The Ten Year Anniversary of 9/11

Posted by PITHOCRATES - September 10th, 2011

Why the Attack on America on 9/11? 

Sunday is the 10 year anniversary of 9/11.  Ten years is a long time.  And during those years it’s been safe in the U.S.  Which makes people complacent.  That’s what time does.  People tend to forget.

So what was it?  And why was it?  The attack on America on 9/11? 

The ‘what’ is simple to answer.  A group of Muslim men hijacked four jetliners.  They crashed two into the World Trade Center.  Crashed one into the Pentagon.  And the fourth?  The passengers fought back.  Having learned of the other hijackings.  They attacked the attackers.  Fought.  And died.  Bringing the fourth plane down in a field in the country.  Far from its intended target.  These were the first to fight back in the war on terror.  A war where Americans were dying before 2001.

The ‘why’ is a little more involved.  It’s because of the Jews.  In the Middle East.  Who now live on ancient Jewish land.  Israel.  Land that has changed hands a few times since the time of King David (born 11th Century B.C.).  And King Solomon (born 10th Century BC).  And the people that lived on this land before the Jews returned to their homeland?  Muslims.  Who wrested this land from Christians.  Who got the land when the Roman Empire became Christian.  Who took the land from the Jews.  When the Romans were still pagans.  And on and on it went.  Back in time.  Until you get to King David.  And his conquests to consolidate his kingdom.

Long Story Short, Jews and Muslims hate each other in the Middle East

The Muslims want it back.  Because they conquered that land.  And they believe this makes it their land.  But if they believe that he who conquers the land has claim to the land, they have a problem.  Because the British won that land in World War I.  When they defeated the Ottoman Empire.  A member of the Central Powers.  Who lost the war. 

World War II soon came along.  And the HolocaustAdolf Hitler hated Jews.  Tried to kill them all.  So when Nazi Germany lost the war, displaced Jews who survived the Holocaust went to British Palestine.  To their ancient homeland.  Shortly thereafter they declared themselves the State of Israel.  And asked the Palestinians to kindly leave.  And they did.  Into refugee camps surrounding the new State of Israel.  They lived in refugee camps because the surrounding countries didn’t want to take them in.  So in these camps they stayed.  Where they’ve lived with a simmering hatred since.

Anyway, long story short, Jews and Muslims hate each other in the Middle East.  Israel is a tiny Jewish island in an Arab sea.  The Arabs tried to take this land a few times but were beaten back.  Thanks to an assist from the U.S.  And they lost land to boot.  The Sinai Peninsula.  The West Bank.  The Golan Heights.  And the Muslim Arabs want those lands back, too.

Militant Muslims hate America with every Fiber in their Body

Eventually the Egyptians made peace with Israel.  Anwar Sadat formally recognized the State of Israel.  And fundamentalist Egyptian officers assassinated him because of it.  His successor honored the peace Sadat made.  Hosni Mubarak.  For some 30 years.  Got a lot of U.S. aide for helping America’s most important Middle East ally.  Until he was toppled from power during the Arab Spring.

So there’s some history in the Middle East.  The Muslim Arabs hate the Jews.  And want that land back.  And they hate the Egyptian government who made peace with Israel for all those years.  They hate the British for taking that land from the Ottoman Empire.  And perhaps most of all they hate America.  Who they blame for everything.  Had they not entered World War I, that war may have ended in a draw with no lost of Muslim land.  Had they not entered World War II, Hitler may have won that war.  Or at least killed more Jews.  If the Americans had not ‘bribed’ Sadat with aid he may never have recognize the State of Israel.  And had America not helped Israel during the Arab-Israeli wars, the Arabs may have won those wars.

So do militant Muslims hate America?  With every fiber in their body.  Can we get them to like us?  Not a chance in hell.  You see, defeating us is just step one in their grand plan.  Once upon a time Muslim power controlled the Middle East, North Africa and southern Europe.  And they want to again.  They want to restore the caliphate.  And spread Sharia Law.

Osama bin Laden led the War against America

So the radical Muslims, fundamentalists, Islamists, whatever you want to call them, waged war against the U.S.  Attacking U.S. nationals out of the country.  And planning and conducting attacks inside the country.  Osama bin Laden led the war against America.  With his al Qaeda getting bolder over time.  Leading up to September 11, 2001.

So far every subsequent plan has been foiled.  Or failed.  Like the underwear bomber on that Detroit bound plane.  And the Times Square bomber.  So it’s been relatively safe in America.  But there is unrest in the Middle East.  Which is very ominous.

Representative Democracies rarely break out Amidst Chaos

What happens in Egypt may very well tell us the future of the world.  Will they maintain their peace with Israel?  Or will they drift further into the Iranian orbit?  Further pressuring Israel.  Bordered in the north by Iranian client Hezbollah.  And in the south by Iranian client Hamas.  With an open border crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt.  It’s getting tense over there (see Israel, Egypt try to stem damage from embassy riot by Diaa Hadid, Associated Press, posted 9/10/2011 on the Toronto Star).

Israel and Egypt’s leadership tried Saturday to limit the damage in ties after protesters stormed Israel’s embassy in Cairo, trashing offices and prompting the evacuation of nearly the entire staff from Egypt in the worst crisis between the countries since their 1979 peace treaty.

The 13-hour rampage deepened Israel’s fears that it is growing increasingly isolated amid the Arab world’s uprisings and, in particular, that Egypt is turning steadily against it after the fall of Hosni Mubarak, the authoritarian leader who was a close ally…

Egypt’s new military rulers, in turn, appear caught between preserving key ties with Israel — which bring guarantee them billions in U.S. military aid — and pressure from the Egyptian public. Many Egyptians are demanding an end to what they see as too cosy a relationship under Mubarak, who they feel knuckled under to Israel and the U.S., doing nothing to pressure for concessions to the Palestinians.

The big question is who will succeed Mubarak.  The Muslim Brotherhood?  They have close Iranian ties, too.  So that wouldn’t be good.  But at this time they are probable the largest organized political force in Egypt.  Which carries a lot of weight following a civil war.  I mean, representative democracies rarely break out amidst chaos.  And if it did, it could even be worse.  For a lot of Egyptians don’t like Israel.  Or that peace treaty.  Which means if the people get their way, it could be bad for Jews.  And Christians.

On this Day of Remembrance, we should make sure that those who died did not die in Vain 

We need to be concerned with what’s happening in Egypt.  For if the wrong people get into power there will be no peace for Jews.  Christians.  Or for much of the Western World.

If Iran gains power and influence in the area there will be no peace for Jews.  Christians.  Or for much of the Western World.  This is even a greater concern.  Because they may soon have a nuclear weapon.  If they don’t already.

Ten years is a lot of time.  But we must not become complacent.  And not forget what happened on that day.  Because the threat to America is real.  And it won’t go away with diplomacy.  For you can’t talk sense to people who hijack jetliners full of innocent men, women and children.  To kill innocent men, women and children.

On this day of remembrance, we should make sure that those who died did not die in vain.  As in any war, some may die so that others may live.  So we must honor those who died.  By living.  And being strong.  Strong enough to deter any attack on our soil again.  To protect those they left behind.

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Egypt Opens Gaza Border, Palestinians to try Statehood at UN

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 28th, 2011

It is now an Islamic Arab Border

It’s done.  The border is open.  The siege is lifted.  Let the love begin (see Egypt opens Gaza border crossing, easing 4-year blockade by Ernesto Londono and Joel Greenberg posted 5/28/2011 on The Washington Post).

Egypt’s military rulers announced earlier this week that they would permanently open the crossing, the main gateway to the outside world for the 1.6 million Palestinians in the Gaza Strip…

The Egyptian government had kept the border closed or tightly controlled since Hamas took over Gaza, bowing to Israeli concerns that militants could smuggle weapons into the coastal enclave and fears of a spillover of militant activity into Egypt.

Yes, militants could smuggle weapons.  They did.  And they fired them into Israeli cities.  Because the Hamas charter calls for the destruction of Israel.  You see, Hamas has no love for Israel.  They hate Jews.  And they keep trying to kill them.  Hence the attacks on Israeli cities.  Now Hosni Mubarak is gone.  The once banned Muslim Brotherhood is now part of Egypt’s future.  The Egyptians sponsored talks in Cairo to help the militant Hamas join the moderate Fatah in a unity government.  And now the Egypt-Gaza border is now open for business.  But there’s nothing to worry about, is there?

“We are very happy Egypt is now in control of the border,” said Halawen, who was traveling to have spinal surgery after a botched procedure in Gaza. “It is now an Islamic Arab border. Egypt and the revolution of January 25 brought us this.”

Oh, it is now an “Islamic Arab border.”  As in the Islamist Muslim Brotherhood.  Who has close ties with the Islamist Hamas.  Who has close ties with the Islamist Iran.  But there is nothing to worry about, is there?  As long as you’re not a tiny Jewish state being swallowed in a sea of militant Islamism, that is.

And now Bombs and Explosives can Cross more Easily

The Israelis aren’t all that happy with this development.  Fatah and Hamas are, though (see Fatah official hails ‘brave’ Egyptian decision to open Rafah crossing by Reuters and The Associated Press posted 5/28/2011 on Haaretz.com).

“We are very happy, it was a brave decision by Egypt to open the crossing and to dismantle the prison imposed by Israel on the people (of Gaza),” [senior Fatah official] Shaath said.

“Opening this door does not mean Egypt wants to allow bombs and explosives … Egypt wants to allow safe passage of individuals who want to conduct their lives,” he continued…

The deputy foreign minister of Hamas, Ghazi Hamad, called the opening of the Rafah crossing “a unique move and a positive development.”

Despite all of these developments, Hamas hasn’t revised their charter.  They refuse to renounce violence against Israel.  Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has yet to say he will accept a Jewish state (as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said he will accept a Palestinian state).  Interestingly, Shaath was quick to say that just because the border is now open it won’t mean bombs and explosives will cross.  But that’s what is on everyone’s mind.  Why?  Because everyone knows that bombs and explosives will be crossing that border.  Into Gaza.  Where they’ll be used to fulfill the Hamas charter.

The Palestinians plan an UN End-Around to Pressure Israel

So it is no wonder that the Israelis are a little skeptical about the Palestinian quest for peace.  And then there were President Obama’s remarks about restarting the peace process from the pre-1967 borders.  When the Israelis escaped annihilation from a coordinated Arab attack (the Six-Day War).  The Israelis won that conflict.  And gained strategic ground.  Making it more difficult for another coordinated Arab attack.  And they refuse to just give up this security for hopes of peace when one of the negotiating parties still has the destruction of Israel in their charter.

And the other nonstarter in any negotiations is the right for displaced 1948 Palestinians (or their descendents) to return to the Jewish state in the two-state solution.  For if they do, there won’t be two states.  They’ll be one large Palestinian state.  Asking for the pre-1967 borders and the right of return is asking for something they know the Israelis cannot give.  So why ask for them?  It’s obvious.  They don’t want to negotiate a two-state settlement.  They want to stay at war.  And fulfill the Hamas charter.  Of course, it’s the Israelis that are being stubborn and don’t want peace (see Abbas sees no hope for talks with Israel, firm on UN path by Reuters posted 5/28/2011 on The Jerusalem Post).

The Palestinian president said on Saturday there were “no shared foundations” for peace talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and seeking UN recognition of Palestinian statehood was his only option.

So they’re going to try an ‘end-around’ instead.  Get UN recognition of Palestinian statehood.  Which the U.S. opposes.  So that’s more political posturing.  To make it look like Israel and the U.S. are just mean, a couple of schoolyard bullies pushing around the innocent Palestinian people.  The same people who fire missiles into Israel.  And include Hamas.  Who has the destruction of Israel in their charter.

Apparently, only Diplomacy that Weakens Israel is Good Diplomacy

So what does the Jew in the street think?  Well, here’s an opinion from a Jew that left Israel as a child and went to the United States (see Gene Simmons tells Obama to kiss off on 1967 by JPOST.COM Staff posted 5/28/2011 on The Jerusalem Post).

Calling President Obama naive and skewering him on foreign policy during his interview, Simmons didn’t hold back on the expletives. “If you’ve never been to the moon, you can’t issue policy about the moon. You have no f***king idea what it’s like on the moon,” he said.

“When you grow up you find out that life isn’t the way you imagined it, and President Obama means well,” said Simmons, who had admitted to feeling regret for having voted for Obama. “I think he’s actually a good guy. He has no f***king idea what the world is like because he doesn’t have to live there.”

Yes, the fire-breathing, blood-spitting demon with the super long tongue is a Jew.  Okay, so Gene Simmons of Kiss probably doesn’t represent the average Jew in the street, but his opinions are no doubt the same.  He sees what they all see.  For some reason, only diplomacy that weakens or destroys Israel is good diplomacy.  Well he’s not one to sit idly by and bite his tongue.  (If you don’t know who Gene Simmons is, ask your parents).

But Simmons says what many think.  President Obama’s foreign policy is naive.  And it’s making the world a more dangerous place.  Especially in the Middle East.  Where an aggressive and Islamist Iran is sitting back watching it all unfold in Act I.  And getting ready to take center stage in Act II.

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The Arab Spring may be the Israeli Winter

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 15th, 2011

The Arab Spring may not be all Sunny and Bright

Before anyone tried to win Ben Stein’s money, he was a speechwriter for the Nixon administration.  And the Ford administration.  So Ben Stein is a pretty smart guy.  Though controversial at times.  And he’s been wrong on occasion.  Like about the subprime mortgage market in 2007.  He didn’t think there was a problem.  Of course, there was.  A big one.  Putting people into houses who couldn’t afford houses gave us the worst recession since the Great Depression.  Especially when all the derivatives backed by the subprime mortgages became worthless.  But that’s another story.

So he knows a thing or two about history.  Foreign policy.  And the Middle East.  Looking at what’s going on now in the Middle East, he’s not seeing the “Arab Spring” a lot of others are seeing (see Ben Stein: “Arab Spring” is a fraud by Ben Stein posted 5/15/2011 on CBS News).

First, the “Arab Spring” as a force for democracy, human rights and peace in Egypt seems to me to be a fraud.

The dictator and his entourage who were kicked out in Egypt were pro-West, a bit restrained on Israel, open to free enterprise, and resistant to Iranian-sponsored terror.

Egypt is now rapidly becoming anti-Israel, pro-Iran, pro the Iranian-sponsored terrorist group Hamas, and very far from being pro-human rights. They are arresting businessmen right and left in Egypt just for the crime of being successful. They have arrested Mubarak’s sons, and have said they plan to try Mubarak.

It would seem that their democracy movement is resulting in less democracy than they had under Mubarak‘s dictatorship.  Funny.  You’d thought it’d be the other way around.

The most potent of the political forces in Egypt, the Muslim Brotherhood, hates the United States, loathes Israel, condemns the killing of bin Laden (whom they praised as a martyr), and have been wedded to terror for their entire existence.

Oh, P.S, they are closely connected with Adolph Hitler.

They will probably take over Egypt completely sooner or later.

So the worst political element is also the strongest political element.  Saudi Arabia rejected the offer to bury bin Laden in Saudi soil.  Perhaps if the U.S. asked the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt they would have accepted that offer.  Even built a shrine to honor this ‘martyr’.

Has anyone noticed that the common denominator of all the successful Arab street movements is that they are sympathetic to Iran? When the dust settles, Iran is going to own the Middle East – except for maybe Saudi Arabia, if we have the guts to help them (which I very much doubt).

We are going to lose our pals in Bahrain – not nice guys, but pals of the U.S.A. anyway – and we are going to lose our pals in Yemen, and it will possibly have an actual al Qaeda government.

There is a gigantic regional coup by Iran taking place. We are doing very little, if anything, to stop it.

Yes, Iran is everywhere in these movements.  Wherever there is a Shiite population they are there.  Supporting these democracy movements.  Of course, when Iranians put on a little democracy movement themselves, the Iranian government sees that differently.  And brutally suppresses it.  But they’re all for democracy.  Everywhere but in Iran.

We are going to regret helping the Egyptians kick out Mubarak as much as we regret helping Khomeini force out the Shah.

You can call it “Arab Spring” if you want. But with Iran now the regional superpower, it is a lot more like an extremely bleak Mideast winter.

The Egyptian policy of the Obama administration may prove to be the greatest blunder in U.S. history.  Losing Iran was big.  But it was one country.  If the U.S. loses Egypt, they may very well lose the Middle East.  And the first thing on the Muslim Brotherhood’s agenda when they ascend to power no doubt will involve Israel.  Who will be by then completely surrounded.  With a nuclear option.  Faced by an enemy that will no doubt also possess a nuclear option.  Thanks to the Iranian nuclear program.

An extremely bleak Mideast winter indeed.

Egypt becomes more Islamist

So how are things in Egypt these days?  How is that democracy working out for them?  Not bad.  As long as you’re not in the minority (see Egypt’s top Christian leader calls for end of sit-in after demonstrators attacked overnight by Associated Press posted 5/15/2011 on The Washington Post).

Christians, who make up about 10 percent of Egypt’s population, have felt increasingly insecure since 18 days of street protests brought down Mubarak, who led the country for nearly 30 years until he was forced to resign on Feb. 11.

The Christians, many of whom are Coptic, have complained that the interim government and security forces have failed to protect them and have allowed extremist Islamic groups to attack with impunity.

Earlier this month, mobs of Muslims, apparently urged on by the ultraconservative Salafi sect of Islam, stormed the Virgin Mary Church in the Cairo neighborhood of Imbaba and set it ablaze. The attack was sparked by a rumor that a Christian woman planned to marry a Muslim, which some religious purists consider to be forbidden.

If Salafi Muslims are cracking down on Christians in Egypt, that can’t bode well for Israel.  Because the Jewish state of Israel is probably less popular with the ultraconservatives rising in Egypt than this Christian minority. 

Put yourself in Israel’s place.  And take a look at the map around you.  The Palestinian West Bank to the east.  Syria to the north. Lebanon to the north.  As well as Hezbollah.  And running down the Mediterranean coast you have the Gaza Strip.  Ruled by Hamas.  That borders Egypt.  Where ultraconservative Salafi Islamists are attacking Christians.  While the ascendant political party, the Muslim Brotherhood, no doubt sides with the Islamists and may be pressuring the army to allow these attacks.  In other words, Israel is surrounded.  Not just by opposing armies.  But by a people who seek the destruction of the state of Israel.  And never before were they in such a position to make this happen.

An extremely bleak Mideast winter indeed.

The Arab Spring turns to Winter over Israel

And speaking of Israel, how are things going for them amidst this “Arab Spring” (see 9 Killed as Israel Clashes With Palestinians on Four Borders by Ethan Bronner posted 5/15/2011 on The New York Times)?

Israel’s borders erupted into deadly clashes on Sunday as thousands of Palestinians — marching from Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank — confronted Israeli troops to mark the anniversary when Arabs mourn Israel’s creation. As many as nine Palestinians were reported killed and scores injured in the unprecedented wave of coordinated protests.

It doesn’t sound like the Israeli spring is as ‘springy’ as it is in the Arab world.  In fact, one could say this is more of a bleak winter.

Every year in mid-May many Palestinians mark what they call Nakba, or the catastrophe, the anniversary of Israel’s declaration of independence in 1948 and the start of a war in which thousands of Palestinians lost their homes through expulsion and flight.

But this is the first year that Palestinian refugees in Syria and Lebanon tried to breach the Israeli military border in marches inspired by recent popular protests around the Arab world. Here too, word about the rallies was spread on social media sites.

“The Palestinians are not less rebellious than other Arab peoples,” said Ali Baraka, a Hamas representative in Lebanon.

So the “Arab Spring” is flowering throughout the Arab world.  In places that have been relatively peaceful.  Such as in southern Lebanon.  And southern Syria.  Especially in the once peaceful Golan Heights.

Yoni Ben-Menachem, Israel Radio’s chief Arab affairs analyst, said it seemed likely that President Bashar al-Assad of Syria was seeking to divert attention from his troubles caused by popular uprisings there in recent weeks by allowing confrontations on the Golan Heights for the first time in decades.

Incidentally, even though Assad did something Mubarak never did, turn the army on his people, it was Mubarak that the Obama administration said had to go.  Not Assad.  Funny, too, because the world probably had less to lose with the fall of Assad than they did with the fall of Mubarak.

The day’s troubles began when an Israeli Arab truck driver rammed his truck into cars, a bus and pedestrians in Tel Aviv, killing one man and injuring more than a dozen others in what police described as a terrorist attack.

Later, hundreds of Lebanese joined by Palestinians from more than nine refugee camps in Lebanon headed toward the border, around the town of Maroun al-Ras, Lebanon, scene of some of the worst fighting in the 2006 war between Israel and Hezbollah.

They passed posters that had gone up the past week on highways in Lebanon. “People want to return to Palestine,” they read, in a play on the slogan made famous in Egypt and Tunisia, “People want the fall of the regime.”

So the “Arab Spring” is flowering among the people of Hezbollah and Hamas.  The enemies of Israel.  Friends of the Muslim Brotherhood.  And Iran.  And it was the ‘democracy’ movements in Tunisia and Egypt that have inspired them.  Imagine that.  The “Arab Spring” inspired political movements that would be anything but democratic to Israel.  Because, perhaps, to them “Arab Spring” has the same meaning as “Israeli Winter.”

An extremely bleak Mideast winter indeed.

Anything is Possible in the Middle East these Days

Even though Ben Stein was wrong about the Subprime Mortgage Crisis, it’s hard to fault him on what’s happening in the Middle East.  At least, based on the facts.  And the underlying history.  Oh, and let’s not forget how the Iranian Revolution went down.  It, too, started off as a democratic movement.  And ended in one of the harshest, Islamist theocracies the world has seen. 

Iran may soon be the regional power in the Middle East.  When that happens, life will change.  For everyone.  More terrorism.  More war.  And probably some higher prices at the gas pump.  You know, the late Saddam Hussein is looking better and better in hindsight.  Sure, he was a pain in the ass.  But he was also Iran’s pain in the ass.  And the enemy of our pain in the ass is our friend.  Of course, the wild card is what will happen to Iraq when the U.S. leaves.  Will it just be another domino to fall to Iran?  I hope not.  But anything is possible in the Middle East these days.

An extremely bleak Mideast winter indeed.

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Osama bin Laden is Dead

Posted by PITHOCRATES - May 2nd, 2011

SEAL Team Six

Early reports credit SEAL Team Six with the take down of Osama bin Laden.  Despite losing a helicopter, they executed the mission with extreme precision.  Which is the way SEALs like to do it.  A grateful thanks goes out to all our men and women in the armed forces, especially those in the Special Forces community.  Much of what they do never ‘officially’ happens.  So they are truly America’s unsung heroes.  And a special thanks goes out to Navy SEAL and Rogue Warrior Richard Marcinko.  He created SEAL Team Six and made it the potent asset it is today.  It’s not easy to become a SEAL.  And Marcinko made it harder still to get into SEAL Team Six.  A lot of what they do isn’t humanly possible.  And yet they do it.  Because that’s their business.  Doing the impossible.

A Work in Progress

Number 1 on the FBI’s most wanted terrorist list took awhile to find.  Starting in the Clinton administration even before 9/11.  Yes, he was killing Americans before 9/11.  There were the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya.  And the 2000 USS Cole bombing.  Then came 9/11.  Which intensified the manhunt (see Getting Osama bin Laden: How the mission went down by Mike Allen posted 5/2/2011 on Politico).

In the biggest break in a global pursuit of bin Laden that stretched back to the Clinton administration, the U.S. discovered the compound by following one of the terrorist’s personal couriers, identified by terrorist detainees as one of the few al Qaeda couriers who bin Laden trusted.

“They indicated he might be living with and protecting bin Laden,” a senior administration official told reporters on a midnight conference call. “Detainees gave us his nom de guerre, or his nickname, and identified him as both a protégé of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the mastermind of September 11th, and a trusted assistant of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, the former number three of al Qaeda who was captured in 2005.”

Officials didn’t learn the courier’s name until 2007. Then it took two years to find him and track him back to this compound, which was discovered in August 2010.

It was this courier that led us to bin Laden.  Identifying him was key.  So important that President Bush authorized some forceful interrogation techniques (see Woman who died as a human shield was one of bin Laden’s wives: White House posted 5/2/2011 on The Toronto Star).

Torture and interrogation tactics inside CIA prisons in Romania and Poland extracted the courier’s name from Mohammed and his successor, Abu Faraj Al Libi, the Associated Press reported.

Former U.S. president George W. Bush had authorized the CIA to use torture; Obama closed the prison system.

Which of course led us not to some cave in Afghanistan near the Pakistan border.  But inside Pakistan.  In relative comfort (see US kills Osama bin Laden decade after 9/11 attacks by Kimberly Dozier and David Espo, Associated Press, posted 5/2/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Long believed to be hiding in caves, bin Laden was tracked down in a costly, custom-built hideout not far from a Pakistani military academy…

The compound is about a half-mile from a Pakistani military academy, in a city that is home to three army regiments and thousands of military personnel. Abbottabad is surrounded by hills and with mountains in the distance.

Critics have long accused elements of Pakistan’s security establishment of protecting bin Laden, though Islamabad has always denied it, and in a statement the foreign ministry said his death showed the country’s resolve in the battle against terrorism.

Still, bin Laden’s location raised pointed questions of whether Pakistani authorities knew the whereabouts of the world’s most wanted man.

And there he was.  Hiding in our ally’s back yard.  With all the comforts of home.  Including a wife or two.  For years.  And all that time not that far from under our very noses.  Was Pakistan complicit?  Time will tell.  Of course, Muslims helping Westerners to hunt down and kill Muslims is a tricky business.  Helping Americans isn’t exactly in their best interests.  They may have been hiding him.  But there were no communication lines going into that compound.  The only contact with the outside world was via those couriers.  So, yes, he was there.  But what exactly was he doing while he was there?  Probably not a lot.  So even though he wasn’t in Gitmo or dead, he may have been, for all intents and purposes, neutralized.  Which would have helped American national security interests.

From Osama bin Laden to Egypt

So bin Laden is dead.  Does it change much?  Perhaps.  But not in the way most would think.  Since 9/11 bin Laden hasn’t been all that active.  It’s hard to be active when you’re always hiding.  The real al Qaeda threat of late has been in Yemen.  Not Afghanistan.  The recent attempts (the underwear bomber and the printer cartridge bombs) were launched from Yemen.  So killing bin Laden may actually have a negative impact on U.S. security.  Because it brought him back from relative obscurity.  Perhaps offering a rallying call for our enemies.  Especially when the U.S. acted unilaterally inside a sovereign Muslim Pakistan.  Where the local population doesn’t much like the U.S. to begin with. 

Osama bin Laden may still have been active.  And taking him out sends a message to other terrorists.  But it is a distraction from more disturbing developments in the Middle East.  In Egypt to be specific.  Where a whole lot of change is happening.  Some of which may not be for the good.  Such as the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood.  Opening the Gaza border crossing.  Their brokering a unity deal between Fatah in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  And Egypt’s move to normalize relations with Iran.  Little good can come from these developments.  And a lot bad can.  So, yes, bin Laden got what he deserved.  But the developing theater in the War on Terror may now be in the Middle East.

Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood Condemn the Killing of Osama bin Laden

Osama bin Laden was a Saudi.  ‘Was’ being the operative wood.  The Saudis were glad to see him go (see Saudi hopes bin Laden death will aid terror fight by Mahmoud Habboush, Cynthia Johnston, Joseph Logan and Mark Heinrich, posted 5/2/2011 on Reuters).

“An official source expressed the hope of the kingdom of Saudi Arabia that the elimination of the leader of the terrorist al Qaeda organization would be a step toward supporting international efforts aimed at fighting terrorism,” the news agency said.

It added that Riyadh hoped that bin Laden’s demise would also help break up al Qaeda cells and eliminate the “misguided thought” it said was drives militancy.

He and the Wahhabi sect had been a problem for the Saudi kingdom.  They were glad to get rid of him first from the kingdom.  Then from the living.  And when the U.S. offered them bin Laden’s body for burial they refused.  They did not want him buried in Saudi soil.  But not everyone in the Middle East shared Saudi opinion (see Hamas condemns killing of al-Qa’ida leader by Reuters posted 5/2/2011 on The Independent).

Hamas condemned on Monday the US killing of Osama bin Laden as the assassination of an Arab holy warrior, differing sharply with the Palestinian Authority, the Islamist group’s partner in a new unity deal.

“We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs,” Ismail Haniyeh, head of the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip, told reporters. ..

Hamas, classified by the United States and the European Union as a terrorist group over its violence against Israel, is due to sign a unity deal this week in Cairo with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s more secular Fatah movement.

Israel has condemned the agreement, saying it could sabotage any efforts to revive peace talks with the Palestinians. The deal envisages an interim unity government comprised of independents and Palestinian elections later in the year.

This is no surprise that Hamas would condemn bin Laden’s killing.  They share his hatred of Americans.  And the State of Israel.  What is troubling, though, is the unity deal between the secular Fatah in the West Bank and the Islamist Hamas in the Gaza Strip.  Especially with that unity deal being brokered in post-Mubarak Egypt.  This is very troubling indeed.  For the Hamas Charter calls for the destruction of Israel.  Which is still in the charter.  Which begs the question, what will be a unified Hamas/Fatah position on Israel?  Especially now that the Muslim Brotherhood, who supports that proviso in the Hamas charter, is ascendant in Egypt.  Perhaps we can learn by the Muslim Brotherhood’s reaction to the killing of bin Laden (see Egypt Muslim Brotherhood condemns Bin Laden death by the Associated Press posted 5/2/2011 on Yahoo! News).

Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, a conservative organization with links around the Islamic world, has condemned the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. forces as an “assassination.”

The Brotherhood, which seeks the establishment of a state run according to Islamic principles through peaceful means, is Egypt’s most powerful and organized political movement.

Post-Mubarak Egypt is not looking good.  If current trends continue, it may be like exchanging a Mubarak-Egypt for another Iran.  On the all important Suez Canal.  And but a short walk from Israel.  Public enemy number one for radical Islam.  And let’s not forget that Iran is working on a nuclear program.

The Dawn of a new Islamist Day in Egypt?

It’s hard to find a bigger mistake in the Middle East than forcing Mubarak from office.  For Egypt has a lot more radical Islam fomenting in their populace than they do democracy.  Even bin Laden’s number two, Ayman Al-Zawahri, is an Egyptian.  And he may shortly become al Qaeda’s number one.  Which is cause for concern.  Because he’s not as nice a guy as Osama bin Laden was (see Egypt’s Al-Zawahri likely to succeed bin Laden by Hamza Hendawi and Lee Keath, Associated Press, posted 5/2/2011 on the Daily News Egypt).

With bin Laden killed, Ayman Al-Zawahri becomes the top candidate for the world’s top terror job.

It’s too early to tell how exactly Al-Qaeda would change with its founder and supreme mentor gone, but the group under Al-Zawahri would likely be further radicalized, unleashing a new wave of attacks to avenge bin Laden’s killing by US troops in Pakistan on Monday to send a message that it’s business as usual.

Yes, the mentor bin Laden was the less radical one.  The protégé, Al-Zawahri, may very well take it up a notch.  At least to avenge his mentor’s death.  Unless the U.S. gets to him first.

The attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon made bin Laden Enemy No. 1 to the United States. But he likely could never have carried it out without Al-Zawahri. Bin Laden provided Al-Qaeda with the charisma and money, but Al-Zawahri brought the ideological fire, tactics and organizational skills needed to forge disparate militants into a network of cells in countries around the world.

“Al-Zawahri was always bin Laden’s mentor, bin Laden always looked up to him,” says terrorism expert Bruce Hoffman of Georgetown University.

Osama bin Laden may have put out the call for jihad on 9/11.  By Al-Zawahri made it happen.  And created an international terror network to boot.

Al-Zawahri ensured Al-Qaeda’s survival, rebuilding Al-Qaeda’s leadership in the Afghan-Pakistan border region and installing his allies as new lieutenants in key positions. Since then, the network inspired or had a direct hand in attacks in North Africa, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Pakistan, the 2004 train bombings in Madrid and the 2005 transit bombings in London.

It was Al-Zawahri, not bin Laden, who was responsible for post-9/11 al Qaeda.

But before Al-Qaeda — and before Al-Zawahri focused his wrath on the “far enemy,” United States — his goal was to bring down the “near enemy,” the US-allied government of then president Hosni Mubarak in his native Egypt.

And in what may prove one of the greatest blunders of national security, Al-Zawahri’s ‘far enemy’ took out his ‘near enemy’.  And now all that radical Islam that’s been simmering below the surface can boil over now.  Because the U.S. got rid of the guy that contained it.  Hosni Mubarak.

At the same time, Al-Zawahri began reassembling Islamic Jihad and surrounded bin Laden with Egyptian members of Jihad such as Mohamed Atef and Saif Al-Adel, who would one day play key roles in putting together the Sept. 11 attacks.

The alliance established Al-Zawahri as bin Laden’s deputy and soon after came the bombings of the US embassies in Africa, followed by the 2000 suicide bombing of the USS Cole off the coast of Yemen, an attack Al-Zawahri is believed to have helped organize.

Apparently these Egyptians went to work for bin Laden because they were not welcomed in Egypt.  Of course, that may have all changed.  Egypt is moving closer to Hamas.  And Iran.  And there’s talk about pulling out of the Camp David Accords with Israel.  No doubt these Egyptians are now feeling that there is no place like home.  And they’re probably going back to Egypt.  Eager to take part in the dawn of a new Islamist day there.

Developments in Egypt are of Greater Concern

President Obama acted boldly by giving the go ahead for SEAL Team Six to take down Osama bin Laden.  And some are already talking about how this will help his 2012 reelection chances.  Of course, Osama bin Laden may be moot by then if the economy is still in recession.  George H. W. Bush lost to Bill Clinton after riding record approval numbers after his victory in the Gulf War.  Because it was the economy, stupid.  Osama bin Laden is big.  But his he bigger enough to overcome a recession?

But Obama has a bigger problem, though.  He told Hosni Mubarak he had to go.  That was a mistake.  And it can have huge consequences.  On the War on Terror.  On Middle East stability.  And on world peace.  Bad things are already lining up to happen.  The degree of bad may very well determine the 2012 election.

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What we Fear in Syria already happening in Egypt?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 30th, 2011

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood Ascendant in Egypt

The death toll in Syria has exceeded 500.  But we’re not calling for Assad to step down.  And we’re not bombing Syria.  Even though Syria is very friendly with Iran.  And supports Hezbollah and Hamas.  No.  We’re acting cautiously with Syria.  Because Assad is a man the Obama administration is banking on to reform Syria.  He’s the moderate.  Friend of the Christian community in Syria.  Holding the Muslim Brotherhood and their Islamism at bay.  Because Iran is bad.  Hezbollah is bad.  Hamas is bad.  And the Muslim Brotherhood is especially bad.  So we’re going to tread lightly in Syria. 

This is exactly the kind of caution the Obama Administration did NOT exercise in Egypt.  Pity, because everything the world is worried about in Syria may be happening in Egypt (see Muslim Brotherhood to contest half of Egypt parliament by Reuters posted 4/30/2011 on The Jerusalem Post).

The Muslim Brotherhood said on Saturday it will contest up to half of Egypt’s parliamentary seats in elections scheduled for September.

But the group said it will not field a candidate for the position of president in an election due to held after the parliamentary vote.

The Muslim Brotherhood was no secret in Egypt.  Or their ties to Iran and Hamas.  But the Muslim Brotherhood wasn’t involved with the democracy protests.  Sure, they were the only organized, albeit illegal, opposition party.  But that was nothing to worry about.  Because this was an outpouring of young people and their yearning for democracy.  Much like those young people who yearned in Iran in 1979.

The Muslim Brotherhood is regarded as the most organized political force in Egypt after the ouster of Hosni Mubarak in February and the dissolution of his National Democratic Party…

The Brotherhood is an Islamist group founded in the 1920s and has deep roots in Egypt’s conservative Muslim society.

So what is there to worry about?  This spontaneous yearning for democracy by the young will no doubt triumph.  Unlike a well organized movement that goes back to 1920.  And that has deep roots in Egypt’s conservative Muslim society.  There is no reason that the Egypt revolution will be just like the 1979 Iranian Revolution.  Just because it parallels the Iranian Revolution doesn’t mean it will end up like the Iranian Revolution.  In theocracy.

The Islamist Muslim Brotherhood denies being Islamist

As if to assuage this very concern, the Muslim Brotherhood is telling their critics that their Islamist party is not a theocratic one.  That they will gladly cooperate with the secular powers (see Egypt: Muslim Brotherhood sets up new party posted 4/30/2011 on the BBC).

It has sought to allay fears of an Islamist parliamentary majority, and said it would be willing to co-operate with secular parties.

Mohammed al-Mursi, the head of the new Freedom and Justice Party, told reporters in Cairo: “It is not an Islamist party in the old understanding, it is not theocratic.”

Just like Ayatollah Khomeini assured the young revolutionaries in Iran not to worry.  Their government would be a secular government.  And it was.  Until it became a theocratic one.  You see, he lied.  He told everyone what they wanted to hear.  All the while making Iran a theocracy.

But that won’t happen in Egypt.  Because the people who want to turn Egypt into a theocracy are telling us they don’t want to turn Egypt into a theocracy.  So there’s nothing to worry about.

Egypt Reopens Gaza Border Crossing, Hamas Cheers

Or is there?  The Muslim Brotherhood is not exactly what one would call fans of the state of Israel.  No.  They would fall more into the anti-Israel camp.  Like Iran.  And Hamas.  With Gaza bordering both Israel and Egypt, and with Hamas in power in Gaza, what happens in Gaza vis-à-vis Egypt would be a good indicator of things to come.  So let’s take a look at what’s happening in Gaza (see Egypt intends to reopen Gaza crossing by Michael Birnbaum posted 4/29/2011 on The Washington Post).

Egypt plans to reopen a border crossing with the Gaza Strip as soon as possible, a spokeswoman for the Egyptian Foreign Ministry said Friday, worrying Israel and bringing an end to a blockade of the territory that had been deeply unpopular inside Egypt…

Access to Gaza from Egypt had been severely restricted at Israel’s request after the Islamic movement Hamas took control of the territory in 2007. Israel and the United States consider Hamas a terrorist organization, and Israel imposed a blockade on the territory because officials said they were concerned about weapons and explosives being transported across the border.

If one didn’t know any better, one would think that Egypt may be moving away from Israel and towards Iran/Hamas.  Because their action will help weapons get into Gaza where Hamas can fire them on Israel.  Which is sort of their thing.  Launching weapons into Israel.  So maybe there’s something to worry about here with this new Egyptian direction.

Egypt has moved in recent days to bolster its relationship with Hamas, an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood, which was banned in Egypt during Mubarak’s reign. The change reflected popular sentiment and helped Egyptian diplomats broker a deal this week between Fatah and Hamas that will unify the two main factions in the Palestinian territories. Egyptian diplomats have also announced their intention to increase ties with Iran.

Okay, so they’re throwing open the border crossing between Gaza and Egypt.  They’re improving relations with Hamas.  And Iran.  I think we’re past ‘maybe’.  I think it may be time for someone to start worrying.  For despite all of their denials about their theocratic intentions, their actions speak louder than their words.  It’s beginning to look a lot like Poland in 1939.  A country surrounded.  Flanks secured.  Good propaganda.  And a burning desire to launch a war of annihilation.  I’d be surprised if Israel wasn’t worried.

Israel isn’t Feeling the Love

Oh, come on, you say.  That’s just ridiculous.  The Palestinians are just a peace loving people.  And Hamas is just a political party.  Comparing them to Nazi Germany is a bit extreme to say the least.  Besides, what have they ever done to suggest that they want to annihilate the state of Israel (see Barak to UN chief: Hamas must recognize Israel by Haaretz Service and Reuters posted 4/30/2011 on Haaretz)?

Defense Minister Ehud Barak spoke with United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Saturday and expressed concerns about the unity agreement that was recently reached between Fatah and Hamas.

“Hamas is a terrorist organization that fires rockets at Israeli towns and recently used an anti-tank missile against a school bus,” Barak said.

“Therefore, we expect that world leaders, including, of course, the head of the UN, to make cooperation with such a joint government, if it is established, conditional on the government accepting the Quartet’s conditions, which are the recognition of Israel, the abandonment of the path of terror and the acceptance of all previous agreements with Israel,” Barak continued.

Well, yeah, there’s all of that.  A long history of violence towards Israel.  And the refusal to recognize them as a sovereign state.  But other than that, what has Hamas ever done to suggest that they want to annihilate Israel?

One thing for sure, Israel isn’t feeling the love these days.

Democracy Losing in Egypt 

Democracy may lose in Egypt.  Just as it did in Iran following the 1979 Revolution.  Which will empower Hamas.  And that open border crossing between Egypt and Gaza will greatly help Hamas in their struggle against Israel.  With an able assist from the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt.  Pity we didn’t think this through better before saying Mubarak had to go.

Things are so bad with an ascendant Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt that we’re backing off on the crimes against humanity in Syria.  There the price of innocent civilians killed is an acceptable cost to keep the Muslim Brotherhood at bay.  But not in Egypt.  And Mubarak didn’t even set the army on his people.  But he had to go.  No ifs, ands or buts about it.  But Assad is okay.  He just needs to tone it down a little.  Kill a few less people.

All the while Israel sits and waits.  Their world is changing.  And there’s little they can do about it.  They hope for the best.  And no doubt plan for the worse.  Like in 1973 during the Yom Kippur War.  When the tide of war was going against them and defeat looked imminent.  They had suffered great losses and desperately needed U.S. aid.  Which was not forthcoming.  So Israel began preparing some nuclear weapons to stave off defeat.  This got the attention of the U.S.  Who replaced Israeli’s material losses.  Which kept them in the war.  Kept them from going nuclear.  And allowed them to win a favorable peace.  And the Arab world has hated the U.S. ever since.

So much hatred in the Middle East.  And so many old scores to settle.  It’ll probably get worse before it gets better.  And all I can say is that I’d sure hate to be in our shoes.

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Peace in the Middle East Depends on Egypt once Again

Posted by PITHOCRATES - April 22nd, 2011

Roman Barbarism begets Christian Charity

This is Good Friday.  The day Jesus Christ, a Jew, was crucified by the Romans.  In the land of the Jews.  Palestine.  Then occupied by the Romans.  Which came after the Egyptian occupation.  But before the Byzantine occupation.  Yes, there was always a power struggle there.  And Jesus was a part of it.  Though His struggle against the powers that be was not to gain their earthly powers.  But to usher in the Kingdom of Heaven.  Despite their earthly powers.  Starting in Judea

Things went from bad to worse on the temporal side.  On the spiritual side, though, things went pretty much according to plan.  Jesus endured great suffering.  For death by crucifixion is about as bad as it gets.  Which is quite the testament of the man Jesus was.  For He suffered as a man.  Not a god.  His pain was real.  And it lasted a long time.  Then He died.  Ascended to heaven.  And ushered in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth.  Where His words and deeds became the greatest force for peace the civilized world has ever known.

Now this is the Christian view of history.  Not everyone agrees with it.  But it is impossible to refute the role of Christianity in civilizing the barbaric lands of Europe during the Middle Ages.  It was a civilizing force that transcended the warring tribes.  And ultimately brought peace, the rule of law and civil society to Europe.  And the Western world.  It was the one force in the world that restrained the arbitrary power of kings.  And the phrase ‘Christian charity’ entered the lexicon as people chose to live in peace and love their neighbor.  To live by the Golden Rule.  And this all goes back to southern Palestine.  To Judea.  Where one man once walked among us.

Assad worse than Mubarak but gets better U.S. Treatment

The Arab world is ablaze.  Tunisia and Egypt saw regime change.  Libya is embroiled in civil war.  The UN passed a resolution to help Libya.  So we started bombing Libya.  There’s been further unrest in the Arab world.  But nothing rising to the level of a Libya, though.  Not serious enough for the international community to step in (see Shameful U.S. inaction on Syria’s massacres posted 4/22/2011 on The Washington Post).

FOR THE PAST five weeks, growing numbers of Syrians have been gathering in cities and towns across the country to demand political freedom — and the security forces of dictator Bashar al-Assad have been responding by opening fire on them…

Massacres on this scale usually prompt a strong response from Western democracies, as they should. Ambassadors are withdrawn; resolutions are introduced at the U.N. Security Council; international investigations are mounted and sanctions applied. In Syria’s case, none of this has happened. The Obama administration has denounced the violence — the White House said it “deplored” Friday’s slaughter — but otherwise remained passive. Even the ambassador it dispatched to Damascus during a congressional recess last year remains on post.

This is very interesting.  For Colonel Qaddafi was killing his people, too.  And we bombed him for that.  In Egypt, Mubarak wasn’t killing his protestors but the Obama administration said he had to go.  Even though he was a strong U.S. ally.  And a strong force for peace in the Middle East.  Egypt has recognized Israel.  And remained at peace with them.   Allowing free transit of the Sinai for Jew and Arab alike.  But he had to go.  As does Qaddafi.  But Syria can kill their own people.  Why?  Is Syria a better force for peace than Egypt?

The administration has sat on its hands despite the fact that the Assad regime is one of the most implacable U.S. adversaries in the Middle East. It is Iran’s closest ally; it supplies Iranian weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip for use against Israel. Since 2003 it has helped thousands of jihadists from across the Arab world travel to Iraq to attack American soldiers. It sought to build a secret nuclear reactor with the help of North Korea and destabilized the pro-Western government of neighboring Lebanon by sponsoring a series of assassinations.

No.  They are not a better force for peace in the Middle East.  In fact, they’re the exact opposite of that.  You couldn’t find a bigger enemy to peace.  Or the United States.  Well, except for Iran, of course.  Who we’ve handled in the same way when their people protest their totalitarian rule.

Yet the Obama administration has effectively sided with the regime against the protesters. Rather than repudiate Mr. Assad, it has proposed that his government introduce reforms. As The Post’s Karen DeYoung and Scott Wilson reported Friday, the administration, which made the “engagement” of Syria a key part of its Middle East policy, still clings to the belief that Mr. Assad could be part of a Middle East peace process; and it would rather not trade “a known quantity in Assad for an unknown future.”

An unknown future?  Syria and Iran are at the top of our enemies list.  We worry about radical Islam taking hold in Egypt as that democracy movement looks less and less democratic and more theocratic.  But it’s already there in Iran and Syria.  What ‘unknown’ are we worried about?  That the Syrians may convert to Christianity?  To Judaism?  That they may stop killing Jews and Christians?  That they may stop killing Americans?

If we were going to practice restraint anywhere, it should have been in Egypt.  We probably should have considered long and hard what may happen in Egypt before throwing Mubarak under the bus.  We should have asked him to introduce reforms.  We were already engaged with him.  And he wasn’t killing Americans.  As far as peace partners go, that’s a pretty big plus in my book.

The Sinai Peninsula – A Great Crossroads of the Middle East

Do you know where the Sinai Peninsula is?  It’s between Israel and Egypt.  On the other side of Israel is Jordan.  Above Jordan is Syria.  Above Israel is Lebanon.  Also bordering Israel and Egypt on the Mediterranean is the Gaza Strip.  And who is the ruling power in the Gaza Strip?  Hamas.  And who do they hate?  Israel.  Who else hates Israel?  Hezbollah.  In southern Lebanon. 

Israel has fought a lot of wars to stabilize their borders where they currently are.  They still deal with the occasional rocket attacks.  But there has been an uneasy peace along the eastern coast of the Mediterranean.  They still hate each other.  And they’re still trying to kill each other.  But it hasn’t blown up into a full scale war.  Partly because of the stabilizing force of Egypt.  Under the steady rule of Hosni Mubarak. 

Of course, the Obama administration threw Mubarak under the bus.  And the future of Egypt is unsure.  If it falls to the Iran-friendly Muslim Brotherhood, that will empower Hamas to make a whole lot of mischief in the Gaza Strip.  Which may encourage a little mischief from Hezbollah in southern Lebanon.  Which Syria no doubt will exploit.  And if all of this happens, Iran will swoop in and be the major power in the eastern Mediterranean.  Putting Israel in a very difficult position.  Fighting for her existence.  Which could plunge the region into war.  And the world into war.  And the flashpoint for all of this may be in the Sinai Peninsula.  A great crossroads of the Middle East. 

U.S. Boots on the Ground in…the Sinai Peninsula

President Obama promised the American people that there would be no ‘boots on the ground’ in Libya.  That we would only use air power to protect civilians from Colonel Qaddafi.  And maybe advisors.  Because the rebel forces, though filled with the spirit of liberty, lacked a certain military discipline.  But no combat troops on the ground in Libya.  Of course, that didn’t mean there wouldn’t be boots on the ground elsewhere (see Md. National Guard Members Prep For Egypt Deployment posted 4/22/2011 on WBAL TV).

More than 400 soldiers from the Maryland National Guard will spend the next 10 month in Egypt. 11 News reporter Sheldon Dutes looks at how they’re preparing.

And guess where in Egypt these troops will deploy?  Here’s a hint.  Think of the worst possible place.  Are you thinking the Sinai Peninsula?  The potential tinder box for World War Three?  If so, you thought right.

If Egypt goes Iran’s way, there will be a lot of traffic through the Sinai.  And not the good kind.  People with guns.  And bombs.  Going into the Gaza Strip.  To kill Jews.  And anyone that supports the Jews.  Like Americans.  Who are now about to deploy to the Sinai Peninsula.

Palestine’s Elusive Peace

Egypt and Israel go a long way back.  Two of the world’s oldest kingdoms.  Three, if you count the Kingdom of Judah.  And they haven’t always been the best of friends.  But they made their peace.  Thanks to Jimmy Carter‘s diplomacy.  And billions of dollars of U.S. aid.  The Camp David Accords brought some peace to the Middle East.  Despite hostile feelings that simmered throughout the region.  So hostile that they did boil over in Egypt.  When those unhappy with the Israeli peace assassinated the Egyptian president who made that peace.  Anwar Sadat.  The world held its breath.  Would Egypt collapse into anarchy.  And break the Israeli peace?  No.  Because of one man.  Hosni Mubarak.  Who we just recently threw under the bus.

Some in the world hold their breath again.  Mostly grownups who remember what happened in Iran in 1979.  What will happen in Egypt this time?  Will it continue to honor its peace with Israel?  Or will there be world war?  Hard to say now.  It could go either way.

Some things never change in the Middle East.  Especially in Palestine.  Where happiness is as elusive there as it was during the Roman occupation.

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An Egyptian Dictator is bad while an Iranian one is Okay?

Posted by PITHOCRATES - February 11th, 2011

The Handling of the Egyptian Crisis not our Finest Moment

Mubarak is out.  And the military is in.  They will try to restore order now and keep the country from degenerating into anarchy.  But did we back the right horse?

Early on the Obama administration joined the ‘democratic’ protesters in calls for Mubarak’s resignation.  Even though it looked like we didn’t know what was going on in Egypt (see Crisis Flummoxes White House by Adam Entous and Jay Solomon posted 2/11/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

All day, as rumors swirled Mr. Mubarak would step down, administration officials struggled to understand what was happening, and even U.S. intelligence officials appeared baffled at one point. At a Capitol Hill hearing, Leon Panetta, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, told lawmakers there was “a strong likelihood that Mubarak may step down this evening…”

A senior intelligence official defended Mr. Panetta, saying he was referring to press reports in his comments rather than to CIA intelligence reports.

Interesting.  Our intelligence chief uses the same press reports you and I read to brief Congress.  Probably was not a good idea.  Anything we can read will be in English.  And written for us.  The people who matter?  Those in the midst of the crisis?  They don’t read English.  Because English isn’t the official Egyptian language.  Funny, those Egyptians.  Using their native tongue.  Actually, that’s quite common throughout the world.  That’s why we usually collect intelligence from agents inside the country who immerse themselves in the language and customs of the local people.  That way we understand what the common Egyptian on the street is thinking.  Just hope that the rest of the intelligence we used came from hard sources.

Arab and Israeli diplomats said Mr. Obama’s decision to throw his full support behind the opposition after eight days of protests has likely broken ties with Mr. Mubarak beyond repair.

The move also had the effect of pushing Mr. Mubarak closer to regional allies Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, which have urged Mr. Mubarak to hold his ground.

As a result, said one Arab diplomat, Washington’s influence in dictating events in Cairo could be limited…

“I don’t think Mubarak trusts too many people from the U.S. anymore,” the Arab diplomat said. “It looks like Omar Suleiman is the right point of contact, but they’re all ticked off with the U.S. position, which they view as throwing Mubarak under the bus.”

We keep hearing about what a dictator Mubarak was.  If he was a dictator, he was a dictator that helped keep the region stable.  He honored the peace treaty with Israel.  He kept the Suez Canal open to navigation.  He supported us during Desert Storm.  He was on our side during Iraqi Freedom.  He has a secular government that has repressed radical Islam.  Yeah, we’re giving him a boatload of foreign aid, and there’s poverty and unemployment throughout Egypt, but to throw him under the bus?  We should be more careful in what we wish for.

In talks with American counterparts in Washington Thursday, top Israeli officials accompanying Defense Minister Ehud Barak made a similar case, warning that the upheaval could be the start of a broader “earthquake” that could sweep the region, said officials briefed on the exchange.

They questioned Washington’s wisdom in appearing to push for Mr. Mubarak’s ouster and whether the military can keep chaos and Islamist forces at bay, a participant said.

Israeli officials also told the U.S. Thursday that right-wing parties in Israel could gain strength in future Israeli elections as a result, complicating efforts to advance peace talks with Palestinians.

Mubarak was an ally.  Israel is an Ally.  The Palestinians?  Not quite an ally.  And yet we choose a course of action that hurts an ally.  And possibly benefits the nation who perhaps is not best aligned with American interests.  Funny.  Not in a ha ha way.  But in a puzzling, confusing way.

One of the biggest questions facing the administration is the future role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Mr. Clapper, on Capitol Hill, muddied the picture when he called the group “largely secular,” despite long-standing U.S. concerns about its Islamist roots and ties to extremism.

Mr. Clapper’s spokeswoman, Jamie Smith, later issued a clarification, citing the Brotherhood’s efforts to work through Egypt’s political system. Mr. Clapper “is well aware that the Muslim Brotherhood is not a secular organization.”

Oh, this doesn’t help.  Calling a group with a religion in its name secular.  Not only have we thrown an ally under the buss, but we’ve made ourselves look clueless at the highest levels of government.  If the Muslim Brotherhood takes power in Egypt, Egypt will become more like Iran than Egypt.  And if you haven’t been keeping score, that’s the worst possible outcome of this Egyptian crisis.

Our Allies Worry, our Enemies Jubilant

And how are our other allies in the region taking this?  They’re not exactly whistling a happy tune (see Neighbors Rattled by Egypt Shift by Angus McDowall, Richard Boudreaux and Joel Millman posted 2/11/2011 on The Wall Street Journal).

The resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak Friday rattled regional allies and foes alike, threatening a decades long balance of power in the Mideast and putting Saudi Arabia and Israel, in particular, on the defensive.

Our two strongest allies in the area are now on the defensive.  That doesn’t sound like they were all for the removal of the stabilizing Mubarak.  How about a terrorist group in the region?  How do they feel?

Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite Muslim political and militant group, issued a statement of congratulations to Egypt. Mr. Mubarak has long battled to curb the influence of Hezbollah’s key sponsor, Iran. Celebratory gunfire broke out in some neighborhoods of Lebanon’s capital, Beirut. Cars honked their horns and people waved victory signs.

That doesn’t sound good.  Our friends feel threatened.  And those who aren’t friendly with us are celebratory.  It looks like we just strengthened Iran’s client in the area.  And how about Iran itself?

Iranian officials have been gloating over the turmoil in Egypt for weeks, comparing it to the Islamic revolution that toppled the shah more than 30 years ago. On Friday, Iran’s national news agency IRNA ran headlines including “Egypt is Without a Pharaoh” and “The Great Victory of the Egyptian People.”

“We congratulate the great nation of Egypt on this victory and we share their happiness,” Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a statement on Friday.

Oh, that is not good at all.  Iran and Egypt were not friends.  Now Iran likes what’s happening in Egypt.  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out why.  Their client, Hezbollah, was sandwiched between our two allies in the Gaza Strip.  Israel on the north and east.  And Egypt in the south.  No doubt Iran is looking at the possibilities in the Gaza Strip now that their old nemesis is gone.  Elsewhere?

In Amman, the capital of Jordan, and in the Palestinian West Bank, fireworks and honking horns also greeted the announcement. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip set off fireworks and shot firearms into the air to celebrate. Mr. Mubarak’s regime is widely blamed there for cooperating with Israel to isolate the enclave since it came under the rule of the Islamist movement Hamas nearly five years ago.

And this is even worse.  Should Jordan follow the way of Egypt, Israel will be surrounded by the most hostile of peoples.  This could lead to a huge disabling force in the Middle East.  Israel will never see peace.  And neither will Iraq.  All our blood and treasure spent in Iraq could be for naught.  And this will cause trouble with one of our most stalwart allies in the region.  Saudi Arabia. 

Mr. Mubarak’s departure represents a significant diplomatic setback for Riyadh. Egypt and Saudi Arabia has collaborated to counter what they see as growing Iranian influence in the region and also against al Qaeda.

“Saudi Arabia has lost a loyal ally today,” said Madawi al-Rasheed, professor of social anthropology of Kings College, London.

Saudi Arabia has been in a very difficult position.  Their large Wahhabi sect has been a major funding source for al Qaeda.  The Wahhabis, Sunnis, don’t like the House of Saud because they’re too Western.  But the Saudis had been reluctant to crack down on them for their al Qaeda funding lest it sparked civil unrest in the kingdom.  But they hate each other.  Make no bones about it.  But they tolerate each other.  Because of their mutual hatred of someone else.  Shiite Iran.   The enemy of my enemy is my friend.  To a certain extent.  Our invasion of Iraq forced the Saudis to crack down on that al Qaeda funding.  Because they would rather suffer a little civil unrest in their kingdom than see Shiite Iran filling the power void in a Saddam Hussein-less Iraq.

Now they, and a large percentage of the world’s oil reserves, are at risk.  Which brings us back to that earlier question.  Did we back the right horse in Egypt?

Mum’s the word on the Iranian Dictatorship

The name that keeps coming up in all of this is Iran.  They’re the great destabilizing force in the Middle East.  They hate us.  And have been our enemy since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 during the Carter administration.  They’re working on a nuclear weapons program.  They have vowed to incinerate Israel.  If we support the overthrow of any regime it should be the Iranian regime.  But when they take to the streets, we’re surprisingly mute (see Iranian opposition leader under house arrest after protests call by Saeed Kamali Dehghan posted 2/10/2011 on guardian.co.uk).

Iran has put opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi under house arrest after he called for renewed street protests against the government, his son told the Guardian.

The move came after thousands of Iranians sympathetic to the opposition green movement joined social networking websites to promote demonstrations on Monday in solidarity with protesters in Egypt and Tunisia.

For some reason, the Obama administration is all for democracy movements when they take place in nations friendly to the United States.  But not in our enemies.  Even when they have a worst record of human rights abuses.  And have committed the same acts of oppression the Egyptians have.

At the same time, opposition websites reported a series of arrests of political activists and journalists as the regime struggles to prevent the news of the planned protest from spreading.

Access to the blogging site WordPress was blocked and internet download speeds appeared to have been reduced.

Arresting political activists?  Shutting down social media?  Where’s the outcry like there was over Egypt?

The Revolutionary Guards, the regime’s most powerful military force, have warned against any protest. Commander Hossein Hamedani told Iran’s IRNA state news agency that the they consider the opposition leaders as “anti-revolutionary and spies and will strongly confront them”.

“The seditionists [opposition leaders] are nothing but a dead corpse and we will strongly confront any of their movements,” he said.

A threat by the most powerful military force?  Where’s the outrage?  Egypt didn’t do this and yet we demanded that the great dictator step down from power.  But Iran can oppress their people without a comment from the Obama administration.  Why?

Nice Guys Finish Last in the Middle East

It would appear that this is an extension of the apology tour.  Our foreign policy strategy appears to be this.  Be nice at all costs to our enemies.  So they will stop hating us.  Don’t flex our strength.  Roll over and show them our soft underbelly to show how willing we are to trust them. 

The problem is that they don’t respect weakness.  They just see weakness as room for them to maneuver.  To get more of what they want.  By making us give up more of our vital national security interests.  And we’re seeing that play out in the Middle East.  One ally is out of power.  And an enemy expands their reach.  All the while working on a nuclear bomb.

It’s times like this you miss a Ronald Reagan.  Or a George W. Bush.  Or one of the other grownups we had in office.  Someone who isn’t naive and easily fooled.  Someone our enemies hated.  But respected.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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The Iranian Regime is bad for World Peace. An Iranian controlled Egypt is even Worse.

Posted by PITHOCRATES - January 29th, 2011

They Smile in your Face and then Sneak across the Border to Wreak Havoc

President Obama was a young senator with no executive experience.  And he had no foreign policy experience.  But he could talk to our enemies.  And make them like us.  Those same people who hate us with the fury of a white-hot blast oven.  Throw a couple of kind words in and an apology or two and, voilà, or our past bad blood is gone.  It was that simple.  Why any of the dunderheads who came before him couldn’t understand this was beyond him.  Then again, he is a super genius.  They weren’t.   So he would come in and save the day.  By saving the world (see Obama Doctrine is Failing in the Middle East by James Carafano posted 1/29/2011 on Heritage’s The Foundry).

Obama also bought into the false belief that improving relations between Palestine and Israel was the solution to “all problems” in the Middle East. That simplistic notion masks the serious challenges in the region—lack of healthy civil societies, a paucity of economic freedom, exploding demographic growth, endemic unemployment, environmental troubles, lurking Islamism, terrorism, and troublemaking from Iran. Much the enmity expressed against the West is more properly the product of homegrown problems. Yet, Obama has done little to address these issues other than try to solve them all with a single speech in Cairo.

So how has making nice to the Muslim world worked?  Has Palestine warmed up to Israel?  Have they warmed up to the Arab nations that have recognized Israel?  No.  Nothing has changed.  Apology Tour notwithstanding.  In fact, it looks like they have intensified their efforts (see Red Alert: Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood posted 1/29/2011 on STRATFOR).

The Egyptian police are no longer patrolling the Rafah border crossing into Gaza.  Hamas [which formed in Gaza as an outgrowth of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood (MB)] armed men are entering into Egypt and are closely collaborating with the MB. The MB has fully engaged itself in the demonstrations, and they are unsatisfied with the dismissal of the Cabinet. They are insisting on a new Cabinet that does not include members of the ruling National Democratic Party.

By trying to make nice appears to have emboldened our enemies.  Imagine that. 

Iran supports Hamas.  And both call for the destruction of Israel.  Now there’s unrest in Egypt.  And Israel’s enemy in the Gaza Strip (located between Israel and Egypt) may be moving unopposed across the border into Egypt.  And you can probably guess why they’re going there.  You want a hint?  They’re not going there to be nice.

Damn College Students, always Rioting without Thinking about Tomorrow

President Obama is asking President Mubarak to exercise restraint in dealing with the protesters.  To let democracy work.  The problem is it’s not really democracy at work.  What’s happening in Egypt is kind of like what happened in Iran.  Without the American hostages

There are forces at work to replace the ‘conservative’ Mubarak (he was clamping down on Islamic extremism as well as human rights) with Shari ‘a Law.  Like in Iran.  And like it was in Afghanistan.  And those protesting should be careful of what they ask for.  Because they may just get it.  If they think Mubarak’s regime was difficult to live under, they need to talk to those who have lived under the Taliban in Afghanistan.  Or those currently living in Iran.

And speaking of Iran (see Dutch ends Iran ties over hanging posted 1/30/2011 on Al Jazeera).

The Dutch government has frozen official contacts with Iran to protest the hanging of a Dutch-Iranian woman, the foreign ministry said… Bahrami had been jailed in Iran since December 2009 after protests against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s re-election. Protesters took to the streets, saying the vote was marred by fraud and that opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi was the rightful winner.

Rioting college students should pay attention to this.  Some of those students who overthrew the Shah of Iran were women.  Hoping for a better life with their college education.  Of course, after the Revolution, that’s about all they got from their college education.  Hope.  Because opportunities were now limited for second-class citizens.

Where have all the Cowboys Gone?

Things are not good in Egypt.  Or the greater Middle East region.  This could mark a watershed moment in history.  With Iranian influence in Egypt and Iranian control of the Suez Canal, life will change in most of the world.  Probably not for the good.  The shift in the balance of power could be so devastating that it could result in world war.  These are “the times that try men’s souls.”  And we look for a leader to get us through these perilous times. 

A George Washington.  An Abraham Lincoln.  A Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  A Harry S. Truman.  A Dwight D. Eisenhower.  A John F. Kennedy.  A Ronald Reagan.  A George H.W. Bush.  A George W. Bush.  Men hated by their enemies.  Men who pursued foreign policy with confidence.  Guts.   And without losing sight of the big picture.  The kind of leader that our enemies took seriously.  And the kind they respected.  Despite hating them.

That’s the kind of leader we need now.  Instead, we have an apologist.

www.PITHOCRATES.com

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