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December 28, 2014 / 6 Tevet, 5775
 
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Posts Tagged ‘democracy’

Egyptian Army to Morsi: You’re No Longer the President

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Al Ahram reports that a source close to Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi said that the Egyptian Army informed Morsi at 7 pm on Wednesday, that he is no longer the president of Egypt.

The Egyptian Army is carrying out a “full military coup” and the army has placed a travel ban on the country’s embattled President Mohamed Morsi, officials told the AP.

The coup came at the end of the 48 hours Egypt’s army gave Morsi to respond to the demands of protesters who have filled the country’s streets in recent days.

The streets of Cairo were jammed again on Wednesday, with competing pro- and anti-Morsi rallies.

In a statement posted on the Egyptian Presidency Facebook page, Essam El-Haddad, Egypt’s national security adviser called the on-going situation “a full military coup,” and warned that it will only lead to more violence.

“Today only one thing matters. In this day and age no military coup can succeed in the face of sizeable popular force without considerable bloodshed. Who among you is ready to shoulder that blame?” he wrote.

Gen. Abdul Fattah Al-Sisi said the military was fulfilling its “historic responsibility” by ousting Morsi, who was elected only a year ago. Morsi failed to meet the people’s expectations, most notably on economic issues, and the crowds took him down. Now these same crowds erupted victoriously as the announcement was made.

Ahead of the statement, troops moved into key positions around the capital and surrounded a demonstration by Morsi’s supporters in a Cairo suburb. Citing an unnamed presidential source, the state-run newspaper Al-Ahram reported that “the General Command of the Armed Forces told President Morsi around 7 PM (1 PM) that he is no longer a president for the republic.”

Morsi offered to form an interim coalition government “that would manage the upcoming parliamentary electoral process, and the formation of an independent committee for constitutional amendments to submit to the upcoming parliament,” he said in a posting on his Facebook page. He noted that hundreds of thousands of supporters and protesters had packed plazas around the country, and he urged that his countrymen be allowed to express their opinions through the ballot box.

But as night fell Wednesday, troops surrounded a pro-Morsi demonstration at a Cairo mosque and took control of a key bridge across the Nile River. Gehad El-Haddad, a spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, reported via Twitter that tanks were on the streets.

Democracy à la Islamists Points to Civil War

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Mohammed Morsi and Egypt’s military leader both are ready to die rather than surrender as the military shows all signs of taking over the government while pro and anti-Morsi groups show all signs of being prepared to fight a civil war.

“We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” said  military leader Gen. Abdel Fattah al-Sisi saying they were prepared to die for their causes. “We swear to God to sacrifice with our blood for Egypt and its people against any terrorist, extremist or ignoramus,” al-Sisi said in a statement. “Long live Egypt and its proud people.”

Morsi, supported by the radical Islamic Muslim Brotherhood party, which goes by the lovely-sounding name of the Freedom and Justice party, told Egyptians, “I am prepared to sacrifice my blood for the sake of the security and stability of this homeland,” the president said.

No one wanted to whisper the words “civil war” in Syria last year but that is what has happened, two years after then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called Syrian President Bassar al-Assad a “reformer.”

One years after Morsi won Western-style democratic elections in Egypt and was escorted by President Barack Obama to the altar of democracy, Egypt faces a military coup. Whether or not it happens or not does not make any difference as far as law and order are concerned. Violence is certain in any case.

Muslim Brotherhood leaders reportedly are training for war. More than 20 people have been killed and hundreds have been injured in clashes this week.

Assad has used his vast military power to annihilate tens of thousands of civilians and rebels, but the Egyptian army will not have that privilege.

Its power and the skills of its soldiers are a gift from to the United States, which built and trained the Egyptian military for 30 years.

“One of the potentially big problems with this scheduled coup (for the Egyptian armed forces, anyway) is that American officials are warning that such an event will automatically cause the United States to cut off all military aid,” Foreign Policy reported Wednesday.

With or without a coup, blood will be spilled.

“To the coup supporters, our blood will haunt you, and you will pay an expensive price for every spilled drop of our blood,” stated a sign by a mob supporting Morsi and armed with clubs, ready to carry out their threat.

Islamists  quoted by The New York Times underscore the inherent contradiction between the concept of Western democracy and radical Islam.

“We don’t believe in democracy to begin with; it’s not part of our ideology. But we accepted it and we followed them and then this is what they do,” the newspaper  quoted an Islamist described as  a trader and named Mohammed Taha. “They’re protesting against an elected democracy.”

“This is a conspiracy against religion. They just don’t want an Islamist group to rule,” his friend told the newspaper.

On the other side of the field of battle are those against Morsi, such as Mohammed Saleh, a laborer, who told the Times, “God willing, there will be no Muslim Brother left in the country today. Let them get exiled or find rocks to hide underneath like they used to do, or go to prisons, it doesn’t matter. No such a thing as ‘an Islamist party’ shall exist after today.”

Chaos in Egypt: Obama Backed Another Wrong Horse

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

The Egyptian army military announced on Tuesday it will establish an interim regime if Mohammed Morsi cannot come to an agreement with opposition forces by Wednesday night, a virtual impossibility.

The army insisted it is not intending to rule the country, but in effect it plans to unilaterally dissolve the legislature and appoint Egypt’s chief justice to head Egypt, a threat that has sent the Obama administration running in all directions.

President Barack Obama is suffering another foreign policy flop in the Middle East, where he and his officials previously gave its total support to the Palestinian Authority, which then turned its back on the United States “peace process.” Washington backed Syrian President Bassar al-Assad at the beginning of the protest movement there more than two years ago, and officials insist on making peace with Taliban terrorists.

And now, one year after having excitingly knighting Morsi as the democratic leader of Egypt following the American-backed ouster of Hosni Mubarak, the Obama administration is frantic at the prospect of another military regime controlling the military aid that Washington offers Cairo.

Violence in Egypt continues. Four more people were killed in clashes on Tuesday. The Muslim Brotherhood has brought out tens of thousands of supporters, many of them armed with clubs, to march in support of him while millions of demonstrators maintain that the only compromise Morsi can make with them is to resign.

The chaos in Cairo is mirrored in Washington.

The Obama administration has suggested to Morsi that he call for early elections, according to officials who spoke on anonymity.

“No, No,” said the State Dept. Nothng of the sort. “The reports that we have been urging early elections are inaccurate,” State spokesman Jen Psake told reporters Tuesday.

President Obama said in Tanzania during the last part of his current  trip to Africa, “Our commitment to Egypt has never been around any particular individual or party. Our commitment has been to a process.”

Really?

The Obama administration was so enamored by the Arab Spring rebellion against the Mubarak regime that it  voted to end a stable and corrupt regime for one that has turned out to be unstable and corrupt.

“The U.S. government’s attitude has been we would deal with a democratically elected government,” Obama said Tuesday. “Democracy is not just about elections — it’s also about how are you working with an opposition?”

Give the United States a democracy, and everything will be just fine.

It is not only the Obama administration that has made democracy unsafe for the Middle East. The Bush administration was not better, having patted itself on the back for introducing democratic elections to the Palestinian Authority as a model for other Arab countries in the region.

And Hamas capped off the model with a parliamentary victory. The terrorist organization then gave the United States a lesson in democracy, Middle East style, and staged a military coup to oust the Fatah party, headed by chairman Mahmoud Abbas, from Gaza.

In Egypt, it is déjà vu. In Cairo’s Tahrir Square, where demonstrators accused the United States three years of backing the dictatorship of Mubarak, a sign declared that the U.S. president supports “dictator Morsi.”

The prospects of a military regime scare the Obama administration no less than Morsi’s staying in power and leading the country into civil war.

The Pentagon provides Egypt with $1.3 billion a year in military sales, a gift for Cairo’s signing a peace treaty with Israel in 1979. The military aid has emboldened the Egyptian to stand up to Morsi. On the other hand, as Politico noted on Tuesday, the Pentagon can threaten the military with a halt in aid if it pulls off a coup.

But in the Middle East, “negotiations” are ultimatums,” a “peace treaty” is a “piece of paper, and an “interim regime” is a “coup.”

A coup? God forbid.

“The beliefs and the culture of the Armed Forces do not allow pursuit of a ‘coup’ policy,” the military said, adding the military acts only “with the will of the great Egyptian people and their ambitions towards change and reform.”

 

Knesset Bills Would Define Israel as Jewish State

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Two bills submitted to the Knesset on Tuesday would legislate Israel’s Jewish character and as a democratic state.

A bill proposed by coalition chairman Likud Knesset Member Yariv Levin and Jewish Home MK Ayelet Shaked would create a Basic Law declaring that Israel is the national home of the Jewish people and does not recognize it as a national homeland of any other people. It confirms that Israel is a democracy and says that the country will uphold the rights of all of its citizens no matter what religion.

The bill submitted by Ruth Calderon of the Yesh Atid Party calls for the Declaration of Independence to be adopted as Basic Law. According to the Declaration of Independence, Israel is defined as a democratic state of the Jewish people.

A similar bill was proposed in the last Knesset by former lawmaker Avi Dichter of the Kadima party, though that bill called for Hebrew to be the country’s only official language.

The political significance of the bills would be to preclude any possibility for Israel to accede to Palestinian Authority demands that the country allow the immigration of approximately five million Arabs who live in foreign countries and claim Israel as their home.

Erdogan Praised at White House as He Subverts US Interests

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

“So fragile was the structure of their reality that a single unsubsumed consciousness, a solitary ripple in their little pond was enough to roil the waters into a frothing, burbling foam.” —Norman Spinrad, The Void Captain’s Tale (1985)

Consider five factors that had no effect on the very warm reception given by President Barack Obama to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan:

–While the U.S. government has pressured Erdogan not to visit the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip, Erdogan announced in the White House Rose Garden that he would do so. An alleged U.S. ally says publicly in front of Obama while being hosted by him that he is going to defy the United States.

This is not some routine matter. With previous presidents, if an ally was going to do something like that he would say nothing at the time and then months later would subvert U.S. policy. Or better yet the foreign leader would not do so. To announce defiance in such a way is a serious sign of how little respect Middle East leaders have for Obama—and U.S. policy nowadays—and how little Obama will do about it.

–Equally bad is the fact that Erdogan directly promised Obama that he would conciliate with Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cooperated because Obama asked him to do so. That’s what U.S. allies do. But immediately Erdogan showed he would pay no attention to the agreement he made.

His negotiators subverted it in several ways, including the demands for ridiculously large amounts of money, the delay in the promised return of the Turkish ambassador to Israel, the continuation of legal action against Israeli officials involved in the Mavi Marmara affair, when Israeli soldiers were attacked by Turkish terrorists demanding to sail to Gaza to deliver equipment to Hamas.

So a second time Erdogan betrayed Obama and make the president look foolish (that is, if anyone in the mass media pointed it out). Again, there was no U.S. criticism of the move or apparent pressure to make Erdogan keep his promise.

There are three other ways that Erdogan has subverted U.S. interests with minimal costs. In fact, the Obama Administration has usually furthered this behavior.

–Some small U.S. diplomatic protests were made about the growing internal repression in Turkey and human rights’ violations there. Increasingly, the country lives under a reign of intimidation even as the Western media mostly ignores this situation. Since the United States keeps praising him, Erdogan can demoralize his opponents, who cannot hope for foreign help, even as he carries on a policy of spreading anti-Americanism in Turkey.

The political power of the Turkish armed forces–the traditional guarantor of the republic and stability in the country was dismantled by Erdogan with U.S. approval. The Turkish media was subverted with only an occasional American squeal of complaint. Now he’s destroying the independent judicial system, the last barrier to his assault on democratic rule. The U.S. embassy in Turkey consistently warned about what has been happening; the White House ignored this information.

–With the Obama Administration’s permission, the Turkish government violates the sanctions against Iran with ever-larger trade and major bilateral cooperation projects. Erdogan’s consistent defenses of Iran’s policies (though the two countries are at odds over Syria) have been forgiven and forgotten by the White House.

–Finally, in many ways the Turkish government has been taking the lead on setting U.S. policy toward Syria. It was Erdogan who largely determined that the official opposition exile leadership would be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood, a path followed by Obama. (I can’t prove it but I’ll bet that Turkey’s regime promised Obama that if he would declare support for the rebels verbally and let them be armed by Qatar and Saudi Arabia then Assad would easily fall. I’d also bet that Erdogan assured Obama that if the president helped the rebels a moderate government would emerge in Syria.)

Meanwhile, Obama has praised Erdogan unstintingly. Obama thinks Erdogan is the very model of a “moderate Islamist” and since Obama’s strategy is to support such people in much of the Arab world, Erdogan has been his guide to the region, though this has meant supporting the radical Islamists of the Muslim Brotherhood. What is especially ironic is that Obama believed that Erdogan’s goals were essentially the same as those of the United States while Erdogan was in fact following a profoundly anti-American policy designed to bring hostile Islamist governments to power. Remember this is no longer the old Western-oriented Turkey of previous decades but a radical–if concealed–Islamist regime.

Opportunities and Risks Ahead for Turkey

Monday, May 13th, 2013

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit to Washington on May 16 comes at a pivotal time when the Middle East is riddled with extraordinary conflicts that have the potential of exploding into a regional war. The time is also ripe for creating a geopolitical realignment that could eventually usher in stability and progress.

Turkey can and in fact should play a constructive role, provided that the Erdogan government takes a hard look at the opportunities that exist to contribute to building a structure of peace and stability. The Erdogan government, however, must also consider the risks entailed should it remain stuck in grandiose old thinking.

The Turkish government managed over the past few years to create the perception that Turkey’s rise has been based on a sound foreign policy doctrine of “zero problems with neighbors” along with solid economic development policies, while continuing social and political reforms consistent with Islamic values.

A close look at the reality, however, suggests a somewhat different picture that raises serious concerns among Turkey’s friends and quiet jubilation among its enemies.

According to the Human Rights Watch 2011 World Report, the government increasingly breaches what it has committed itself to, including unjustified prosecutions for alleged speech crimes, the arbitrary use of terrorism laws, prolonged pretrial detention (especially of journalists and editors), and the systematic intimidation of any individual or party that objects to, or opposes, government policy.

The government also reversed course with the Kurds, carrying out a clampdown on the legal pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), arresting Kurdish notables and intellectuals for links with the PKK, and until recently resuming the old policy of massive retaliations against PKK attacks.

On Turkish foreign policy, if one takes a look at the situation country by country, the picture looks surprisingly different than “zero problems with neighbors.” There is hardly any neighboring country with which Turkey does not have some kind of problem.

Now is the time for Ankara to take some corrective domestic and foreign policy measures consistent with what the country has and continues to aspire for but fails to realize.

As the Turkish Parliament is writing a new constitution, there is no better time to seek political equilibrium and enshrine human rights in all aspects, especially the rights of the Kurds. Now that the PKK has agreed to abandon violent resistance in favor of a negotiated settlement, the government can institutionalize such reforms without losing face.

The Kurds and other minorities should enjoy equal rights to speak their language and live their culture with no reservations or discrimination, which is the essence of democratic governance.

Turkey’s failure to reconcile the hundred-year old dispute over the Armenian genocide continues to poison its relations not only with Armenia but also with the United States, which takes a strong supportive position on the Armenian grievances.

It is time to end the conflict with Armenia as the one hundredth anniversary is near (2014) and is bound to reignite a major controversy within and outside Turkey. Instead of taking such a categorical stance refuting the entire the issue of the Armenian genocide, Turkish leaders should take heed of what both the Old Testament and the Quran preach: “The children should not be held responsible for the sins of their fathers.”

Turkey, in this regard, should express deep regrets about the Armenian genocide during World War I for the tragic events that occurred a century ago. This may not go far enough with the Armenians, but it offers a good beginning that may lead to reconciliation.

The discord with Greece over Cyprus has only worsened with the dispute over gas exploration near Turkish territorial waters. Turkey must find a solution to the Cyprus conflict; not doing so will further strain its relations with Greece. Realpolitik must trump nationalism which can serve national interests; otherwise it will only harden over time and further limit any room for a negotiated settlement.

Although Turkey and Iran enjoy strong trade relations, Ankara still has not made up its mind about Tehran’s ambition to acquire nuclear weapons. Their bilateral relations are strained by Ankara’s decision to host a base for a NATO missile defense system and the conflict over Syria’s future.

Moreover, Turkey must come to terms with the fact that Tehran’s and Ankara’s national interests do not coincide and that the two countries are on a collision course. Syria has become the battleground between Sunnis and Shiites and thus the emerging political order in post-Assad Syria will have a great impact on their overall ambitions.

Is Ascending the Temple Mount Irresponsible?

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

The following is my response to a woman who criticized me for visiting the Temple Mount. In a letter to me, she claimed that I broke the law and irresponsibly provoked Arab anger. She suggested that my actions should conform to the will of the “majority.”

Dear S.:

1) In your letter, you claim that I broke the law. I am sorry to say that from your letter it is obvious that you are not familiar with this issue. The legal situation on the Temple Mount is the complete opposite of what you describe. There is not and there cannot be a law that prohibits the entrance of Jews to the Temple Mount. There is not and cannot be a law that prohibits Jews from praying on the Temple Mount. There are laws that emphasize the rights of all religious groups to enter their holy places (similar to their rights to enter any other public place) and to pray there.

I would like to remind you that the nation of Israel also has a faith. It also has a holy place and – wonder of wonders – the Jewish people also have feelings, such that these laws relate to me as much as it does to any other citizen.

The courts have time and again upheld our legal right to enter and pray on the Mount. On Sukkot of this year, I was arrested for praying on the Temple Mount. Despite all of the police’s best efforts, the judge released me without bail due to “absence of guilt.”

Thus, I suggest that you may want to consider whether the situation is not completely the opposite of what you claim. Perhaps I am the one abiding by the law, while those trusted with upholding the law are actually breaking it. As you are a responsible citizen, I am certain that this disturbing possibility will cause you to lose some sleep.

2) Regarding your claim that I acted irresponsibly, I say this: Although you try to be objective, this claim is up to its neck in a typically one-sided worldview. You conclude that we must give in to the Arab threat of violence. You place the responsibility for the outcome on whoever does not surrender.

I wonder if you would respond in the same way if a bully would take over your house and prevent you from entering. How would you relate to someone who would point the accusing finger at you, reprimand you for demanding that the police arrest that ruffian and blame you – not the intruder – for the outcome? You are correct that in light of the de facto surrender (in secret, against the public’s will, without any Knesset decision and against the law) of Israeli sovereignty on the Temple Mount, there is a certain probability that my entrance to the Mount would initially arouse attempts to react violently. But does capitulation to the Arab threat of violence bring quiet?

Our experience on every front that we have tested the capitulation innovation is completely clear. Both Tel Aviv and Jerusalem have become legitimate targets for rocket attacks as a result of our recent withdrawals. As a Jerusalemite, you certainly must remember the exploding buses. Try to remember a similar attack before the Oslo Accords.

Simple logic shows that it is not the one who refuses to capitulate to violence and demand his legal and ethical right to enter the Mount who is irresponsible – but vice versa. Those who evade their responsibility to maintain Israeli sovereignty on the Mount are irresponsible. Ultimately, they will find themselves in a never-ending bloody conflict over our sovereignty over the entire land of Israel. The thousands of Oslo victims – soldiers and civilians – who paid with their lives, and the constant danger that there will be more victims are the direct result of this irresponsibility.

3) Democracy: This claim is a bit awkward, both from a factual standpoint and even more so in its essence.

I do not know how you justify your statement that I do not represent the views of the majority of citizens. I have read numerous studies that reinforce the fact that our nation feels a strong connection to the Temple Mount.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/moshe-feiglin/is-ascending-the-temple-mount-irresponsible/2013/04/24/

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