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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Al Qaida’

Family of Kidnapped Warren Weinstein Calls for Proof He Is Alive

Friday, January 3rd, 2014

The family of captive U.S. government contractor Warren Weinstein called for ”date-specific confirmation” that he is still alive.

In a statement released Thursday, the Weinstein family said a video distributed last week by al-Qaida in Pakistan does not prove that Weinstein is alive because there is no indication of when it was made.

Weinstein, 72, who has been held in Pakistan by al-Qaida for more than two years, in the video calls on President Obama to release al-Qaida terrorists in exchange for his release.

The video message featuring Weinstein, a former Peace Corps and USAID official, was sent to journalists and news services in Pakistan along with a link to a photo of a handwritten note. The testimonial letter is dated Oct. 3, 2013; it is not known when the video was filmed.

Weinstein, of Rockville, Md., was kidnapped in August 2011 outside Pakistan while he was working for J.E. Austin Associates, a private company that advises Pakistani businesses.

The United States has said it will not negotiate with al-Qaida, which the U.S. considers a terrorist organization.

“Warren Weinstein is a scholar and a humanitarian who has spent his entire career working to improve the lives of men, women and children around the world,” his family said in the statement. “Prior to his abduction, he spent seven years in Pakistan working to improve local communities through projects related to dairy production, farming and health care. To be captured and held against his will after a life spent helping others, especially in the sunset of his proud career, is unacceptable. We urge the global community to help us bring him home.”

The family praised U.S. Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.) for his efforts on behalf of Weinstein.

“We must be relentless in our efforts to bring him home and we must maintain a sense of outrage and determination,” Delaney said in a statement issued Thursday.

Explaining Everything in Washington in 600 Words (Really)

Tuesday, October 15th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“I had always thought wishful thinking a motive frequently underrated in political analysis and prediction.”  –WALTER LAQUEUR

If you have never understood U.S. Middle East policy  here it is: The  (wrong) response to September 11.
What do I mean? Simple.

There are two ways to respond to September 11:

A. There is a struggle on with revolutionary Islamists which is a huge battle that is parallel to the Cold War or the Allied-Axis conflict. America must organize a united front to fight this battle against the Islamists:

Sunnis or Shia; Turkish, Iranian, or Arab; the Muslim Brotherhood, Salafist, and al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah. And the Taliban.

B. Or, what appears easier, having a lot more allies and fewer enemies (I said seems) only to focus on al-Qaida. That’s the problem! After all, who else attacked the United States, Great Britain, Spain, and Kenya? Etc.? And anyway, the conflict is probably America’s fault or a lack of communication.

That’s it. Honest. And guess what? The Washington insiders, “experts” (anything but), officials, lots of intelligence (people and also John Brennan, the head of the CIA), a lot of military officers, and lots of sectors of the Republican party (especially Senator John McCain) believe this.

It is not healthy in Washington for one’s career not to believe it.

But after all, it is understandable (albeit also inaccurate and stupid).

Look at this point:

Who do you believe is an enemy who wants to fight and hurt America and the West?

A. The Syrian and Egyptian Muslim Brotherhoods, the Salafists, al-Qaida. Hamas, Hizballah, the Taliban, Iran, and Turkey.

B. Just al-Qaida?

See what I mean?

Think some more:

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists as allies?

Suppose we could get all these non-al-Qaida Islamists to repress al-Qaida and so stop terrorist attacks?

Wouldn’t that be an easier task? One that would theoretically involve costing fewer American lives, less money, and be more popular with voters?

Of course.

And finally, of course, that’s what the president and mass media believe.

The problem is, though, that gets the Islamist ideology wrong. Al-Qaida and the other revolutionary Islamist have different tactics but not different goals. Learning that lesson will take years and be very painful. The wrong ideas are deeply embedded in large parts of the arrogant, ignorant, and financially interested establishment.

You should understand that: It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is a terrorist group.

It is not acceptable in official Washington or its peripheral sectors to say that the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt, Syria, Hamas) is an anti-American group.

BUT  IT IS PERFECTLY ACCEPTABLE TO CLAIM THAT THE REPUBLICANS ARE TERRORISTS, HOSTAGE-TAKERS, AND ANTI-AMERICANS.
 
STRANGE, HUH?

Well, consider this from my mentor Walter Laqueur who is now in his 92nd year and still writing brilliantly:

“Another factor frequently overlooked is the reluctance to admit mistakes which also seems hardwired to the human brain.  Perhaps most important of all is the crucial factor of moving with the right crowd.  As Jean Daniel put it:  Better to be wrong with Sartre than right with Raymond Aron (originally it was Camus). Sartre might have been consistently wrong in his political judgment and Aron almost always right. But did it really matter very much?  Aron and Isaiah Berlin might have been right but during the cold war they were pro-American and this was not good at all– even if their American connections were mainly  with  liberals. This is how reputations quite often develop and how they endure. It is an interesting  issue certainly in need of further investigation.”

Hamas and Local Salafi Jihadist (Al Qaeda) Reconciling

Sunday, October 13th, 2013

Abu Abdullah Al-Maqdis, a leader in Gaza’s Jihadi Salafist movement, affiliated with Al Qaeda, told the Asharq Al-Awsat  website that Hamas and the Salafist have been working towards a reconciliation in Gaza.

Al-Maqdis said the two will begin implementing their agreement over the next few months.

According to the site:

“The 8-point agreement reportedly includes clauses granting the Salafists freedom to operate in politics, the military, religious advocacy, and civil and social organizations. It also includes an explicit end to the phenomenon of political assassinations and the formulation of a joint committee to deal with any disputes that could lead to new crisis between the two groups.

In return for this, the jihadist Salafist factions will commit to the ceasefire and other decisions made by the ruling Hamas movement.”

Foreign intermediaries who helped arrange for the agreement include Islamic clerics from Kuwait and Qatar, as well as the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, a popular Al Jazeera Islamic televangelist who has been barred entry from the UK and France.

Al-Qaradawi, who openly supports suicide bombings against Israel, is known for his quote stating that Muslims will continue Hitler’s work:

“Throughout history, Allah has imposed upon the Jews people who would punish them for their corruption…The last punishment was carried out by [Adolf] Hitler. By means of all the things he did to them – even though they exaggerated this issue – he managed to put them in their place. This was divine punishment for them…Allah Willing, the next time will be at the hand of the believers.”

With the fall of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Hamas has been reaching out to other Islamic regimes for support, including Turkey and Iran.

What Will Happen Now with US Middle East Policy?

Thursday, October 3rd, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Turkish Reader: Haven’t you understood yet that the US does not care about whether a Muslim country is ruled by Sharia [dictatorship] or by secular [democracy] law as long as that regime is pro-American? Isn’t this U.S. interests “über alles”?

Me: Yes I do care. First, no Islamist government is really going to be pro-American or pro-Western. Second, it won’t be good for that country’s people. Why should I feel differently to handing over Czechoslovakia to Nazi rule or Hungary to Communist rule than Turkey to Islamist rule?

Already there are starting to appear evaluations of what President Barack Obama’s second term will be like. I think that even though the Obama Administration doesn’t know or have a blueprint it is clear and consistent what the Middle East policy would be. It is a coherent program though as I say it is not necessarily fully or consciously thought out. The plan would be for a comprehensive solution which will leave the Middle East situation as a successful legacy of the Obama Administration.

There are three main themes of this plan, though as I say I’m not sure it has really taken shape. By 2016 they will all fail, and leave the West weaker.

The first is with Iran policy. The goal would be to “solve” the nuclear weapons’ issue by making a deal with Iran. One thing that is possible is that the Iranians just deceitfully build nuclear arms. The other that the will go up to the point when they can get nuclear weapons very quickly and then stop for a while. Probably either result will be hailed as a brilliant diplomatic victory for Obama.

This is how the nuclear deal is interpreted by Iran, in a dispatch from Fars new agency: “It seems that the Americans have understood this fact that Iran is a powerful and stable country in the region which uses logical and wise methods in confrontation with its enemies.” In other words America is an enemy of Iran that has backed down.

One thing Iran might get in a deal for “giving up”"its nuclear ambitions would be something in Syria perhaps. It would probably look like this. It is possible that this deal would be in the shape of an unofficial partition of Syria, with the Bashar Assad regime surviving in 40 percent of the country including Aleppo and Damascus; another 40 percent would be controlled by a U.S.-backed rebels, mainly Muslim Brotherhood; and 20 percent would be a Kurdish autonomous area. I want to stress that I don’t believe that this would work and would in fact be the object of another Iranian stalling technique.and effort to gain total victory..

Iran wants primacy at least in the Shia world – meaning Iraq, Lebanon and Syria. It would just require Iranian patience if Iran is willing to devote extensive resources to this enterprise until it could seize the whole country. The U.S. probably won’t provide ground troops, which is understandable. And would the U.S. provide military and economic aid to an al-Qaida-Salafi-Muslim Brotherhood regime? At any rate the Iranians would either develop nuclear weapons or simply get to the point where they could if they wanted to and then stop, knowing that they could so at any time. Of course, this would relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.

And if a nuclear deal with Iran doesn’t materialize you can tell who will be blamed by an article named, “A Nuclear Deal With Iran Is Within Reach, If Congress Plays Its Part,”" in the prestigious magazine, Roll Call.

The second theme would be an illusion that it would be possible to resolve the Israel-Palestinian conflict as a two-state solution but actually moving toward the Palestinian real goal which is an Arab Palestine. Period. Regarding this issue it is probably that both sides would stall. Only Secretary of State John Kerry believes otherwise.

The Israeli side would mount a strategic retreat by gradual concessions hoping that the Obama Administration would end before too much damage was done. It is clear, for example, that prisoner releases, the granting of economic benefits and the entry of more laborers would be among the concessions given.Of course, this would also relatively ignore Israel’s security needs.

Al Qaida Dominates Much of Syria

Monday, September 16th, 2013

Al Qaida, despite an offensive by the regime of President Bashar Assad, has been expanding throughout Syria, a report said.

A U.S. think tank asserted that Al Qaida militias were dominating large areas of Syria and providing services to the majority Sunni community. The Bipartisan Policy Center cited the Nusra Front for the Defense of the Levant, deemed the most active rebel militia in the war on the Assad regime.

“This is something of a first for an Al Qaida affiliate; developing a Mao-like population centric approach to implementing a successful insurgency,” the report, titled “Jihadist Terrorism: A Threat Assessment.” said. The report said the Syrian war could revive Al Qaida throughout the Middle East. Nusra, financed by Gulf sheiks, was said to have been providing social services to Sunnis in central and northern Syria.

“It is too soon to predict the long-term threat posed by Al Qaida and allied groups as the movement is undergoing a transition that may end up proving to be its last gasp,” the report, released on Sept. 9, said. “But the right set of circumstances in the unstable Middle East could also revive the network.”

The report warned that any U.S. effort to arm Sunni rebels could help Nusra and other Al Qaida militias in Syria. One scenario was that these militias would seize heavy weapons supplied by U.S. allies.

Another scenario was that Nusra would infiltrate pro-Western rebel militias and establish a presence in the United States. The report said this could facilitate any Al Qaida attack against an American city.

“The continued attempts and successes by foreign militant groups to establish support networks in the United States pose a potential future threat, as individuals sending funds to terrorist groups abroad could conceivably be directed to conduct attacks domestically, while American citizens fighting abroad may return to commit terrorism inside the United States,” the report said.

Visit Behind the News in Israel.

Top Al Qaeda Operative Left Blueprint to Govern Entire Muslim World

Monday, August 19th, 2013

You can avoid reality, but you cannot avoid the consequences of avoiding reality. A is A. And the global jihad is the global jihad.

“Yemen terror boss left blueprint for waging jihad” Times of Israel, August 18, 2013 Document provides assessment of al-Qaeda’s performance in Yemen, indicates it seeks to govern throughout the Muslim world

TIMBUKTU, Mali (AP) — A year before he was caught on an intercept discussing the terror plot that prompted this week’s sweeping closure of US embassies abroad, al-Qaida’s top operative in Yemen laid out his blueprint for how to wage jihad in letters sent to a fellow terrorist.

In what reads like a lesson plan, Nasser al-Wahishi provides a step-by-step assessment of what worked and what didn’t in Yemen. But in the never-before-seen correspondence, the man at the center of the latest terror threat barely mentions the extremist methods that have transformed his organization into al-Qaida’s most dangerous branch.

Instead, he urges his counterpart in Africa whose fighters had recently seized northern Mali to make sure the people in the areas they control have electricity and running water. He also offers tips for making garbage collection more efficient.

“Try to win them over through the conveniences of life,” he writes. “It will make them sympathize with us and make them feel that their fate is tied to ours.”

The perhaps surprising hearts-and-minds approach advocated by the 30-something Wahishi, who spent years as Osama bin Laden’s personal secretary, is a sign of a broader shift within al-Qaida. After its failure in Iraq, say experts who were shown the correspondence, the terror network realized that it is not enough to win territory: They must also learn to govern it if they hope to hold it.

“People in the West view al-Qaida as only a terrorist organization, and it certainly is that … but the group itself is much broader, and it is doing much more,” says Gregory Johnsen, a scholar at Princeton University whose book, “The Last Refuge,” charts the rise of al-Qaida in Yemen. “The group sees itself as an organization that can be a government.”

The correspondence from al-Wahishi to Algerian national Abdelmalek Droukdel is part of a cache of documents found earlier this year by the AP in buildings in Timbuktu, which until January were occupied by al-Qaida’s North African branch. The letters are dated May 21 and Aug. 6, 2012, soon after al-Wahishi’s army in Yemen was forced to retreat from the territory it had seized amid an uprising against long-time Yemeni ruler Ali Abdullah Saleh.

At the time, the terror network as a whole was trying to come to grips with its losses in Iraq, where people rose up against the brutal punishments meted out by al-Qaida’s local affiliate, a revolt which allowed US forces to regain the territory they had occupied. That failure which was front and center in how al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula went about governing the two provinces it held for 16 months on Yemen’s southern coast, including the region where al-Wahishi was born, says Robin Simcox, research fellow at the Henry Jackson Society, author of a study chronicling the group’s attempt at governance.

In the May letter, al-Wahishi warns his counterpart not to crack down too quickly or too harshly.

“You have to be kind,” he writes. “You can’t beat people for drinking alcohol when they don’t even know the basics of how to pray. … Try to avoid enforcing Islamic punishments as much as possible, unless you are forced to do so. … We used this approach with the people and came away with good results.”

Al-Qaida’s foray into governance in Yemen began on the morning of Feb. 28, 2011, when residents of the locality of Jaar woke up to find an ominous black flag flying over their town. Fearing the worst, the population was mystified to discover that their extremist occupiers appeared more interested in public works projects, than in waging war.

“There were around 200 of them. They were wearing Afghan clothes, black robes that go to the knees, with a belt,” said Nabil Al-Amoudi, a lawyer from Jaar. “They started extending water mains. … They installed their own pipes. They succeeded in bringing electricity to areas that had not had power before.”

Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood

Sunday, August 18th, 2013

It’s very difficult to ignore what is going on in Egypt. Daily news coverage of the army slaughtering fellow Egyptians easily engenders sympathy for the victims. One can easily conclude that we are witnessing the actions of a vicious military crushing its unarmed protesting population. Indeed the world community including the United States has been condemning the army for that.

Those daily images of the bloody carnage will generate the same attitude in most people. It is difficult to see dead bodies lined up in makeshift morgues, severely wounded bloody victims, and wives and mothers who cry out in pain at the loss of a husband or child.

It is easy to sympathize with them. The reportage is extremely sympathetic to the underdog victims. But as always the case with media reports – rarely do they see context. It’s always about the underdog. In this case the underdog is the Muslim Brotherhood.

Let us take a moment and look at some historical and religious context.

Egypt’s former dictator, President Hosni Mubarak, was ousted from office after a popular uprising by Egyptian citizens . Democracy was their cry. They had apparently had enough of Mubarak. But he fought back. People were killed. Mubarak was eventually overthrown by his own military and arrested. After a brief military rule elections were held and Musilm Brotherhood candidate Muhamed Morsi was (somewhat surprisingly to me) elected by a majority of Egyptian voters.

Mosri pushed through a new constitution that was largely based on Islamic law. In the meantime Egypt’s economy collapsed and is in shambles. People started protesting again. The Egyptian military once again stepped in and quickly removed Morsi from office.

Hundreds of thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members were outraged seeing themselves robbed of their freely elected leader. They started protesting in huge numbers. The army fought back with live ammunition. The result is what we are now witnessing in the daily news coverage.

The US has wisely not reduced it financial support of Egypt. But it has not been shy about criticizing the Egyptian military’s lethal tactics in trying to suppress Brotherhood protests.

How are we to see what is going on there? How does what is going on in Egypt affect us, the Jewish people? Whose side should we be on… if any?

I think the first thing we have to do is look at what the Egyptian army is really fighting. They are fighting a movement that is extremely anti Semitic as a part of its religious theology. They believe that Israel is a gang, not a country and they will fight it until they destroy it.

The Muslim Brotherhood honors Osama Bin Ladin and condemned his assassination by the United States. Ayman Al Zawahiri the current head of Al Qaida is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood.

The Muslim Brotherhood denies the Holocaust while praising Islamic Jihad and martyrdom. They condemn the peace treaty with Israel and they consistently call for the destruction of Israel. In addition, their Arabic website alleges that Jews have created evil in the world throughout history.

It is therefore my view that it does not serve Israel or US interests to support the Muslim Brotherhood – even though the Egyptian military tactic is brutal.

No one supports man’s inhumanity to man which is what it seems like the Egyptian military is doing. But as Chazal tell us – when one is kind to the cruel, they will end up being cruel to the kind. To peace loving democracies like the United States and Israel and to most other Western countries, the Brotherhood should be seen in the same light as Hamas, Hezbollah, and any other Islamist Jihadist group. They should be seen as determined to prevail at all cost. Including at the cost of innocent lives as anyone who lost a loved one on 9/11 can tell you.

What about the Egyptian military? They reflect the will of secular Egypt and have their support. But there is no love lost between Egypt’s secular population and Israel. As Muslims – they are in theory just as opposed to the Jewish State as the Muslim Brotherhood. But they are not in favor of hostilities with the Jewish State and are probably more willing to stand by the peace treaty with Israel as a means of achieving stability in the region. Secular Egyptians are more interested in improving their lives materially and having a government that responds to their needs. Israel’s legitimacy is in their minds a back burner issue for now.

What about the current carnage of Brotherhood members? I’m sorry. I don’t have too much sympathy for religious fanatics whose ultimate goal is to destroy the Jewish State and kill Jews… a movement that has spawned the likes Ayman Zawahiri.

They look like innocent victims in the eye of the camera. They portray themselves as devout Muslims whose only goal is to restore their Islamist leader and live religious lives. And they seem to be systematically slaughtered for simply expressing their protest in large numbers. But that is far from the complete picture – to say the least.

In my view the United States should take a ‘hands off’ approach. Let the Egyptian people fight it out. Let nature take its course. The Egyptian military should not be hampered. Financial aid should not be withheld since it helps ensure the continuance of the peace treaty. The Muslim Brotherhood must be defeated. If we allow them to succeed, we allow religious extremism to succeed and increase. And that is the last thing the world needs right now.

I wonder how many secular Egyptians miss Mubarak right about now? He may have been corrupt. But Egypt was a lot better off when he was around. And the Middle East was a lot more stable. The democracy that was hoped for by the west after he was deposed – never happened. Democracy is not only about having a free election. It is about including free and democratic principles that do not force religious law upon all its citizens. That’s what happened with Morsi. And that is why I’m glad he’s gone.

A word about fighting terrorism as perpetrated by the above-mentioned movements .The world should once and for all realize that what they are really fighting is not terrorism but an ideology. I don’t think they do. This is not about supporting a poor underdog… or a brutal military bent on destroying innocent people. This is a holy war initiated by a militant and fanatic religion that loves death more than we love life. How do you fight an idea? I don’t know. But the more the world realizes this fact, the better prepared they will be to deal with it.

Visit Emes Ve-Emunah .

The West’s New Syrian War

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

One day people will ask how the United States and several European countries became involved in mass killings, genocide, corruption, arms smuggling, and the creation of another anti-Western and regionally destabilizing government. Even if a single Western soldier is never sent, the West is on the verge of serious intervention in Syria. The choices are unpalatable and decisions are very tough to make but it appears to be still another in a long history of Western leaps in the dark, not based on a real consideration of the consequences.

At least people should be more aware of the dangers. As I entitled a previous book on Iran (Paved with Good Intentions), the road to Hell is paved with good intentions. People are dying and suffering in Syria. That’s true. But will this make more people or fewer people die and suffer?

So now we are seeing the trial balloons rise. As the Bashar al-Assad regime proves to be holding on—but not recapturing the country or winning the war—the West is panicked into sending aid to the rebels.  In fact, the government is merely holding the northwest area (where the ruling Alawite group lives), the region along the Lebanese border (with Hizbollah’s help), Damascus (where the best troops are based and there is a favorable strategic situation in the army holding the high ground), and part of Aleppo. It seems that U.S. decision makers are panicking over these relatively small gains. If the Syrian army plus Hizbollah tries to advance too far it will stretch its resources then and face a successful rebel counteroffensive.

Understandably, the opposition is demanding arms. If the opposition did not consist mostly of al-Qaida, the Salafists, and the Muslim Brotherhood, that would be a good idea perhaps. But since the opposition is overwhelmingly radical—even the official “moderate” opposition politicians are mostly Muslim Brotherhood—this is a tragedy in which the West does not have a great incentive to say “yes.”

President Barack Obama is said to be close to sending weapons to carefully chosen rebel units who are moderates. Now, pay close attention here. The Western options for giving assistance are:

The Syrian Islamic Liberation Front. This is Muslim Brotherhood type people including, most importantly, the Farouk Brigades from the Homs area and Aleppo’s Tawhid Brigade. Around 50-60,000 fighters in total who are autonomous.

Do you want to give arms to them? Weapons that might soon end up in the hands of (other) terrorists? Weapons to be turned against not only Israel, but Jordan, Saudi Arabia, U.S. diplomats, and who knows who else?

Or perhaps you like the Syrian Islamic Front (SIF), an alliance of more hardline Islamist forces, including Ahrar al-Sham from the north.  Ahrar al-Sham is probably around 15,000 fighters. The SIF as a whole probably around 25,000.   These people are Salafists meaning that the Brotherhood is too moderate for them. They are the kind of people who attack churches in Egypt, who want to wage jihad alongside Hamas, and so on.

Do you want to arm them so they can establish another Sharia state?

How about Jabhat al-Nusra, the al-Qaeda franchise with around 6,000 fighters and reportedly the fastest growing militia.

Want to give guns to those who committed the September 11, 2001, attacks and the Benghazi attack? Of course not! You want the Free Syrian Army (FSA), headed by the untested General Salim Idris, who Senator John McCain met with. Now those are moderates who, after all, are just led by former officers in the repressive, historically anti-American Syrian army. And the FSA is just not a serious factor in military terms.

The West will say it supports the FSA; the FSA will be pushed aside by an Islamist regime if it wins, its Western-supplied weapons seized even during the course of the war. Moderates–even if we define radical Arab nationalists as moderates–don’t have the troops on the ground. It’s too late to organize and train a moderate force now. That should have been done two years ago.

On the political level, U.S. pressure failed to force the Muslim Brotherhood-dominated exile leadership to add the real political moderates! Even as financial aid is being (temporarily?) withheld the “official” opposition won’t expand its base. How about withholding all money and aid until they yield or choosing a new official leadership?  If the United States can’t stop–or doesn’t want to–the Brotherhood from dominating an exile leadership how is it ever going to do after a victory in the civil war?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/the-wests-new-syrian-war/2013/06/11/

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