “fourcoreissues: securityJerusalemrefugeessettlements” and Dennis Ross, with “settlementsJeruslamerefugeessecurity” as his fourcoreissues, and Richard Haass, with those fourcoreissuesa being “ Jerusalemsecuritysettlementsrefugees” –well, you get the idea, and you too can be a Middle East Expert For The American State Department, ignoring Islam and rearranging the order of those “fourcoreissues” as you will, so n choose k and do-si-do, and don’t step on your partner’s toe.
And Indyk, Ross, Miller, and Haass are just four of the best known, and not necessarily the most ill-informed, State Department peace-processing horseman of the claimed apocalypse, that is the apocalypse that will presumably happen if the Israelis do not make that “treaty” with the “Palestinians.” But Israel has the peace, the only peace that it can live with. Any further concessions, any further surrenders of control over territory now in its possession – territory to which it has a perfect right under the terms of the Mandate for Palestine, a Mandate the terms of which continued to be relevant and applicable to the part of Judea and Samaria seized by Jordanian army units in the 1948-49 war and won back, by force of arms, by the Israelis eighteen years later. And that claim is reinforced by other claims, once well understood and universally applicable, about the right not to be forced to give up territory to an aggressor state that has used that territory to launch attacks, especially if there is no reasonable belief that such attacks would never occur in the future. In fact, the ideology of Islam makes it a certainty that, absent an overwhelming, and overwhelmingly obvious, more powerful Israel, there will be open warfare against it. Islam demands it.It is intolerable, for those who take Islam most to heart, that the Infidel nation-state of Israel, whatever its borders or armistice lines, should continue to exist, and it is time for Israelis and those outside of Israel who claim to grasp the nature of the problem, to recognize this, to express it, not to shy away from it.
Is Martin Indyk capable, at this late stage in his life, of recognizing that he missed the whole thing, missed Islam, never understood the Middle East, was focused on trivia, on the passing parade of peace-processing?
No, I don’t think so. He has given no signs of being capable of that.
But what do you think? Why don’t you look over all the works and days of Martin Indyk – I’m heartily sick of doing it, and of having to bother with such people – and tell me what you think.
Why Should The West Be Bailing Out A Muslim Brotherhood Regime?
The American government has given Egypt more than $70 billion dollars in aid over the past 30 years. This has resulted only in encouraging corruption -- there's more to be corrupt about -- in the army and in the courtier class, and has not made an ally of Egypt, a country which, throughout this period, failed to fulfill a single one of its solemn commitments, under the Camp David Accords, to encourage friendly relations with Israel and its people. But what about maintaining the peace, someone will object? Didn't the Egyptian military keep the peace by refusing to go to war? Yes, but that happened for the same reason that Iraq, and Saudi Arabia, and Libya, and Iran, and Syria, and other Muslim Arab states, did not conduct Jihad through the instrument of battlefield violence, though they continued to so using all other conceivable instruments (propaganda, diplomacy, economics, and so on) -- the desire to avoid another crushing defeat at the hands of the Israelis. In other words, it was Israeli military superiority, and nothing else, that "kept the peace" that is being ascribed, foolishly, to all that quite unnecessary aid to Egypt.
Now Egypt is, without Western aid, bankrupt. So what? Let it be bankrupt, or let it be supplied with billions from Qatar, the Emriates, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, countires which are drowning in accumulated surpluses that are fantastic. Qatar alone, with a native population of less than 200,000, has about $500-700 billion in its own accumulated surpluse. Can't Qatar spare ten billion for the most populous Arab state? Of course it can.
Why should the Western world, why should the United States of America, keep sending aid to Muslim states, when the rich Muslim states have been the beneficiaries of the largest (and completely unearned) transfer of wealth in human history, an amount that, since 1973 alone, amounts to about seventeen trillion dollars? Does that make sense?
Given the confusion and naivete of an administration that just a year ago was prating confidently about everyone getting on the Juggernaut of the Right Side of History (the kind of remark no one schooled in the study of history would ever make), it is likely up to Congress to refuse to go along with supplying Egypt, under Morsi or someone else, with the wherewithal to continue to 1) militarily threaten Israel and 2) continue to be rescued from the consequences of Islam itself, for it is Islam itself, not only its tenets and teachings, but the attitudes and atmospherics of societies suffused with Islam, that explain the many failures, political, economic, social, intellectual, and moral, of such societies. The Western world keeps rescuing Muslim countries -- those that do not have vast amounts of oil and gas -- , through its transfusions of aid, aid that need not be given because there are many rich Muslim nations quite capable of supplying fellow members of the Umma, and in any case should not be given because the Western world should not be propping up Muslim states and societies, and allowing their elites, and their masses, to put off the day of recognition of how Islam itself holds them back.
How much aid, economic and military, should come from the United States, and Europe, and the American-and-European financed World Bank?
.“Deterrence is like a popsicle. Once you take it out into the sun, it immediately begins to melt.”
So a very high-ranking Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) official told me in Tel Aviv just over a year ago. Indeed, this has proven to be the case with Hamas. While rocket attacks from the Islamic Resistance Movement and other militant groups in Gaza decreased by around 90 percent in 2009 following Operation Cast Lead, they have been on the rise ever since.
The task Israeli Defense Forces undertook last week in Gaza is the updating of Israel’s deterrence against Hamas. And the pattern of conflict fits precisely with the premise of “tactical deterrence”—the type of deterrence states can generally hope to achieve vis-à-vis non-state militant groups.
Unlike strategic deterrence, a paradigm of total deterrence such as that which existed between the United States and Soviet Union, tactical deterrence is not perfect. Rather, it is defined by dramatically reduced rates and types of violence by the non-state group, punctuated by periods of fighting where the defending state must “update” its deterrence. The state does so by reminding the challenging non-state group that it must “settle down” or risk serious, long-term damage. In the case of Israel’s deterrence against Hamas and Hezbollah, this fits the pattern of some kind of major escalation once or twice per decade.
The updating of deterrence usually takes place when Hamas (or Hezbollah) has successfully changed “the rules of the game” between it and Israel. These rules, though not explicitly articulated, are clearly understood by both Israel and its Islamist foes and are even explicitly referred to by Israeli, Hamas, and Hezbollah leaders.
The rules circumscribe the conflict by defining what type of violence Hamas and Hezbollah can engage in and what response the militant groups should expect from Israel as a result. For example, if Hamas fires just a few rockets per month, Israel will retaliate only by bombing a few tunnels into Egypt. But if Hamas fires many more rockets, then Israel will conduct air strikes on Gaza. When Hamas reached the point that it did before Operation Pillar of Defense began, firing dozens of rockets per day, it signaled that the rules were beginning to fray and Hamas was trying to establish new rules that would allow it to act more aggressively. Israel's assassination of Hamas military commander Ahmed al-Jabari and the ensuing air campaign was an attempt by Israel to reestablish rules of the game that were favorable to Jerusalem.
Indeed, if one examines the flare-ups in the Israeli-Islamist conflict over the last 20 years, one finds that the conflict’s peaks nearly always occur when Israel feels that its deterrence is weakening and that Hamas or Hezbollah have established rules of the game that are unfavorable to Israel. In response, the IDF launches an extensive operation as a means of reestablishing deterrence—rules of the game that are favorable to Israel.
For example, in the case of the Second Lebanon War in 2006, Israeli security officials proudly admit that they broke the rules of the game that were in place with Hezbollah since Israel’s 2000 withdrawal from southern Lebanon. The 34-day war Israel launched following the killing and kidnapping of its two reserve soldiers was an attempt by Jerusalem to establish new rules whereby Hezbollah would pay a much steeper price for kidnapping soldiers and engaging in operations on Israeli territory than it had during the previous six years when the Party of God frequently attacked IDF and civilian positions inside the internationally recognized border of Israel.
The same can be said of Operation Cast Lead (the Gaza War), when Israel sought to establish a situation where Hamas could no longer fire rockets at Israeli communities in the south of the country with impunity, as the Islamists did from 2005 to 2008. In both the Gaza War and the Second Lebanon War, Israel’s strategy worked (despite harsh criticism), as attacks from Hamas and Hezbollah decreased dramatically following each conflict and tactical deterrence was established. Previous rounds of fighting between the IDF and Hezbollah in 1993 and 1996 also resulted in an updating of the rules of the game between the two sides, though with the IDF occupying Lebanon at the time, the rules were much more favorable to Hezbollah.
Much commentary and analysis from non-Middle Eastern sources has stated that the current paradigm which exists between Israel and Hamas/Gaza is not sustainable; that the pattern of the 25-year-old conflict between the Jewish State and the Islamic Resistance Movement must give way to a détente or a new regional political architecture that fundamentally changes the conflict. Such analysis is seriously flawed.
For all its pragmatism—and its leaders are pragmatic—Hamas remains an organization committed to reestablishing Muslim control over all of historic Palestine and to doing so by means of violent jihad. Israel, meanwhile, is not going anywhere, nor has any Israeli leader with a chance of being elected articulated a Gaza strategy other than maintaining deterrence against Hamas and containing the threat from it through material coercion.
As everyone who spoke directly with Israeli and Hamas leaders over the past four years knows, the latest round of fighting was an inevitability. Even if the tectonic shifts in Middle Eastern politics allowed for Egyptian (Muslim Brotherhood)-American initiative to halt the IDF’s invasion of Gaza this time, it will not change the fundamental points of the Israeli-Islamist conflict.
There are alternatives to the pattern of violence—for example, a medium-term ceasefire as I previously articulated on these pages. But strategic decisions must be reached during periods of relative calm, and there is no indication that regional and international leaders are willing to think out of the box in any case.
As such, the war between Israel and the Islamist world will likely continue to ebb and flow as it has since Hezbollah’s establishment in 1982. The Shia Islamists in Lebanon and the Sunni Islamists in Gaza may now find themselves on opposite sides of the fault line ripping apart the Arab/Muslim world. But they still stand on the same side of the battle against Israel.
The recent escalation is simply another round of fighting in the Israeli-Islamist conflict. Upon its conclusion, new rules of the game will be established. Hamas will lick its wounds and engage in a period of rebuilding and rearming. The popsicle of Israeli deterrence will once again begin to melt. And the clock will begin counting down toward the next round of fighting some months or years hence.
Rafael D. Frankel is an adjunct professor at Georgetown University where he teaches a course on the conflict between Israel, Hamas, and Hezbollah. He was previously a Middle East correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor.
Israelâ€™s Iron Dome System Overcame Bureaucratic Hurdles to Succeed
Iron Dome Missile Launch
Today’s Wall Street Journal had a fascinating story on the development of Israel’s Iron Dome System that is a tribute to the relentless perseverance of its champions within the Military R&D and Industry, “Israel's Iron Dome Defense Battled to Get Off Ground”. The stunning success of the Iron Dome system in the recent eight day war with Hamas, backed by Iran’s longer range Fajr-5 rockets, was evident in its remarkable record. The Israeli short range rocket and missile defense system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, Ltd. (Rafael) , intercepted 421 rockets for an effective interception rate verging on 90%. The Obama Administration was won over by Pentagon technical experts that the Iron Dome had achieved higher levels of interception after initially stumbling during Bush era Pentagoin tests..
The breakthrough would not have occurred without the champions inside the IDF Military R&D establishment who violated bureaucratic restrictions and reached out to a talented technical personnel at Rafael, Ltd. and several other firms. The fathers of the Iron Dome success are an unlikely pair, Brig. Gen. Daniel Gold, who holds a Phd in Mathematics and a mustachioed former Histadrut Labor official Amir Peretz who was Minister of Defense (MoD) in the Ehud Olmert government during the 2006 Second Lebanon War. At the time Peretz was vilified for his lack of a military background. He was a labor leader, and became the object of scorn in the wake of 34 day war with Hezbollah, for what critics in Israel and elsewhere considered a classic balagan (screw up in Hebrew).
The massive fusillade of 4,000 rockets unleashed by Hezbollah displaced more than 1 million Israelis from Northern Israel killing 44. That spurred on development of Iron Dome by Gold and his team.
Gold and his team at the MoD had begun in 2004 to investigate what technical means might be developed to address the concerns of a suitable short range rocket defense. They eschewed other options included the US Army Vulcan Phalanx System to pursue the development of Iron Dome. Propelled by the Hezbollah rocket onslaught during the Second Lebanon War Gold ordered development started in November 2006 without official approval. During Peretz’s brief term as Minister of Defense in 2006 to 2007 he was briefed by Gold and his team and committed $10 million to the development of Iron Dome. That despite the opinion of Israel military consulted by PM Ehud Olmert that it wouldn’t work. Olmert refused to allocate funds for development of Iron Dome. Gold then made decisions that violated procurement and other bureaucratic barriers. He contracted with Rafael to pursue development on a sole source basis.
The WSJ authors noted:
Instead of scaling back the program, Gen. Gold upped the ante. In November 2006, he "directed Rafael to begin full-scale development of the Iron Dome project when Rafael had no order to do so," according to the Israeli comptroller's audit report. "The directive was not under his authority," the report concluded.
"I cannot say that the report is wrong," said Yossi Drucker, who headed the team at Rafael overseeing the system's development. "But if you want to achieve something in a very short time…you have sometimes to bypass the bureaucracy."
The gamble paid off. In early 2007, Mr. Peretz threw his full ministerial weight behind the project, committing another $10 million in Ministry of Defense funds to keep Iron Dome alive. The government's auditors later found he violated regulations by committing the funds without military or government approval for the project.
However, Gold and the team at Rafael knew they needed hundreds of millions to bring Iron Dome to fruition. They approached the Pentagon during the Bush Administration who sent a team to Israel to evaluate the technical feasibility and according to Rafael development Chief Drucker the US team said: "This is something that cannot be done." The Pentagon was in the midst of deploying the Vulcan Phalanx system in Iraq. Problem was that Gold and the Rafael development team had reviewed and rejected it as an option.
Gold and Rafael persisted and in late 2007, after Peretz had left and Ehud Barak came in as replacement Minister of Defense, PM Olmert gave his assent to provide the $200 million for development. That put the Iron Dome Development into high gear and brought the attention of Israel competitors to Rafael.
Again Gold persisted in violating bureaucratic restrictions. An Israel government audit cited in the WSJ article commented:
"Brig. Gen. Gold decided on the development of Iron Dome, determined the timetables and ordered predevelopment and full development before the relevant authorities had approved the project," the report said.
Iron Dome brought in a leading team of technical developers from across Israel’s high tech firms to develop the first batteries. As the WSJ article noted:
The contest to design the warhead for the interceptor missile pitted a 25-year-old woman, fresh out of university, against a 30-year veteran of Rafael.
In early 2009 Iron Dome successfully intercepted a rocket. A major benchmark.
The issue then turned to finding funds to implement Iron Dome in the field. Enter the Obama Administration and Pentagon technical expert Colin Kahl who evaluated the file on Iron Dome and said, “It made sense”.
In September 2009, White House National Security senior director, Dan Shapiro (currently US Ambassador to Israel) sent a team of missile defense experts to Israel. They came back with an evaluation report giving Iron Dome high marks after it demonstrated an 80% interception rate in tests, pronouncing it superior to the Vulcan Phalanx system of the US Army. Ironically, Minister of Defemse Ehud Barak in 2009 boughtone of the Vulcan Phalanx systems. The Army has subsequently issued request for propsals in 2012 to US defense firms seeking development of a US anti-rocket defense system modeled on Iron Dome.
After reviewing the US missile defense team evaluation reports Kahl issued guidelines supporting $200 million for implementation of Iron Dome.
Iron Dome shot down its first Palestinian rocket In March 2011. The rest is history.
The Iron Dome performance during the recent rocket war sent a message to Tehran. Jonathan Schanzer in a WEBYAM 1330 Middle East Roundtable discussion that airs tomorrow says, “the Iron Dome performance in Gaza has got to be unnerving to the Iranians and its proxies Hezbollah and Hamas”.
Israel has another system on the way, David’s Sling that passed its inaugural test in the midst of the Gaza rocket war. Its Stunner missile successfully intercepted a medium range rocket of the type in both Hezbollah’s and Syria’s arsenals. David’s Sling is a co-development of Rafael and US partner Raytheon. Iron Dome, David’s Sling and the Arrow missile defense system are integral components of Israel’s umbrella of defense against whatever Iran, Hezbollah, Hams and Syria can throw at it. To accomplish that by 2016 will cost billions of shekels. Meanwhile Israel has to turn to interception of more Iranian rocket shipments via Sudan before they reach Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula and Gaza. Gold who is retired is frequently asked for his pictures by those who encounter him in cafes in Tel Aviv. Peretz gets standing applause at bar mitzvahs. Israel is one stand up nation when it comes to technological innovation and risk taking.