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

Posts Tagged ‘Osama Bin Laden’

Al Qaeda Puts Bounty on Jewish US Envoy’s Head (Video)

Thursday, January 3rd, 2013

Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) is offering gold worth more than $100,000 to anyone who will kill the Jewish U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, Gerald M. Feierstein, as well as more than $20,000 for anyone who kills a U.S. serviceman in Yemen.

According to the AP, the Yemeni-based AQAP has a media arm, the al-Malahem Foundation, which made the offers in an audiotape posted on its websites this past weekend. The offer is open for six months.

Al-Malahem Foundation also distributes the notorious  English-language Jihadist magazine Inspire.  That magazine was largely written by the Jihadi terrorists Anwar al-Awkaki and Samir Khan, both of whom were killed by the U.S. in the September, 2011 drone attacks.

According to Foreign Policy, the spring, 2012 issue of Inspire included a posthumously published article by Awlaki.  In that article Awlaki explained why it is permissible to kill any and all kinds of civilians in jihadist attacks, so long as the jihadi intent is pure:

If combatants and non-combatants are mixed together and integrated, it is allowed for the Muslims to attack them even if women, children, the elderly, farmers, merchants and slaves get killed but this should only be done with the intention of fighting the combatants.

Gerald M. Feierstein was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to Yemen on September 17, 2010.  Prior to his posting in Yemen, Feierstein served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Feierstein has spent all of his foreign service abroad in the Middle East or Southeast Asia.  Between 2006 and 2008, Feierstein served in various positions in Washington, D.C. in the Bureau of Counterterrorism.  Since joining the Foreign Service in 1975, Feierstein has served in Pakistan, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Israel, Lebanon and Oman.

According to the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, the audio explained that the bounties were offered by Al Qaeda in the Arab Peninsula (AQAP) “to encourage our Muslim Ummah (nation), and to expand the circle of the jihad (holy war) by the masses.”

AQAP is regarded as the most dangerous branch of Osama bin Laden’s terrorist group.  In September, AQAP called for increased violence and protests directed at U.S. diplomats worldwide.  The terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi Libya, which led to the death of U.S. Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, is believed to have been carried out by AQAP.

On the day after the attack on the American compound in Benghazi, Mary Feierstein received a phone call from her diplomat husband, to assure her that he was fine.  Mrs. Feierstein told a Philadelphia-area newspaper on September 13, that her husband was not worried about his safety.

But that was before Ambassador Feierstein was specifically targeted by AQAP.

Feierstein’s religion is of particular concern. On numerous websites, much is made of Feierstein’s Jewishness, with the usual claims of Zionist control of foreign countries and connections to the Mossad.

For those who believe that the West has largely – and perhaps fatally – failed to understand the fundamental difference in ideology between Islam and that of the West, Ambassador Feierstein’s words in an August interview with the Arabic daily Asharq Al-Awsat provide little comfort.

When the interviewer asked Ambassador Feierstein about terroristic threats made by the Huthists, a fundamentalist rebel faction supported by Iran and al Qaeda that dominates the Northern region of Yemen, Feierstein laughed it off as if the Huthists are nothing more than bloviating school yard bullies.  In fact, the Huthists are religious fanatics who seek domination.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] In the north, the Huthists are raising the slogan of “Death to America, Death to Israel”. Do you think they are serious about this?

[Feierstein] (Laughing) Are they serious in wanting to kill us? I do not think so.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] You do not think so?

[Feierstein] No, I do not think so.

[Asharq Al-Awsat] Do you consider the Huthists your enemies because they say that you are their enemies?

[Feierstein] No, and we say that for reasons of their own, the Huthists want to appear as or want to take the position of being hostile to the United States. We were never against the Huthists; we never agreed that they support terrorism. We did not participate in any military actions against them in the past few years. Our opinion is that the solution of this problem lies in national dialogue, negotiations, and reconciliation. In this practical way, the Huthists can come to the table, put forward their vision, and reach a solution. Thus, the United States was never against the Huthists and they know very well the reason why they are conducting this campaign against the United States. Nevertheless, we are worried about the growing cooperation between the Huthists and the Iranian government. If this continues, the Huthists would become Iranian agents in Yemen.

Parshat Vayeishev

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

Most people remember where they were when they heard the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed and justice delivered. Many books have already been written about the ten-year search for him, the decision to launch the mission and the actual attack on his compound in Abbottabad. While every aspect of this story is fascinating, I would like to focus on one specific area: Why were the Navy SEALs chosen to execute the mission? When the mission was being planned it was hardly a done deal that the SEALs would be selected as opposed to the CIA’s own paramilitary unit.[1]

At a meeting at the CIA in early 2011 Admiral William McRaven, the commander of JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command), suggested that one of the military’s special operations forces be used. His suggestion was SEAL Team Six[2], based on their availability. His reasoning for using one of his teams as opposed to a CIA team was as follows: The compound was located 150 miles inside Pakistan. The least of the problems would be the actual storming of the compound. The key challenge was that the attacking force would have to fulfill its mission and extract itself without starting a shooting war with the Pakistani army. This made the mission overly complex and, the more complex a mission, the more things there are that could go wrong. The SEALs, McRaven argued, had perfected these tactics through trial and error, and at the cost of many lives. They knew what they were doing. They had the experience.

McRaven told CIA officials that history has taught that on missions like this, something always goes wrong – no matter how much planning there is. What they needed were men who could think under pressure and adapt to whatever situation materialized. McRaven was persuasive and SEAL team Six got the job.

The commander handpicked the SEALs who would go on the mission. “It was a Dream Team: men who, in the thousands of raids he had overseen, had shown they did not rattle, had shown they could handle themselves coolly and intelligently not just when things went according to plan, but when things went wrong. Those situations required quickly assessing the significance of the error or malfunction or whatever unexpected event had occurred, and then making the necessary adjustments to complete the mission. The core talent required was the ability to adapt, to think for yourself and make smart decisions” (The Finish: The Killing of Osama Bin Laden by Mark Bowden, 2012, p. 192-93).

The ability to adapt is necessary for all successful leaders. Either things don’t go as planned or unexpected opportunities present themselves. While the leader’s vision and overall goal should remain constant, his plans and tactics must be flexible. This requires conditioning and preparation. In this week’s parsha we meet the ultimate adaptable leader—Yosef. Every step of Yosef’s kidnapping and sale to the Midyanim and then to the Yishmaelim was guided by Hashem, and inspired Yosef to adapt in every situation in a manner that would place him on the trajectory to become viceroy in Egypt. The Ketav Sofer points out that Yosef, despite being a charismatic and success-generating individual, managed to act plain and unassuming while in the company of the Yishmaelim. Had he been his normal self, they never would have sold him in Egypt; they would have opted to keep him for themselves. Had that happened Yosef would have remained a permanent prisoner of a nomadic tribe with no hope of becoming a player in world affairs. Yosef thus adapted to the situation by subduing his natural personality.

Upon being sold to Potifar the Kli Yakar (39:3,5) explains that Yosef demonstrated his organizational and managerial skills and earned three promotions within the household operation. Seeing his success Potifar assigned Yosef to his personal staff with the independence necessary to do his job. He then placed him in charge of the entire household staff. Finally, he appointed him as manager of all his operations, including all of his outside concerns.

After Yosef was falsely accused of misconduct, he was sentenced to the royal prison. Yet even there, amid the terrible conditions of a prison, Yosef adapted and managed to impress his superiors, inspire confidence and attain the position of prison manager. The Or Chaim Hakadosh (39:22) suggests, based on the wording of the pasuk, that Yosef, despite being the senior prisoner, did not take advantage of his position and co-opt for himself special privileges. Instead, he worked with the other prisoners sharing in their discomfort. By setting such a high personal example Yosef endeared himself in the eyes of all others.

Rubin Reports: Is Obama Strong on National Security? Of Course Not.

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/06/is-obama-strong-on-national-security-of.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+Rubinreports+(RubinReports)&utm_content=Yahoo!+Mail

Let me explain to you why the Obama Administration’s propaganda leak effort to prove that the president is tough on national security is nonsense. Almost every example with two exceptions—a computer virus against Iran and regime change in Libya–revolves around the willingness to combat or kill al-Qaida leaders, including Osama bin Laden.

There has never been any question but that the Obama Administration views al-Qaida as an enemy and a danger that should be wiped out. That isn’t the problem. The problem is that this is the only entity in the world that this administration sees as a national security threat, since al-Qaida is eager to launch direct attacks against targets on American soil.

In contrast, though, the administration does not act against any other possible national security threat be it Cuba, Bolivia, Venezuela, North Korea, China, Russia, Pakistan, Syria, Hizballah, Hamas, the Turkish Islamist regime, the Muslim Brotherhood, or anything else you can think of.

The administration obviously has shown its belief that engagement, flattery, refusal to help their intended victims, and concessions can win over these enemies. It has even tried to redefine the Taliban as a group that can be conciliated and given a share in a new Afghan government, despite its involvement in September 11!

The only partial exception to that list is Iran. Yet even there the Obama Administration tried to avoid doing anything for almost three years. Even now the government has been desperate to make a deal with Tehran and it is only Iran’s intransigence—and preference for stalling—that have prevented some bargain. Even on the Iran issue the administration did less than Congress wanted and virtually exempted China, Russia, and Turkey from having to observe the sanctions.

Thus, the one other case of administration “toughness” has been support for Israel’s strategy of using such delaying tactics as computer viruses. Of course, the administration is happy at low-cost, no-risk ideas to postpone its having to deal with Iran having nuclear weapons.

During its term, the administration has not been tough in terms of helping allies all over the world. A few dozen governments have been very disappointed by U.S. policy.

In Iraq and Afghanistan, the administration has pursued withdrawal strategies initiated by its predecessor. This choice seems wise, but it should be noted that the Obama administration has been completely ineffective in Iraq, where the political system is in serious trouble. With no U.S. effort to resolve the conflict in sight, the Shia prime minister has put out an arrest warrant for the Sunni vice president on a charge of terrorism, and the Kurdish president is helping him hide out.

As for Afghanistan, the possibility of a regime collapse and a Taliban takeover is a very real danger that the administration has not been able to counter. The administration favors a “moderate” Taliban participation in government, and has found no way, despite billions of dollars of U.S. aid, to get Pakistan to stop backing the Taliban.

That leaves Libya. This intervention was done because the Arab League, the UN, and the European Union all concurred, and the Gaddafi regime was an easy target. It is not yet clear whether this operation will leave Libya worse off and will jeopardize U.S. interests. Note that the Libyan transitional government is stalling on elections, apparently because these might result in a radical, anti-American Islamist regime or a regional conflict that would produce a new civil war. At any rate, it was less a bold action than a mere going along with the crowd, and whether the operation was of any benefit to U.S. interests is still to be seen.

Finally, there is the jewel in the crown: the assassination of Osama bin Laden. The administration’s portrayal of this as some courageous decision shows more than anything how weak he is. A normal U.S. government would have taken this choice for granted, and not felt the need to stress the president’s alleged machismo. (Even Jimmy Carter didn’t posture over the comparatively brave decision to launch an armed rescue mission of the U.S. hostages held in Iran.) Actually, given Obama’s worldview — don’t make the Muslims mad, fear looking like a bully, be ambiguous about the use of force, panic lest failure have a political cost — it was indeed a hard decision. But that supposed difficult pondering, by the White House’s own admission, precisely makes the point about this administration’s weakness.

Generally, the case of Obama being tough is sold by journalists by leaving out all of the points listed above. Indeed, they are often very vague about specifics in making the case for a heroic Obama. In normal times, with a media that made some serious effort at balance, they would be laughed off the stage.

As for the allegedly mysterious source of the leaks, this is a joke. Anyone who knows how these things work would have no doubt after reading the relevant articles, especially in the New York Times. All of those interviewed were former or current Obama appointees eager to make him look good. These are the people who told the press about national security secrets that relatively few people knew, especially in some detail.

Do these leaks endanger American soldiers and intelligence sources? Ask those at the Pentagon who are outspokenly bitter about self-serving Obama administration leaks, the British services whose penetration of al-Qaeda was irresponsibly revealed, and the Pakistani doctor sentenced to 33 years in prison for helping to get Osama without a huge U.S. effort to get him released.

Finally, here is Jackson Diehl of the Washington Post on what Obama is doing wrong; Ambassador John Bolton on what Obama should be doing; and most surprisingly of all, the usually in-the-tank-for-Obama Nicholas Kristof writing in the New York Times of his disgust at the president’s policy on Syria and Sudan.

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach: President Obama Does a Bin Laden End Zone Dance

Tuesday, May 8th, 2012

What a difference one year makes. Last year I praised President Obama for not wanting to ‘spike the football’ by releasing gruesome death photos of Osama bin Laden. But this year, forget spiking the football. The President is doing an end-zone dance.

The Bible says that when someone incurs the death penalty, and his body is hung on a tree as an example to others, he still must be buried the same day. We’re not to desecrate the body of even the most vicious killer because God created humans in His image. So America had no need to put out pictures with Osama missing a part of his cranium. The President last year stood by this and it was impressive.

And as far as gloating in the demise of our foes is concerned, Proverbs 24 expressly forbids celebrating the death of our enemies. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles.” We fight bad guys like bin Laden because we have an obligation to protect the innocent by resisting the wicked. But we don’t gloat in it. War should never be about winning glory but protecting innocent life.

The obligation to protect the weak and punish their butchers is famously conveyed in Leviticus 19: “Do not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor,” and again in Psalm 82, “Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.”

Osama bin Laden was evil personified. We had a moral obligation to abhor him, as the Bible makes clear in Amos, “Hate the evil and love the good.” But while feelings of revulsion were justified, feelings of elation at his demise were not. This too President Obama understood last year and I praised him for it.

But all that has changed with his current victory dance.

Well, we’re in an election year. I get it. But that doesn’t mean our morals should change. What was particularly strange was the President inviting NBC TV into the Situation Room, which had never before been penetrated by network cameras because it’s supposed to be the most classified and off-limits place in the country. There he spoke about how tough his decision had been to send in the SEALs to get the Al Qaida head.

Much has been made of the difference in the speeches given by President Bush when the US captured Saddam Hussein versus President Obama’s speech about Bin Laden, with the former focusing on the bravery of the troops and the latter seemingly focusing on his own role in Bin Laden’s killing. But I’m not here to be petty and parse words, and in any event actions are much more important than speeches. The President last year did not gloat about killing Bin Laden and he deserved praise, just as his complete about face this year, in order to win votes, deserves to be criticized.

I am a huge fan of the mostly moral foreign policy of George W. Bush which largely held tyrants accountable for slaughtering their people. I contrast this with President Obama’s lack of response in Iran after Ahmadinejad killed his people, leading from behind on Libya (even though in the end he did the right thing), lack of leadership in the Arab spring, and failure to do much of anything in Syria.

But even President Bush stumbled when he plastered ‘Mission Accomplished’ on an aircraft carrier and flew in to do a tailhook landing in May, 2003. At the time I honestly said to myself that this would work out poorly. The same was true in Bush using words like ‘Dead or Alive’ about Bin Laden. Glory in battle nearly always ends badly.

The American way is not to gloat in war. It was summed up by Colin Powell in a brilliant speech at the MTV Global Discussion on 14 February 2002: “Far from being the Great Satan, I would say that we are the Great Protector. We have sent men and women from the armed forces of the United States to other parts of the world throughout the past century to put down oppression. We defeated Fascism. We defeated Communism. We saved Europe in World War I and World War II… All in the interest of preserving the rights of people. 
And when all those conflicts were over, what did we do? Did we stay and conquer? We defeated Japan, so Japan belongs to us? No…. We built them up. We gave them democratic systems which they have embraced totally to their soul. And did we ask for any land? No, the only land we ever asked for was enough land to bury our dead. And that is the kind of nation we are.”

This uniquely humble American ethos stems largely from Judeo-Christian ethics. We Jews have suffered more than most. But we stubbornly refuse to celebrate the demise of our enemies or any military triumph. King David is Judaism’s most famous warrior. Yet, rather than praising his slaying of Jewish foes, David’s request to build the Holy Temple was expressly denied by God because he had taken life, even in the defense of life. “But God said to me, ‘You shall not build a house for My name, because you have been a man of war and have shed blood.” (1 Chronicles 28) Indeed, the great king was celebrated by generations of Jews not for dispatching enemy combatants but for beautiful Psalms accompanied by harp and lyre.

A Time Of Sadness And Joy, A Time To Remember

Wednesday, May 11th, 2011


This time of year in Israel is a time of sadness and a time of joy. We commemorate the murder of six million Jews in Nazi Europe and we commemorate the deaths of our children in times of war and the terrorist murders of our people during periods of “peace.” When our sadness reaches a crescendo as the sun sets on Memorial Day, we pause, raise our flag from half mast to its highest height, and joyfully begin to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day.

 

These past weeks have given us much to be thankful for. The execution of Osama Bin Laden, yemach shemo v’zichro, was a victory for the entire free world. The reticence of President Obama to release the photos of Osama Bin Laden is hard to believe, especially when the photos of those he murdered are always publicized. This fear of the Arab reaction is embarrassing to most Americans. As one friend commented on Facebook, “What an upside-down world we live in. The photos of a family slaughtered in their sleep and a baby decapitated were released and not even a sneeze was heard from the world. But G-d forbid they should make public the photos of a murdering evil Arab hate monger, and the world will be up in arms. G-d help us.” Another friend commented, “The world at large is afraid to stand up to the Muslim extremists, and this just gives them more power by making a media mountain about the photo. Al Qaeda didn’t need a photo to incite them to blow up the Twin-Towers, or to carry out any other suicide bombing mission. I couldn’t care less about the actual picture – it’s just the sentiment behind it.”

 

The fact that Hashem delivered Osama Bin Laden close to Holocaust Memorial Day was noted by our yishuv rabbi. Rabbi Auerbach did not mince any words at the Holocaust Memorial ceremony when he spoke, and he made clear how we should react. “When I was a child,” he explained, “children never went to cemeteries. Children were meant to play and enjoy and were considered out of place at a funeral. The Nazis, by murdering more than a million Jewish children, changed this. We must remember the Holocaust with our children, but maybe we should also ask their forgiveness because springtime is such a beautiful time of year in Israel, and we should not burden them with such painful experiences.”

 

The rabbi went on to explain that we must remember, and we are not permitted to forget. “Six million Jews were butchered by the Germans and their willing helpers from other nations. This most sophisticated and cultured nation in the world viciously murdered the weak Jewish people of Europe.” The rabbi quoted the sentence from Ha’azinu (32:43) telling us to rejoice when Hashem renders vengeance “for the land and for His people.” Our hearts must be filled with joy whether Hashem sends an earthquake, a financial crisis, a Tsunami or any other special punishment against evil doers. It is proper to rejoice when evil ones are punished.

 

Holocaust Memorial Day should fill us with a great love for our fellow Jews and we should be very grateful towards those non-Jews who saved Jews during that dark and terrible time. We should honor those who survived, especially those who came to live in Israel to build the land and fight for freedom. The rabbi recalled the story of Noach, who, despite being a righteous person, after the destruction of his community, drank himself into a stupor because almost every one of his friends and family had been lost in the flood. We would have understood it if the Holocaust survivors had withdrawn from society, and filled their bodies with drink and drugs. Instead, these survivors who came to Israel were great heroes. Despite being alone and depressed, they did not drink or take drugs or run away. They lifted themselves up, built up the land and were a driving force in the birth and success of Israel. They were driven to build and to repopulate and to never lose hope. We, too, will never lose faith. We will rise up and continue to build all of our land, and we will gather the exiles of our people and hopefully will witness the rebuilding of all of Jerusalem in our time.

 

We pray that the Jewish people will experience a complete redemption in the very near future.

 

As I do each year, if you are interested in receiving a copy of the prayers for the State of Israel and for Israel’s soldiers, please send me a request containing a self-addressed stamped envelope to the Jewish Press (or an e-mail to me to receive e-mail copies).

 

Comments may be sent to dov@gilor.com

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/columns/a-time-of-sadness-and-joy-a-time-to-remember-2/2011/05/11/

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