The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
As it now appears, the recent terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi was not an anomaly but rather the tip of a growing iceberg.
President Obama can continue to tout his elimination of Osama bin Laden, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq, and the scheduled pullout from Afghanistan while downplaying the significance of the Benghazi attack. But events in Mali and Algeria are drawing increasing attention to a growing and more elusive al Qaeda on the rise in certain parts of the world. The fight against al Qaeda is not even close to being over.
Those following the Mali/Algeria events were doubtless surprised to learn that early last year an al Qaeda offshoot had taken effective control of Northern Mali, known as the Maghreb, an area twice the size of Germany, and that last week’s events grew out of France’s efforts to stop the group from extending its control to other parts of the country.
When France, which controlled Mali during the colonial period, sent in military forces, the al Qaeda group engineered the kidnapping of nationals from ten countries – including the U.S., Britain, France, Austria, Japan and Malaysia – working at a natural gas plant in the Algerian desert.
The terrorist group, known as Al Qaeda in the Maghreb (AQIM) warned of more attacks of this kind if its attempt to take over Mali is further challenged.
Since the beginning of the Algerian hostage situation Islamists from across North Africa and the Middle East have rallied in support of AQIM. A Facebook message posted by an Egyptian Muslim organization calling the Western challenge to AQIM in Mali a “religious war against the Muslims…. We call upon all Muslims in Egypt and the world to stand on the side of their mujahideen brothers in northern Mali and support them with all they can….”
Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi had this to say about the French intervention in Mali to rout AQIM: “I would like to confirm that we do not agree, ever, to military intervention in Mali because this would inflame the conflict in this region. The intervention must be spent on development….”
Jaret Brachman, a government consultant on terrorism and director of a security-studies program at North Dakota State University, said the violence in Mali and Algeria has energized key figures in the Islamic community that see Mali as a primary battlefield, with AQIM in the lead. Mr. Brachman said that “Internet jihadists are demanding blood, urging one another to attack French embassies and companies, kidnap and kill French soldiers, and launch a wave of lone-wolf terror attacks inside of France.”
Congressman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, told CNN that events in Mali and Algeria show that the West faces the threat of virulent new al Qaeda efforts. In an interview with the Washington Post, Rep. Rogers characterized the attack on the energy plant in Algeria as a strategic victory for AQIM and likened it to the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in which the American ambassador and three other Americans were killed. “It shows that they can strike Western targets and gives them a confidence level.”
The so-called Arab Spring has contributed to the problem. As Robert Malley, the Middle East and North Africa director at the International Crisis Group, told The New York Times:
It’s one of the darker sides of the Arab uprisings. Their peaceful nature may have damaged Al Qaeda and its allies ideologically, but logistically, in terms of the new porousness of borders, the expansion of ungoverned areas, the proliferation of weapons, the disorganization of police and security services in all these countries – it’s been a real boon to jihadists.
Ironically, the late Moammar Khaddafi made a similar point when his overthrow was imminent, warning that if he fell, chaos and holy war would overtake North Africa. “Bin Laden’s people would come to impose ransoms by land and sea,” he said. “We will go back to the time of Redbeard, of pirates, of Ottomans imposing ransoms on boats.”
Sensing the brewing threat, British Prime Minister David Cameron, commenting on the events in Mali and Algeria, said that an extended and international response to terrorism was required: “This is a global threat, and it will require a global response. It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months.”
President Obama, unfortunately, still seems to believe his administration has essentially routed the international terror enterprise. The blinders need to come off, and quickly.
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For a peace treaty with the PA, half the Israeli public would agree to divide the Jerusalem
As for the president’s new, softer tone vis-à-vis Prime Minister Netanyahu and Israel, this is most likely being driven by the results of the recent Israeli election.
What especially appeals to us is his grand – some critics would say extravagant –view of what the borders of Israel should look like.
The establishment of Hebrew University was a cause much beloved to Einstein who in 1923, during what would be his only trip to Eretz Yisrael, delivered the university’s inaugural lecture on Har Hatzofim (Mt. Scopus) and, discussing the theory of relativity, spoke the first few sentences of his address in Hebrew.
The Golden Square wanted Germany to destroy the British and Jewish presence in their country. The Third Reich craved what was beneath the ground – oil.
Ida Nudel’s account of how the Soviets persecuted and punished her was far worse than imagined.
Swim4Sadna is an annual event benefiting Sadna, an integrative special-ed community in Gush Etzion
Prof. Wistrich, was THE foremost historian of anti-Semitism; committed spokesman & advocate of Jewry
Jewish Voices for Peace’s 2015 Haggadah is a blatant anti-Israel screed crying, “L’chayim to BDS!”
On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
There was something else of great importance in play – something we would have liked to see him take into account before deciding to stand with the boycotters.
Beyond the particulars of this tragic death, however, we should all be concerned about the possibility that a criminal prosecution in a major American city is being driven by fear of mobs in the street.
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
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