web analytics
September 21, 2014 / 26 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘bush’

Settlements Won’t Harm US-Israel Relationship

Saturday, December 29th, 2012

Many have expressed concern over the U.S. strong opposition to Jewish construction in Jerusalem and in Judea and Samaria. I think the time has come to release ourselves from such simplistic conceptions that insult American intelligence. Most American legislators and policy makers understand that the strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. does not hinge on the Palestinian issue nor on the settlement issue not even on the overall conflict between Israel and the Arab nations. Rather, it is based on mutual and common interests in the Middle East and the world over such as Iran’s nuclear threat,counter- terrorism, missile defense, intelligence-sharing, battle tactics, defense and commercial industrial research, where Israel has a competitive edge over any other country in the world.

In the past two years, anyone who has been witnessing the rise of the Islamic tide on the Arab street recognizes there is no ally in the Middle East or the world over trustworthy and stable, capable, democratic and pro-American unconditionally as Israel. That is the reason the strategic cooperation between Israel and the U.S. increases despite the differences on – what the U.S. considers secondary issues – like the settlements, the Palestinian problem or even the Arab-Israel conflict.

Israel’s relationship with the U.S. flourishes regardless of who is the President or Prime Minister and whether there is chemistry between them. When my late father, Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, was in office, neither Ronald Reagan nor George Bush agreed with his ideology and even threatened to cut off aid to Israel over the settlements issue. Yet during my father’s tenure US-Israel relations were strengthened in an unprecedented manner. They both knew that even if there was no chemistry, you could rely on Shamir when the chips were down. The US knows that Israel is a unique beachhead, of the Western democracies, that must be strengthened and fortified. They don’t view us as beggars but as a very valuable asset – the relationship between Israel and the US is not one – but a two way – street.

Former US Secretary of State Alexander Haig once described Israel as the biggest American aircraft carrier in the world without having to send even one American soldier, one that you cannot sink and is critical to American economic and military interests. If there were no Israel America would have send aircraft carriers with thousands of troops that would cost the US taxpayers billions of dollars. Israel saves the US all that money and work.

Some have also voiced concern over President Barack Obama’s nomination of John Kerry as Secretary of State who is known for his fierce opposition to settlements and views it as the primary obstacle to peace. Many are liable to feel that his nomination will deter Israel from implementing its decision to build thousands of apartments in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria and will be viewed as an obstacle to Israel-US relations.

I trust that the new Israeli government after Jan. 22 will not be deterred and will implement the settlement drive as it decided. The claim that only Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria prejudges the outcome of negotiations is not true. Palestinian construction in Judea and Samaria – which is dramatically larger than Jewish construction there – presents facts on the ground, just as is Jewish construction.

Western tendency to single out Jewish construction in Judea and Samaria – while ignoring Palestinian construction –prejudges the outcome of negotiations! Israel’s government razes illegal Jewish homes in Judea and Samaria. Israel should, also, raze the 1,100 illegal Arab homes built annually in Jerusalem and the thousands of illegal Arab homes in Judea and Samaria.

One must realize that our problem (and that of the US) is not with the Palestinians but with the entire Arab world. First we have to try and end the conflict with the Arab League. Once we succeed in reaching an agreement with it, they will order the Palestinian leadership to concede and they will follow suit. But if no agreement is reached with the Arab world, a peace agreement with the Palestinians alone is unattainable. To adopt a simplistic approach that peace can be reached via an agreement with the Palestinians alone is not realistic.

The Schoolmarms Tell the Terrorists to Play Nice

Friday, December 28th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“You’ve been with the professors
And they’ve all liked your looks
With great lawyers you have
Discussed lepers and crooks….
You’re very well read
It’s well known
Yet something is happening here
But you don’t know what it is
Do you, Mister Jones?
–Bob Dylan, “Ballad of a Thin Man”

The entertainment director on the ship of fools that constitutes so much mainstream analysis of the Middle East—I refer, of course, to Thomas Friedman—has produced a wonderful paragraph that beautifully characterizes the problem, exquisitely expressing a Western mentality that not only makes it impossible to understand the Middle East but even to set up the question in a way people that could help people even begin to confront the truth. So perhaps it is worth disassembling. Sound like fun? Let’s go!

The paragraph is from an article entitled, “Egypt – The next India or the next Pakistan?” And that’s the first problem. Analogies are no substitute to understanding the specific reality of a country and culture, its history and balance of forces that shape the local political culture. You don’t understand Egypt by comparing it to India or Pakistan—very different places indeed—but by examining Egypt itself.

Let me first quote the entire paragraph and then deal with it a bit at a time. Here’s the whole thing:

“Yes, democracy matters. But the ruling Muslim Brotherhood needs to understand that democracy is so much more than just winning an election. It is nurturing a culture of inclusion, and of peaceful dialogue, where respect for leaders is earned by surprising opponents with compromises rather than dictates….More than anything, Egypt now needs to develop that kind of culture of dialogue, of peaceful and respectful arguing — it was totally suppressed under Mubarak — rather than rock-throwing, boycotting, conspiracy-mongering and waiting for America to denounce one side or the other, which has characterized too much of the postrevolutionary political scene. Elections without that culture are like a computer without software. It just doesn’t work.”

I will now go a sentence at a time.

“Yes, democracy matters.” It is strangely ironic that suddenly democracy has become the main issue shaping the American debate over the Middle East. When President Jimmy Carter in 1978 called for democracy in the Shah’s Iran that call might have played some role in setting off a revolution that didn’t turn out too well. After a hiatus—due in part to that debacle—the democracy issue returned under President George W. Bush. The people who pushed that idea became known as “neoconservatives” and were absolutely loathed, even demonized, by liberals and the Left.

Now this idea that democracy would solve the region’s problems was indeed a bad one, having failed in Iran, been (perhaps unfairly) ridiculed in Iraq, and become a deadly joke in Afghanistan. Yet suddenly the Left adapted the conception of the man they most hated in the world! And nobody in the mainstream debate even remarked on that rather obvious point! Thus, we get the Obama policy based on a Bush idea. Except while Bush’s approach worked acceptably in Iraq because the extremists were defeated militarily, Obama’s approach helped put the radicals into power in Egypt and will soon do so in Syria.

One would think Friedman would continue by explaining that strategic interests are more important for U.S. policy than formal democracy. Nope. Instead, he assumes that democracy is or should be everyone’s goal:

“But the ruling Muslim Brotherhood needs to understand that democracy is so much more than just winning an election.”

Whenever an article or editorial contains the words “needs to understand” you know that’s trouble. For one thing this phrase often means that some Western pipsqueak whose most strenuous activity is hailing a taxi is lecturing men ready to commit mass murder and crush their opponents under a hobnailed boot. By the way, the Muslim Brotherhood is unlikely to heed the advice and will be no worse off for doing so.

Yet this also raises another intriguing issue: Why “must” they do so? Suppose staying in power, establishing a dictatorship, and chopping off various body parts of those who don’t live the way they decree is their goal? Suppose they already know that “democracy is so much more than just wining an election” but couldn’t care less? And what will the columnist, op-ed writer, or editorial scribe do to them if the Muslim Brotherhood doesn’t heed his advice? Experience shows these people won’t even use mean words in response. What a joke.

Doesn’t Friedman know that Obama’s hero and guru, Turkish Prime Minister Mehdi Erdogan, has said that democracy is like a streetcar and you just have to decide where you want to get off? Hint: You get off as soon as possible after you’ve won the election.

“It [democracy] is nurturing a culture of inclusion, and of peaceful dialogue, where respect for leaders is earned by surprising opponents with compromises rather than dictates.”

At this point I must tell a story I once heard from a former member of a motorcycle gang, though I cannot attest to whether or not it actually happened. There was a really dangerous criminal motorcycle gang (it made Hell’s Angels look like Obama’s Ostriches) and the local police decided something must be done. They picked a young policeman to infiltrate the gang and dressed him accordingly.

The undercover cop met the gang and tried to join. Suspicious, they asked him a question: What is the meaning of these ribbons we wear? The symbolism involved various kinds of murder, rape, and various acts I won’t describe for a family audience but each one had a very specific significance. Unfortunately, the policeman hadn’t been briefed on this and after a long pause he answered, “I thought they were just decorations.” I won’t describe his fate.

That is sort of like Friedman and various others thinking they can teach revolutionaries willing to commit genocide how to play nice. They don’t understand the significance of what these radicals say and do. Indeed, they don’t understand that what they say–especially in Arabic–is significant at all.

These tough guys aren’t interested in inclusion, political dialogue, or “surprising” opponents by giving them presents under their tree. No. They are interested in seizing state power and exercising total power. They are ready to order others to martyrdom and in some cases to be martyrs themselves. They are ready to deliberately and coolly order what happened in that Connecticut elementary school many times over. The only limitation on that behavior is a consideration of whether or not it will help their cause.

They don’t care whether the New York Times or some other American newspaper they don’t read is going to scold them. In fact, if they do know what’s in this mass media they understand that no matter what they do they are more likely to have it explained away more than criticized.

Shouldn’t we recognize that reality rather than lecture them on playground comportment?

“More than anything, Egypt now needs to develop that kind of culture of dialogue, of peaceful and respectful arguing — it was totally suppressed under Mubarak — rather than rock-throwing, boycotting, conspiracy-mongering and waiting for America to denounce one side or the other, which has characterized too much of the post-revolutionary political scene.”

Why does Egypt “need” that? One might argue that it needs such a system to be most effective at being a truly democratic society whose supposed top priority at home is increasing living standards and abroad is living in peace with its neighbors. The full answer to that question lies beyond my space limits but briefly: that might not work in Egypt; the people who think it would work lose all of the elections; if you try to implement such a system you are far more likely to be overthrown or face chaos.

Suppose you have no way to solve your country’s social and economic problems. It then makes more sense to stir up passionate hatred of “the other”; distract attention from your own failings by blaming foreigners for the problems; and engage in aggression abroad so the masses can blow off steam and get some loot. Ironically, this is the kind of thing that Western radicals claim leaders of their own countries have done. It is amazing that they never seem to notice this is how Arab dictators have repeatedly felt a “need” to do in the past.

Also, whatever Mubarak’s shortcomings, there was a lot more dialogue and peaceful arguing under his reign then in any Islamist state or in Syria and Iraq under radical nationalist regimes. This line of argument that is all too familiar from the left in assuming that pro-American dictators are more brutally repressive than anti-American dictators. Usually, the truth is the opposite.

And then at the end, Friedman admits that the post-revolutionary political scene has not been so great. Should this have been a surprise or wasn’t it painfully obvious back in January 2011 what was going to happen? It was obvious to me and a few others but scarcely anyone in the mainstream media pointed out the consequences. And those who dared to be right are practically blacklisted from those places despite having been correct.

The main Western accomplishment of the last two years has been to move from step one to step two in the mainstream interpretation of what’s going on in the Middle East:

Step one: The Islamists will be moderated by gaining power through elections.

Step two: The Islamists should make themselves become moderate after gaining power through elections because they need to do so.

What is needed is an altogether different approach:

Extremist revolutionaries whose goal is to set up regimes that are supposedly implementing the will of Allah—a will no human can question or alter—and who loathe the West, despise Christians, and want to commit genocide on Jews are not going to be moderated. Nor are they going to follow Western instructions on how they should behave. Nor is democracy their ideal, since they don’t believe at all in governance on the basis of the majority unless the majority agrees with them.

These points are all rather obvious, aren’t they? Yet what we have seen for the last two years is not an attempt to understand these realities but rather a series of obfuscations and rationalizations designed to shore up a mythical world that is increasingly diverging from the situation on the ground.

Lewis Carroll wrote the following dialogue for “Alice in Wonderland”:

Alice: “Do you think I’ve gone round the bend?”
Charles: “I’m afraid so. You’re mad, bonkers, completely off your head. But I’ll tell you a secret. All the best people are.”

The problem nowadays is that an insane interpretation of international affairs seems to be a quality defining who “the best people are.” A man has just been appointed secretary of state for exhibiting a particularly virulent case of this malady.

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

State Says Terrorists Can’t Use Social Media – and You Can Help

Wednesday, December 12th, 2012

The Office of the State Dept. Spokesperson responded to a question as to whether or not U.S. based social media companies, such as Facebook, violate sanctions if Foreign Terrorists Organizations (FTOs) agree to their company’s contractual agreement before establishing an account.

We received the question by email, along with the DOS answer.

The answer: “This is an issue governed by U.S. law, including laws that regulate interactions with designated entities. For example, persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction are prohibited from knowingly providing material support or resources to an entity that has been designated as Foreign Terrorist Organizations under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act.

“Additionally, it is illegal for persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction to engage in transactions with an entity that has been designated a Specially Designated Global Terrorist under Executive Order 13224.”

President Bush signed Executive Order 13224 on September 23, 2001. Executive Order 13224 gives the U.S. Government a powerful tool to impede terrorist funding and is part of our national commitment to lead the international effort to bring a halt to the evil of terrorist activity.

The assortment of Specially Designated Nationals List (SDN) lists is ginormous, but to make matters short, download the Complete Specially Designated Nationals List (in PDF format) and just find the first “Abu” (Abu Marzook, a Hamas official, in this case) and proceed from there to search for each name on, say, Facebook. Any active Facebook page run under one of the names on the U.S. ginormous list is grounds for a complaint with the operator and the Dept. of Homeland Security.

There’s a text only version as well.

There’s also SDN Search, an online application to search the SDN list.

Something nice to do with your free time on Chanukah.

Back to the Future: A Political Excursion

Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

An incumbent American president who is perceived by many to be indifferent or even hostile to Israel, who makes opposition to Israeli settlements a centerpiece of his Mideast policy, and who seems to share a mutual dislike with the Israeli prime minister faces a tough reelection challenge from an opponent vowing to heal the breach.

The year was 1992. The president was George Herbert Walker Bush, his challenger was William Jefferson Clinton, the Israeli prime minister was Yitzhak Shamir – and while the scenario sketched above bears a marked resemblance to the one we’re living through twenty years later, there is one crucial difference.

* * * * *

As a prep-school student at Phillips Andover, George Bush rescued a Jewish boy named Bruce Gelb from the grip of a bully. (Decades later, Gelb, whose father had founded Clairol, became an important financial contributor to Bush’s political campaigns). As a collegian at Yale, Bush voted for Jews to be allowed into the exclu­sive Skull and Bones Society.

As vice president of the United States, Bush coordi­nated America’s role in the exodus of Falasha Jews from Ethiopia. And as president, Bush had his administration work for Jewish interests on several fronts – as when it helped facilitate the emigration to Israel of hundreds of thousands of Russian Jews; played a crucial role in the rescue of a second wave of Falashas; and strong-armed the United Nations into rescinding the infamous 1975 resolu­tion that equated Zionism with racism.

From everything that is known about him, there is no reason to believe, as some recklessly charged, that George H.W. Bush was or is an anti-Semite. Yet he is fated to be remembered – and deservedly so – as one of the two or three American presidents least friendly to Isra­el.

By most accounts at least some of the blame for the deterioration in U.S.-Israel relations during the Bush years belongs to then-Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir – not due to any out-and-out duplicity on Shamir’s part but simply because of his cryptic, tight-lipped demeanor. A former Mossad agent, secretive by nature and not given to false diplomatic pieties, Shamir tended to make short, concise statements that were often open to interpretation.

The tone was set in April 1989, when Shamir had his first meeting with Bush. The president, expressing his concern that the continued building of Jewish settlements on the West Bank would take away any Arab incentive to negotiate, suggested in rather strong terms that Israel stop the construction at once. “It won’t be a problem,” Shamir told Bush.

But U.S. officials soon learned from satellite surveillance that no halt had been ordered. Bush, who had chosen to interpret Shamir’s response as a promise to put an imme­diate stop to new settlements, was described by aides as beside himself with anger, convinced that Shamir had played him for a fool.

“For Bush and Shamir, it was a case of hate at first sight,” wrote Dan Raviv and Yossi Melman in Friends in Deed, their anecdote-rich account of the American-Israeli alli­ance. “Never in the history of relations between the two countries was there such antipathy – true emotional dis­like – between the heads of government. Even between Eisenhower and Ben-Gurion things were not so bad.”

Bush did make an effort to find some common ground with Shamir. As journalists Michael Duffy and Dan Goodgame reported in Running in Place, a critical account of the Bush administration, Bush repeatedly asked his aides, “How can I get through to this guy?”

The president, wrote Duffy and Goodgame, “pressed assistants for information about Shamir’s hobbies and favorite sports but was told that Shamir had no real inter­ests outside his work and family. Bush tried to bridge the gap by taking Shamir to see a movie at the Air and Space Museum in Washington.”

The movie was a nice touch, but it hardly brought Bush and Shamir closer. The U.S.-Israel relationship was in real trouble because, as Raviv and Melman put it, while Ronald Reagan had always thought the best of Israel, Bush had now come to believe the worst.

* * * * *

By birth a member of the old WASP elite and by occupation (prior to his political career) a Texas oil man necessarily sensitive to Arab concerns, Bush in his feelings toward Israel never came close to the sympathetic under­standing of Lyndon Johnson or the pragmatic admiration of Richard Nixon, not to mention the gut-felt connection exhibited by Reagan and by Bush’s son and namesake during his own presidency years later.

Twenty-Eight Years Later, it’s Finally 1984

Tuesday, September 25th, 2012

In 1975, there were political billboards around America proclaiming portentously that 1984 was only nine years away.  The reference, of course, was to George Orwell’s Nineteen-Eighty-Four, the novel of a collectivized, indoctrinated human future, which high-school students had been reading since it was published in 1949.

The year 1984, by Gregorian reckoning, came and went, and Americans seemed to have dodged the Nineteen-Eighty-Four bullet.  We weren’t being interned for reeducation by a Ministry of Love.  Although conservative, constitutionalist, limited-government ideas came under relentless attack in the mainstream media and the academy, those who expressed the ideas remained free to do so.  (They in fact became freer with the lifting under Reagan of the genuinely Orwellian-named “Fairness Doctrine.”)

The MSM built narratives about the reprehensible heartlessness, hypocrisy, and stupidity of conservatives, Republicans, and Christians, but we remained largely free to live and work as we chose.  Reagan was reelected in 1984, and George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush were elected in the years since.  Republicans might have imposed unnecessary constraints on themselves – e.g., the party leadership unaccountably believing, against the evidence, that Republican candidates need to tack left to attract votes – but for the most part, the GOP continued to have a fair shot at the ballot box.

In 2012, the atmosphere has changed.  The sacredness of our right to free expression – religious, political, artistic – is not necessarily given priority by either our federal government or the MSM.  Dissent is treated as a pestilence, or worse (e.g., global-warming skeptics being compared to Holocaust deniers).  Media and political figures cater nakedly to political narratives, no matter how many times truth bites them in the backside.  They simply ignore the truth – often while being faced directly with it on live TV – focused instead on faithfully repeating the narratives launched from the Obama White House, as well as on nurturing narratives of their own.

Thus, when multiple attacks were mounted on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Muslim world on 9/11 – one of them a clearly pre-planned assault on the US ambassador in Libya (see here as well; the media originally reported the Libyan attack as pre-planned) – the Obama White House promptly launched a narrative: that these attacks were unrelated to the 9/11 anniversary, and were instead the fault of a shadowy naturalized American, who had made what is apparently a silly, low-quality video about Mohammed and Muslims.  (The clip on YouTube seems to confirm this assessment.)

Attacks on US embassies and consulates all across the Muslim world, on 9/11/12 and the days following, could hardly be interpreted as other than a form of attack on the United States.  Egyptian radicals storming the US embassy in Cairo chanted, “Obama, Obama, we are all Osama!” – which carries not a whiff of righteous fury about an amateur video, but clearly invokes Osama bin Laden and the tactical triumph of al Qaeda on 9/11/01, and carries a warning to the president of the United States.  Assaults and attempted assaults on US diplomatic facilities occurred from Pakistan and Afghanistan to Morocco – including violent riots against our embassy in Tunisia, the vanguard of the Arab Spring and a North African nation with which America has had peaceful, friendly ties for more than 200 years.

At the very least, the Obama administration is misinterpreting what is going on.  The eruptions in the Muslim world are happening because of the larger shift that started 18 months ago.  Crowds of radicals from the Muslim world generate a fury that Bolsheviks could only wish for; the developments across the Muslim arc of the Eastern hemisphere today are not necessarily to be interpreted in the categories of Soviet-era instigation and fomentation, for which Marxist cadre were famous.  Today’s events are somewhat different.

Significantly, Mohammed Morsi is emblematic of a new kind of Sunni Arab leader who will grope toward a signature concept of state Islamism.  But that concept is as yet without clear form, and the numerous attacks on American facilities can’t be pinned on it.  The two phenomena – attacks from the street and state Islamism – are related, but they have not gotten to a melding point yet.  This is the evolution we need to be watching for.

The Arab Spring nations have either remained, uneasily, under sclerotic despotisms, or have migrated to an evolving Muslim Brotherhood rule.  Neither case is a factor for stability, social peace, or a consensual idea in the political realm.  Libya is as yet unpacified by her putative national government; Syria is in full uproar.  The Middle East has not found a stability point, and that condition is red meat to radical extremists, who include both the terrorists who assassinated the ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, and the inciters of attacks on US embassies in Cairo and elsewhere.

In Radical Eyes, Libya Makes Obama an Imperialist Enemy

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Originally published at Rubin Reports

It is amazing how events in international affairs that would have been easily and accurately understood decades ago are now surrounded by obfuscation and misunderstanding. Such is the case with Libya and the U.S. role there. Forget Obama’s Cairo speech and all that bowing, apologizing, appeasing, and empathy. All of it is meaningless now.

The facts are clear. Along with its NATO allies, the United States helped overthrow the dictatorship of Muammar Qadhafi in Libya and installed a new regime. This government, non-Islamist, technocratic, and led by defected old regime politicians or former exiles, won the election and is now in power.

What does this mean? Simple. Libya is now a U.S. client state. In the eyes of many Arabs and Muslims—especially the radicals but not just them—Libya is now an American puppet state. Most important of all it is not an Islamist Sharia state. The revolutionaries—a group including the Muslim Brotherhood, radical small groups, and the local al-Qaida affiliates–want to change that situation.

How do you do that? One way is to attack the regime’s institutions, including raiding police stations to get weapons. Another way is to assassinate officials. A tempting way to build popular support is to murder Americans.

The killing of the ambassador and five other Americans (a Foreign Service reserve officer, two bodyguards, and two Marines) has nothing to do with a video made in California. It has everything to do with the Libyan Islamist revolution. This revolution will go on for years and will become increasingly bloodier. It is nothing short of amazing that U.S. leaders don’t seem to recognize this.

Let’s sum it up in a slogan:

Bush occupied Iraq and Afghanistan; Obama occupied Libya and killed Usama bin Ladin. Have no doubt that the revolutionaries—including the Muslim Brotherhood—and a lot of others view Obama as just as bad as Bush. Obama’s attempts at appeasement have further convinced them that America is finished and easily bullied. In his speech of September 2010 calling for revolution in Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad al-Badi explicitly said that.

In Iraq, a combination of factors has defused the situation directly, though resentments born years ago still are part of the package of genuinely popular but also Jihadi-stimulated anti-Americanism. The surge won the war and the long-planned withdrawal was implemented by Obama. A government exists which is hardly a model of democracy but sufficiently stable for the foreseeable future. The Sunni have basically given up trying to take over the country; the central government accepts the Kurds having a de facto state in the north. A lot of people are still being murdered by terrorism.

Afghanistan, because it isn’t an Arab country, has a relatively small impact in the Arabic-speaking world and eventually the U.S. forces will withdraw from there as well. The Taliban, treacherously aided by forces including official government agencies in Pakistan, will go on trying to overthrow the U.S.-sponsored government and might succeed. But that’s a problem for the future.

As for bin Ladin, obviously his death is a cause for al-Qaida to seek revenge. But, of course, they’d be attacking Americans and U.S. installations even if he was still alive. It’s a myth that al-Qaida has been defeated. Precisely because it is so decentralized, the group’s local affiliates are quite active in North Africa, Yemen, Egypt (especially the Sinai Peninsula for the first time ever), the Gaza Strip, and increasingly in Syria.

Others who are not al-Qaida and never saw bin Ladin as their leader will opportunistically use the U.S. killing of the September 11 architect to stir up anger. They will also use inevitable periodic incidents like this You-Tube video. There will always be more such incidents. Jihadis are surfing the Internet looking for some obscure incident or writing to promote. That’s what happened with the video, which some of them translated into Arabic and widely circulated. And when there is no real such incident the revolutionaries will fabricate one, as they have been doing against Israel for decades.

Aside from everything else, Libya has two special factors. First, it is beset by tribalism and regionalism which create a complex web of conflicts. Despite its oil wealth, this factor makes Libya extremely hard to govern. Some tribal and regionalist forces will remain interest groups; others will adopt a revolutionary Islamist ideology. There is no way of resolving these issues. Any Libyan government will have to go for massive repression—which Qadhafi did and the current government won’t—or engage in a constant juggling game.

Sic Transit Gloria Mundi: Thus Passes the Glory of the World

Sunday, September 23rd, 2012

In the past, the United States was the “glory of the world”, mainly after it came to the aid of Europe in the Second World War, the victory over Germany and Japan in 1945, and the American success in establishing a democratic state in South Korea (1953) following the war against the communists, who were allied with China and the USSR. However, the glory of the U.S. has faded during the last generation. Historians point to Vietnam as the beginning of the process of decline; the war lasted 16 years (1959-1975), cost the lives of almost 60,000 American soldiers and ended in a disastrous American rout and Saigon, the capital of South Vietnam, falling to the Vietcong, the militia of communist North Vietnam.

The Vietnam War left parts of American society with a lack of will to fight for the values of freedom and democracy, especially if it’s a question of fighting in countries outside of the U.S. The U.S. military took part in several wars since 1975, but in the Middle East its performances were not always satisfactory. As a result of this, the military strength of the U.S. does not make much of an impression in the Arab and Islamic world, and even back in September of 1970 the terrorists of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine did not hesitate to hijack American and British jets to Jordan and blow them up for all the world to see.

In 1973 the American ambassador, his deputy and the deputy ambassador of Belgium were kidnapped in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan by the Palestinian organization “Black September,” and were executed on the personally telephoned orders of Yasir Arafat. Despite the fact that the Americans recorded the discussion and knew all of the details in real-time, the humiliation by the terrorist silenced them and Arafat subsequently became (with the help of a few bleeding-heart Israelis who were taken in by his charisma and his lies) a “darling of the peace groupies.” He mocked the Americans, fooled them without blinking an eye, and they believed him.

The Iranian audacity towards the U.S. knows no bounds: In October 2011, Iran attempted to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, no less than the capital of the U.S. The Iranians have no problem calling the U.S. “the Great Satan,” which has only one meaning: that holy war must be waged against the U.S. – a jihad for the sake of Allah, which will only end with the destruction of the U.S. government and the conversion of its citizens to Shi’ite Islam.

In April 1983 Hizb’Allah – the long arm of Iran in Lebanon – blew up the U.S. embassy in another breach of its sovereignty and killed 63 people. In October of that same year, Hizb’allah demolished Marine headquarters in Beirut killing 241 American soldiers and citizens. The American reaction was to flee from Lebanon, which very much encouraged Hizb’Allah and its patrons in Iran and Syria, and caused the United States to appear as a country without a backbone. A month before this, in March of 1983, Hizb’Allah attacked the U.S. embassy in Kuwait, and in June, 1985 Hizb’Allah organized the hijacking of an American passenger jet of TWA. In June, 1996 Hizb’Allah carried out an attack on an American military base in Saudi Arabia. All of these attacks, carried out by Shi’ite Hizb’Allah with Iranian inspiration, were left unanswered by the Americans.

Qadhaffi’s Libya also contributed its part to aggression against the U.S. with the attack on the disco in Berlin where a number of American soldiers were killed as they were enjoying a night out in 1986. The aggression was answered with an attack on Qadhaffi’s palace, and although his adopted daughter was killed, he did not stand down: In 1988, he organized a revenge attack on a Pan Am jet over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing almost 300 people. What was his punishment? Nothing, until 2011, when the United States was dragged into attacking Libya, almost reluctantly.

On the Sunni side of the Islamic equation, they saw the American weakness toward Iran and Hizb’Allah, and also decided to increase the pressure on the U.S.: in August, 1990, Saddam Hussein disregarded U.S. warnings and invaded Kuwait, one of the West’s main suppliers of oil, claiming that Kuwait is a province of Iraq. The West was outraged, and led by the U.S., in January, 1991, it entered a war that successfully liberated Kuwait, but did not liberate Iraq and the world from Saddam Hussein. This war caused the detractors of the U.S. to draw two conclusions: One is that the West goes out to war not for idealism but rather for interests, and in the case of Kuwait, oil was the causative factor. The second conclusion is that the West is afraid of causing regime change, no matter how bad the regime may be, because of the fear that the successor will be even worse. However, in this war there was an additional American failure. There were Americans, perhaps CIA operatives, who hinted to the Shi’ites in Southern Iraq that if they rebel against Saddam, the U.S. will support them and overthrow him. In March 1991 the Shi’ite rebellion against Saddam (who had been vanquished in Kuwait) began, but he put down the rebellion with great cruelty, costing the lives of tens of thousands of Shi’ites, and the U.S. did not lift a finger. The effect of the American betrayal of the Shi’ites of Iraq at that time continues until today to influence the way the Shi’ites in Iraq relate to the U.S.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/sic-transit-gloria-mundi-thus-passes-the-glory-of-the-world/2012/09/23/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: