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The Oil Cringe of the West: The Collected Essays and Reviews of J.B. Kelly Vol. 2
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These are all the Blogs posted on Sunday, 4, 2012.
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Why Americans of Mideast Descent Have Shifted to Romney

When Senator Barack Obama ran for office in 2008, most Americans of Arabic and Middle Eastern origin supported him. Mobilized as were many Americans for “change” on the one hand, these communities were also submitted to an impressive campaign by Islamist-leaning organizations and supporters of Arab regimes, on the other hand, all opposed to the incumbent’s foreign policy then. They used President Bush’s endorsement of Arizona Senate Republican John McCain to frame Obama’s opponent as anti-Arab and border Islamophobe. To them, Obama was squaring off with a candidate who supported the so-called “Bush wars” in Iraq and Afghanistan. In addition, many young people of Iranian and Arab descent viewed Barack Obama as a breaker of US political taboos. “If an African-American can become a President” they thought, “so can we.” The sky was the limit. McCain, however, received the support of most Lebanese-Americans who had watched their mother country fall into the hands of Hezbollah that same year. Lebanon notwithstanding, most in the global Arab and Middle Eastern community supported Obama. Four years later, the political landscape has changed dramatically among Arab and Mideast groups.

While most of the best-funded lobby and political organizations backing the Muslim Brotherhood or the Iranian regime in the Greater Middle East and North Africa remain in the Obama camp, a surge in the other direction has provoked a massive change in Mideast American politics. Although public figures for the pro-Obama agenda in these communities have a higher profile in the mainstream media, a ground swell has been moving away from the President since his first year in office. Here’s how:

In June 2009, millions of Iranian youth demonstrated in the streets of Tehran against the Ayatollahs, calling for freedom. President Obama, who was looking to end tensions between the US and Iran by cutting a deal with the Iranian regime, abandoned the demonstrators to be crushed by the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. The President’s shocking attitude sent a message to Iranian Americans, many of whom have since moved away from the President.

That year, Obama officials stated that the Administration was seeking to engage “moderates within Hezbollah,” a US-designated terrorist organization that was under indictment in the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri. Lebanese American rejection of Obama’s policy on Lebanon increased their rejection of the President’s bid for reelection.

When the Arab Spring erupted in the streets of Cairo in January 2011, the Obama Administration resisted engaging the youth, Facebook activists, bloggers, women and minorities in Tahrir Square. It was only after the Muslim Brotherhood entered the fray of the protests that Washington pressured President Mubarak to resign. Afterward, the Obama Administration helped the Brotherhood sway the military, and then gradually abandoned the liberals and Copts to the domination of the Islamists. This policy didn’t go unnoticed at home. Egyptian-American liberals and the large Coptic community shifted their support away from Obama.

Syria’s descent into bloodshed also had an effect on voters in America. Syrian Americans waited patiently for the Obama Administration to move swiftly in March 2011 in response to Assad’s murderous crushing of the initial peaceful demonstrations. One year later the Assad regime had leveled most Syrian cities and killed thirty-thousand civilians. Furthermore, the logistical bridge from Iraq into Syria facilitated Hezbollah’s support to the dictator’s efforts to break up the uprising. Worse yet, the jihadists have penetrated the insurgency. Most Syrian Americans are frustrated with the Obama administration’s reluctance to save the people of their mother land.

In 2011 South Sudan voted for self-determination and obtained independence in July. But Khartoum’s regime relentlessly pounded the new African republic with air bombardment and invaded one of its oil rich provinces. Furthermore, Bashir troops continued their suppression of Northern Sudan’s Black minorities, the Nubians, Bejas and Darfurians. Sudanese Americans hoped to see the first African American President come to their rescue and take Bashir to The Hague. Instead Washington has been reinstating Sudan’s dictator who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. The community has since been very angry about Obama’s Sudan policy.

Chaldeans and Assyrian Americans who originate from Mesopotamia didn’t appreciate the abandonment of Iraqi Christians under an Iranian-dominated Baghdad, and the return of al Qaeda terrorists. Kurdish Americans resented the administration’s lack of commitment to the survival of Kurdistan in northern Iraq. Many Arab American women were disappointed with the way the Obama administration’s Islamist partners’ treatment of women in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya. The list is long, but a new majority of Middle East Americans, including many Arab Americans feel the Obama Administration has offered up the region to the Muslim Brotherhood and, in eventually, to the Iranian regime. Even Palestinian Americans aren’t satisfied with the Obama administration’s inattention to events in the region.

Governor Mitt Romney has declared he will partner with the Iranian people against the Mullahs’ regime. Iranian Americans are on board with his approach. He wants to disarm Hezbollah, as do most Lebanese Americans. Romney was clear about his support for the Syrian opposition, as Syrian Americans demanded; he opposes the jihadists as moderate Egyptians, Tunisian and Sudanese wish to see happening. He unapologetically backs minorities from Iraq to North Africa. Romney not only wants to see women –the single largest majority in the Arab world- getting jobs, but also freedom. The alternative agenda to Obama’s is clear, more freedom to the peoples of the region.

Hence, putting the Islamist and Pan-Arabist lobbies aside, it seems that a majority of Americans of Mideast and Arab descent, Christians and Muslim alike, find themselves in Mitt Romney’s camp. We anticipate that millions of them will vote for him on November 6, particularly in swing states such as Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia, North Carolina and Florida.

*****

Dr Walid Phares is a senior advisor on Foreign Policy and National Security for Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney and the author of The Coming Revolution: Struggle for Freedom in the Middle East.

Posted on 11/04/2012 4:39 AM by Walid Phares
Sunday, 4 November 2012
Muslim 'heritage' (with corrections)

It is a commonplace that Islam cares nothing for the art, architecture, music and literature of the jahiliyya. Think of the ancient Bamiyan Buddhas, whose destruction awaited only the acquisition of dynamite. Think of the books burned, or, more to the point, never written, because to write and read books other than the Koran, Hadith and Sira  is un-Islamic. It seems, however, that such cultural barbarism is not confined to the treasures of the infidels. Damian Thompson in the Telegraph, as corrected:

The long-cherished ambition of Saudi Arabia’s ruling Wahhabi sect to smash up the ancient buildings of Mecca and Medina is nearing fruition.

In Mecca, the house of one of Mohammed’s wives has been demolished to make space for public lavatories. His birthplace may disappear, too, as part of King Abdullah’s scheme to complement the skyscrapers and shopping malls with a Grand Mosque fashioned from the same materials as a multi-storey car park in Wolverhampton.

As for Islam’s second holiest place, the city of Medina, a recent article by Jerome Taylor in the Independent revealed a megalomaniac plan to pull down three 7th-century mosques. Taylor added: “Ten years ago, a mosque which belonged to the Prophet’s Mohammed's grandson was dynamited. Pictures of the demolition that were secretly taken and smuggled out of the kingdom showed the religious police celebrating.”

Only a small minority of the world’s billion Muslims are Wahhabis Saudis, despite the tens of billions of petrodollars spent by the Saudis propagating their creed bare, naked Islam. (Bosnia, for example, is now littered with Saudi-style mosques, replacing the graceful Ottoman architecture that Wahhabis detest.) Many pilgrims to Mecca are revolted by the marriage of Puritanism desert Islam and greed they find there. Yet protests are scattered and muted. Why?

Puritanism has nothing to do this and Wahhabism is only incidental. What the Saudis represent is Islam shorn of those non-Islamic cultural accretions that have sometimes made it bearable.

One answer is that the House of Saud, though widely hated, is also feared: its wealth and terrorist connections make it unlikely that, say, a Pakistani politician would speak openly about the desecration of the Hajj.

The West can hardly complain about such gutlessness: this year’s Hajj exhibition at the British Museum was creepily sanitised – no mention of bulldozers or the 2,000ft clock tower built right next to the Kaaba, the black cube-shaped building that is the centrepiece of Islamic devotions.

And the fact that non-Muslims are not allowed to visit. Why aren't Guardian-readers screeching "apartheid"?

But what sticks in the craw is the hypocrisy of Muslims who throw a fit if Israeli archaeologists carry out non-intrusive work underneath the Dome of the Rock in Jerusalem, “Islam’s third holiest place”, as we’re constantly reminded. Such anger would be more convincing if the first and second holy sites weren’t being ploughed up by a police state. Likewise, are cartoons of Mohammed really more offensive than reducing the remains of his life to rubble?

As one Middle East expert put it to me: “Jews disturbing the Dome of the Rock fits into an anti-Western narrative, so Muslims can cope with that. The Saudi destruction of Mecca doesn’t fit into that narrative, and so there’s virtual silence.” Something worth bearing in mind, perhaps, when you wonder why the murder of Muslims by Muslims in Darfur or Syria provokes only limited outrage in the Islamic world.

Thompson is correct about the hypocrisy, but this is not our problem. Besides, the Muslim destruction of Mecca and Medina -- or rather Yathrib --  began long, long ago.

Posted on 11/04/2012 7:22 AM by Mary Jackson

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