web analytics
September 1, 2014 / 6 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘foreign aid’

Saudi King Says Muslims Ready to Fund Egypt if US Cuts Aid

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Saudi Arabia said Monday that it and other Muslim countries are ready to bankroll Egypt to make up for any financial aid that the United States might cut.

“To those who have announced they are cutting their aid to Egypt, or threatening to do that, (we say that) Arab and Muslim nations are rich with resources, and will not hesitate to help Egypt,” Foreign Minister Prince

Saud Al-Faisal said in a statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency.

As reported earlier today, The office of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT), head of the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, told The Daily Beast that military aid to Egypt has been temporarily cut off.

The downside for the United States would be that aid from the oil-rich Saudi kingdom would give it more influence on Cairo, at Washington’s expense.

Both countries share a disdain for the Muslim Brotherhood, which the new military regime ousted but has not been able to contain without the same brutal suppression exercised by Hosni Mubarak, before he was overthrown two years ago.

“Regrettably, we see that the stance of the international community toward the current events in Egypt is contrary to its stand toward the events in Syria,” Prince Saud was quoted as saying by the Saudi Gazette. “Where is its concern for human rights and the sanctity of blood in case of Syria where innocent civilians are being killed every day and where more than 100,000 people have been massacred so far?

“The international community adheres to human rights according to its interests and whims,” the foreign minister added.

He said that a cut in Western aid to Egypt would be considered a “hostile attitude against the interests of the Arab and Islamic nations and their stability.”

Why They Hate Us

Monday, August 19th, 2013

Boy, do they hate America.

I’m on a flight in Tanzania, having left Rwanda where we made a second tour of the genocide sites with the impending twentieth anniversary of the slaughter, when I meet a very fine Pakistani family going on safari.

We exchange pleasantries. They have children studying in the UK, as do many upper-class Pakistani families. My wife and I lived in the UK. We find much to talk about. I relate to them all the Pakistani students I knew at Oxford who were regulars at our events. They tell me of their trip to see the mountain gorillas and how they are enjoying Africa.

Suddenly, the father says to me, “I was in Israel recently. I enjoyed it. But I was disgusted at the treatment of the Palestinians who cannot even go from Bethlehem into Jerusalem.”

I explain to him that the checkpoints are relatively new. “They did not exist when I was a student in Jerusalem. They were set up after a wave of terror bombings killed thousands of Israeli civilians. You can hardly blame Israel from trying to stop the slaughter.”

“The slaughter?” he says, “You mean the way Israel massacres Palestinians every day. And it’s all funded by America, who is the biggest murderer in the world. Just look at the 100 people every day being killed in Iraq.”

I raise my eyebrows, trying to remain calm and provoked. “But that’s being done by Islamic terrorists. What does it have to do with America? We Americans died to liberate the Iraqis. We spent more than a trillion dollars of our national treasure on complete strangers to stop them from being slaughtered by Saddam Hussein.”

He ignores the facts and continues his diatribe. “America is now slaughtering everyone in Afghanistan, just to destabilize the region, and blaming everything on Pakistan.”

“America is trying to save Afghanistan from the Taliban,” I counter, “monsters who brutalize women, fanatics that behead those who don’t conform to their religious extremes.”

“Nonsense,” he says, “the Taliban is infinitely more humane that the Americans and their agents in the Middle East, the Israelis.”

By now I’ve had enough and I go on the offensive.

“Why was Osama bin Laden living in Abbotabad, a mile from Pakistan’s West Point? Who was sheltering a man who killed 3000 innocent Americans?”

And here he makes my jaw drop. “Three thousand Americans dead is nothing, a drop in the ocean, compared to how many Muslims America has killed.”

You may wonder why I am relating this story. It’s an isolated incident, right? But it’s not. It’s a sentiment I encountered in so many parts of Africa where I traveled to Rwanda, to again see the genocide sites and meet with government officials, and then to Arusha in Tanzania, to see the criminal courts where the Rwandan genocidaires were tried.

Readers of my columns will know that I am one of Jewry’s foremost defenders of Islam. I remind Jewish audiences constantly that we dare not de-contexualize the current frictions between Jews and Muslims. Saladin welcomed the Jews back to Jerusalem in 1187 when he captured the holy city from the crusaders who massacred every last Jew. The Ottomans took in large numbers of Jews when we were expelled from Catholic Spain and Portugal. Jews flourished in many Islamic lands where the Koran said they would have to be treated as second-class citizens but should otherwise not suffer persecution. I took Dr. Oz, during our recent visit to Israel together, to see the tomb of Maimonides in Tiberius, explaining that the greatest Muslim ruler that ever lived made the great sage his personal physician. Whenever some of my Jewish colleagues speak of Islam as an inherently violent religion, citing verses in the Koran to prove it, I remind them that there are plenty of verses of our own Torah which can be taken out of context and sound pretty violent. It all comes down to how these passages are interpreted.

But with that being said, there is no question in my mind that Islam is undergoing a modern crisis which perhaps only its clerics and lay leaders can rescue it from. Here in Tanzania there was a terrible story just a week ago when two British female Jewish teenagers were attacked with acid by Islamic assailants.

It’s not that imams and are preaching violence, although many unfortunately do. It’s rather that they preach victimhood. America is to blame for their problems. Israel is to blame for their suffering.

Where are the Islamic leaders and clerics who are prepared to say, “We are responsible for our own problems. We are taking a great world religion and turning it insular and away from secular knowledge rather than finding the balance between the holy and the mundane. We are not empowering women to be the equals of men in all spheres. We Palestinians took the largest per capita foreign aid ever given to a people and we allowed corruption and hatred of Israel to squander the funds on bombs and bullets rather than building universities and schools. We elect leaders democratically who then, like Hamas, or Muhammad Morsi, precede to dismantle democratic institutions. We see the Jews as our enemies rather than using them as an example of what we ourselves should aspire to. They returned to their land after long ago being dispersed by foreign European powers and made the desert bloom. We can surely do the same.”

GOP Jews Leave Meeting with Rand Paul with ‘Pleasant Surprises’

Thursday, June 20th, 2013

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul held a conciliatory meeting with the Republican Jewish Coalition in his latest bid to forge ties with the pro-Israel community and left the GOP Jews with some “pleasant surprises,” Matthew Brooks, the Republican Jewish Coalition’s director, told the Washington Post.

“While there may be areas of disagreement, he is very, very different — and certainly different with regard to his father,” Brooks said of last week’s meeting between Paul (R-Ky.) and the RJC board.

The RJC has sharply criticized Paul since his successful 2010 run for the Senate, particularly because of his opposition to defense assistance for Israel. Since then Paul, who is eyeing a 2016 presidential run, has visited Israel and taken pains to distinguish himself from his father, Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a perennial presidential candidate who has cast his own opposition to aid for Israel in stinging criticism of the Jewish state.

Brooks told the newspaper that Paul spoke of “putting Israel in a different category” than other nations. Paul earned a standing ovation last month at a meeting of the Zionist Organization of America on Capitol Hill.

Money Won’t Buy Moderation in the Mideast

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

Can the Obama Administration turn radicals into moderates with money?

Way back in 1979, shortly after the Iranian revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini said that people in the West didn’t understand revolutionary Islamism. “They think,” he explained, “the revolution is all about the price of watermelons. It isn’t.” In other words, this is an ideological cause not a money-making attempt where people can be bribed.

Three Examples:

1. The Palestinian Case

On May 26, at the World Economic Forum in Jordan, Secretary of State John Kerry proclaimed a new plan. He wants to find $4 billion from investors. If he does this, he claims, the Palestinian economy will be doing great, people will be employed, and there will be peace.

Actually, this is a bribe to get the Palestinian Authority back to negotiations with Israel which would also mean, of course, that the Obama Administration can claim a foreign policy success. That’s $4 billion to buy a negotiations’ process that will meet a few times and break down in deadlock, as has happened over 20 years under far better potential conditions and additional billions of dollars of aid to the Palestinians. The initiative is also intended to get the Palestinian Authority to drop plans to seek statehood at the UN; file cases against Israel at the World Court; and to try to join other international institutions as an independent state.

What should the money be spent on according to Kerry? Why on tourism! No doubt tourists are just lining up to go to the West Bank (they certainly aren’t going to go to the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip where the rockets’ red glare has a different meaning).

Notice incidentally that these are not productive investments. Perhaps he could have proposed investment in green energy. After all, the West Bank has much better prospects for solar power than does the United States.

The supposed uses to which the money would be put further signals that this is a political bribe. If this money is found Kerry said the result would be to:

“Increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years…and reduce unemployment by two-thirds…and increase the median wage by 40%.”

Should the secretary of state be talking on such a level of fantasy? Does a single one of his listeners believe this?

Tony Blair, to whom the tourism project was turned over by Kerry, has been the negotiator for the quartet for 11 years. Guess how many visits he has made to Jerusalem? Answer: 87. And basically he’s accomplished zero. Here is the short list of achievements that he even dares claim after 11 years, 87 trips, and vast amounts of money.

Kerry stated:

Experts believe that we can increase the Palestinian GDP by as much as 50% over three years. Their most optimistic estimates foresee enough new jobs to cut unemployment by nearly two-thirds – to 8%, down from 21% today – and to increase the median annual wage along with it, by as much as 40%….

How about their more pessimistic estimates or even their realistic ones? Kerry has chosen the worst possible plan, investment in an industry that is incredibly sensitive to political unrest.

Are Palestinians going to become hotel managers, waiters, lifeguards at swimming pools, and so on?

What will Hamas think about the influx of massive numbers of Western tourists?

The sale of alcohol?

Western women coming in wearing whatever they want?

What would happen to this investment if there was a single terrorist attack in the West Bank, much less one against tourists?

Might events in nearby Egypt and Syria affect Western tourism?

And while Israel is successful at tourism it is a developed country with far more to see. Remember east Jerusalem—the main tourist attraction—is controlled by Israel, not the Palestinian Authority. Once you get beyond Bethlehem which tourists can visit easily while spending a night in an Israeli hotel—what’s there to do in the West Bank?

Is this a good idea for a $4 billion investment?

Kerry continued:

The economics will never work properly or fully without the political process….President Abbas, the economic approach is not a substitute for the political approach. The political approach is essential and it is our top priority. In fact, none of this vision…will happen without the context of the two-state solution.

Question: If billions of dollars have not bought P.A. support for a two-state solution in 20 years why should anything change now?

Why Salam Fayyad Stood No Chance against Fatah

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Originally published at the Gatestone Institute.

In recent weeks, the U.S. Administration has resumed its efforts to achieve peace not only between Israel and the Palestinians, but also between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and his prime minister, Salam Fayyad.

These efforts, however, seem to have failed: Fayyad is apparently out.

Over the past few years, Abbas and his Fatah faction have been trying to get rid of Fayyad, but to no avail.

Abbas and Fatah leaders see the U.S.-educated Fayyad, who was appointed prime minister in 2007 at the request of the U.S. and E.U. countries, as a threat to their control over the Palestinian Authority in general and its finances in particular.

Some Fatah leaders, such as Tawfik Tirawi and Najat Abu Baker, are even convinced that Fayyad is plotting, together with the U.S. and other Western countries, to replace Abbas as president of the Palestinian Authority.

Were it not for U.S. and E.U. intervention, Abbas and Fatah would have removed Fayyad from his job several years ago.

Each time Abbas considered sacking Fayyad, U.S. and E.U. government officials stepped in to warn that such a move would seriously affect foreign aid to the Palestinian Authority.

President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made separate visits to Ramallah recently, also found themselves devoting much of their time trying to persuade Abbas to keep Fayyad in his position.

But U.S. and E.U. efforts to keep Fayyad in power seem to have been counterproductive. These efforts further discredited Fayyad in the eyes of many Palestinians.

Fayyad’s enemies have cited these efforts as “proof” that he is a “foreign agent” who has been imposed on the Palestinian Authority by Americans and Europeans.

Fatah’s main problem with Fayyad is that he has almost exclusive control over the Palestinian Authority budget.

In other words, Fatah does not like the idea that its leaders and members can no longer steal international aid because of Fayyad’s presence in power.

The Fatah leaders are yearning for the era of Yasser Arafat, when they and others were able to lay their hands on millions of dollars earmarked for helping Palestinians.

In a bid to regain some form of control over the Palestinian Authority’s finances, last year Abbas exerted heavy pressure on Fayyad to appoint [Abbas loyalist] Nabil Qassis as finance minister.

Until then, Fayyad had held the position of finance minister in addition to the premiership.

Earlier this year, Fayyad, in a surprise move, announced that he has accepted the resignation of Qassis without providing further details.

Shortly afterwards, Abbas issued a statement announcing that he has “rejected” the resignation of the finance minister.

Fayyad has since refused to comply with Abbas’s demand and reinstate Qassis.

But the dispute between Abbas and Fayyad is not only over financial matters.

In fact, much of it has to do with the feeling among Fatah’s top cadres that Fayyad is seeking to undermine the faction’s influence and probably end its role in the Palestinian arena.

They accuse him of cutting funds to Fatah’s members and refusing to pay salaries to former Fatah militiamen.

In this power struggle between Fatah and Fayyad, the prime minister is certain to emerge as the biggest loser.

Fayyad has no grassroots support or political power bases among Palestinians.

He does not have a strong political party that would be able to compete with Fatah.

Nor does he have his own militia or political backing, especially in the villages and refugee camps.

In the 2006 parliamentary election, Fayyad, who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, ran at the head of an independent list called Third Way. He won only two seats in the Palestinian Legislative Council.

Most Palestinians did not vote for Fayyad because he had never played any active role in the fight against Israel. For Palestinians, graduating from an Israeli prison is more important than going to any university in the world. Fayyad, however, did not sit even one day in an Israeli prison.

Had Fayyad killed a Jew or sent one of his sons to throw stones at an Israeli vehicle, he would have earned the respect and support of a large number of Palestinians. In short, Palestinians do not consider Fayyad a hero despite his hard efforts to build state institutions and a fine economy.

US Budget Cuts May Axe Funds for Israel’s Anti-Missile Systems

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Pro-Israel sources report that the axe on the US budget may eliminate $479 million for joint US-Israel anti-missile programs, namely David’s Sling and Arrow systems, in addition to another $300 cut in military aid.

The slash in aid would come on the eve of President Barack Obama’s visit to Israel, which has been dubbed “Operation Unbreakable Alliance.”

Senior Israel officials are aware of the possible reductions and are trying to figure out to deal with them, according to Israel’s Globes business newspaper. Defense Minister Ehud Barak’s recent visit to Washington may have been, in part, an attempt to convince Congressmen to dull the axe on funding for the anti-missile programs.

The threat of Israel’s Middle East’s neighbors plunging into anarchy and leaving Al Qaeda and Hizbullah in charge underscores the government’s concerns.

The United States currently gives $3.15 billion in aid, although a large part of it actually is returned to American defense firms that Israel is required to use for much of the equipment and technology.

Congress and the White House have another week until the March 1 deadline, when either the federal deficit is reduced or automatic budget cuts come into effect, which could totally upset financial markets and America’s credit rating.

Republicans control the House of Representatives and are using their power to try to crack the whip on government spending, both at home and abroad.

“So far as is known at this stage, the fate of the aid for missiles is not the fate of the current military aid. We have to hope that won’t be the final situation,” a pro-Israel source told Globes.

Aid to Israel is bound to be reduced in light of massive cuts in domestic spending that, according to The New York Times, will put 14,000 teachers and 4,000 air traffic controllers out of work.

The March 1 deadline also is well before Obama flies to Israel, and he may have to depend only on his oratorical skills to convince Jews in Israel and in the United States of the “unbreakable alliance.”

Innocents Abroad Build Foreign Armies

Monday, February 11th, 2013

In the near-century that the United States has been a great power, it has developed some original and sophisticated foreign policy tools. Examples include the Marshall Plan, special forces, and satellite imaging. At the same time, the country’s naiveté remains firmly in place. For example, the notion persists that government staff are “particularly qualified to [handle a problem] because they knew nothing about it.” (For details, see my analysis at “American Know-Nothing Diplomacy.”)

The persistent belief that training and equipping foreign troops imbues them with American political and ethical values, making them allies of the United States, offers another sign of innocence. Some examples of this delusional policy in recent decades:

Lebanon: On landing U.S. troops in 1982, the priority was to train a national army. Of course, this failed, with most members returning to their communal militias with new arms and training to use against rivals. Despite this failure, the effort was renewed just two weeks ago.

Afghanistan: Training a national army was an action following the 2001 invasion; but the Afghan Local Police, a militia backed by the government, turned their guns against their international colleagues so often – 34 times in the first eight months of 2012, killing 45 persons – that the training was stopped.

Mali: The latest disaster, where U.S. efforts to train the woebegone Malian national army to take on Al-Qaeda did not exactly work out. In the words of Der Spiegel, “American specialists did train four crack units, totaling 600 men, to fight the terrorists. But it backfired: Three of the elite units have defected en masse to the rebel Tuareg. Most of the commanders, after all, are Tuaregs. Captain Amadou Sanogo, trained in the United States, was one of the soldiers who didn’t defect. Instead, he inflicted even more damage when, last March, he and a few close supporters overthrew the government in Bamako and ousted the elected president.”

Palestinian Authority: A disaster still in the making. The Dayton Mission has trained over 6,000 Palestinian Authority security personnel in the hope that they will become Israel’s partners for peace. To the contrary, I have predicted in writing that “these militiamen will eventually turn their guns against Israel.” When will American politicians and military leaders eventually realize that training foreign soldiers does not allies make them?

Originally published at Daniel Pipes.org on February 10, 2013.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/the-lions-den-daniel-pipes/innocents-abroad-build-foreign-armies/2013/02/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: