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Posts Tagged ‘Qatar’

The Islamic Winter Blows into Jerusalem

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

One of the biggest complaints of the Syrian regime against the involvement of Qatar in Syria during the past two years is that the Emir of Qatar has been utilizing all of his wealth in fighting the wrong enemy: instead of fighting Israel, which is the true problem of Arabs and Muslims, the Emir of Qatar uses his strength and wealth in a fight against the “resistance” regimes, mainly Syria and Libya, who take a strong stand against Israel and Zionism. Qatar does not usually respond to accusations of this sort, because everyone knows that Israel has always been used to hide the real problems of the Arab and Muslim world, which center around corrupt, rotten, cruel and illegitimate regimes.

However, the Syrian propaganda has ultimately succeeded. Last Tuesday (March 26th), while the Jewish people celebrated the first day of the holiday of freedom, the Arab League summit met in Doha, the capital of Qatar and took two important decisions: one was to arm the Syrian opposition, which also includes – as everyone knows – some al-Qaeda style jihadi groups, such as ” Jabhat al-Nusrah,” to oust Bashar Assad and his regime from the  institutions of the League and to make the Syrian opposition the official representation of Syria in these institutions. And indeed, behind the sign for “the Syrian Arab Republic” in the summit conference, sat Muath al-Khatib, head of the coalition of Syrian opposition organizations.

The second decision was to establish a fund of a billion dollars in order to strengthen the Arab and Muslim character of Jerusalem, and to add a sense of validity and resolve to this decision, Qatar announced that it is donating a half billion dollars to the fund. According to the decision, the fund will serve to finance projects and plans to strengthen the resolve of the residents of Jerusalem and to strengthen the Palestinian economy so that it will be able to free itself from dependence on the Israeli economy. “The Islamic Development Bank” was appointed to manage the fund.

In parallel, the summit conference decided to form a delegation of ministers headed by the prime minister and foreign minister of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim al-Taib, and it will include members from Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Palestine, Egypt and Morocco as well as the secretary-general of the League. The function of this delegation will be to pressure the American government in the Palestinian matter in general and the issue of Jerusalem in particular.

The question at the moment is whether to relate seriously to Qatar’s intentions, especially in light of the fact that in about one more month we will mark forty-six years of the unification of Jerusalem. This number is important, because in another four years the Islamic world will mark fifty years of the loss of Jerusalem and its return to the Jewish bosom, and an era of fifty years has a symbolic significance of permanence and perpetuity. Our assumption must be that Qatar relates to the matter of Jerusalem with total seriousness, for several reasons:

First, Islamic rule in East Jerusalem, and especially in the area of the Temple Mount, implies, according to Islam, the abolition of Judaism, and is supposed to prove the Islamic notion that Islam has come into the world in order to replace Judaism and Christianity. Muslims cannot tolerate Jewish rule on the Temple Mount because from their point of view it means that Judaism has again become a relevant religion after Islam had superseded it when Islam arrived in the world in the seventh century C.E.

Second, because more than anything else, Jewish rule on the Temple Mount symbolizes the Israeli victories over the Arab world in the wars since 1948. This is an insult to the Arab honor and Islamic pride.

Third, there is not and cannot be another interpretation in this matter: the Jews can live as “dhimmis” (a protected people) of Islam as long as they accept upon themselves the limits that the Muslim regime places upon them, and in no way can they be permitted to live as sovereign and ruling masters on the land and in the places that Islam has consecrated for itself such as the Temple Mount, which, since the end of the seventh century, has been called “the al-Aqsa Mosque.”

Obama Training Radical Islamists in Syria

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

In a new development, the Obama Administration is apparently not only arming (indirectly, technically) but now training Syrian rebels. We know that the weapons are going to radical Islamists–both Muslim Brotherhood and smaller groups.

We don’t know which groups are now being trained militarily by the CIA in Jordan. It has been suggested that these are only Syrian army defectors who are thus likely not to be from radical Islamist groups including the Brotherhood. But is that selectivity certain? Finding out who is receiving this military training–which they are sure to use for other purposes in future–should be a priority in the national debate and in questions from Congress.

What might be happening is this: Qatar backs the Muslim Brotherhood; the Saudis who hate the Brotherhood are backing the smaller Salafi groups; and Jordan which is terrified by the Islamists is supporting the Free Syrian Army which is run by ex-army officers.

Such is the nature of U.S. policy that it goes along with all three rather than directs the process toward a specific goal. The State Department is trying to find people who are relatively moderate while also able to have links to the Brotherhood.

You can imagine how tough that is to achieve. What a mess. In the 1980s the United States was convulsed by a scandal because the Reagan Administration was providing arms–through Saudi Arabia–and training to the pro-American Contra group in Nicaragua that were fighting against the Marxist regime there. It was alleged that the Contras participated in some torture and killing of civilians. Well, today the Obama Administration is conducting the same strategy–with Saudi and Qatari help–in Syria, with much more likelihood of atrocities by those it is helping. On top of that, those being helped are largely anti-American and radical Islamist. Yet there is no serious concern being raised.

Largely due to the local situation but reinforced by U.S. policy, radical Islamists will one day rule Syria. What will follow will not be real democracy but another Islamist dictatorial state. Islamist militias armed with U.S. weapons and that new regime might well use U.S. weapons and training to kill Christians and Alawites; enforce second-class status on women; and intimidate moderates as well as to attack Israel. While the mass media has widely reported the U.S. role in arming the rebels and is now picking up the training story, virtually nowhere is the significance of this policy and its escalation analyzed.

As I have repeatedly explained, the issue regarding Syria is not whether the United States should help more—it is already helping to supply arms indirectly through Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey—but to whom the arms and help flow. In principle, the Syrian opposition is fighting against a terrible dictatorship (see my book, The Truth About Syria for details, available free here). Yet for all practical purposes, it is dominated by radical Islamist militias (except for the Kurds who are faced with local rule by a radical Marxist militia).

The reality, then, is that the United States is helping arm and perhaps helping to train radical Islamist guerrillas who want a Sharia state in Syria, who believe Israel should be wiped off the map, and who may soon be murdering and oppressing Christians and other groups in Syria itself.

Shouldn’t this be an issue–one day it might be a scandal–that’s widely discussed in Congress and the mass media? There might be a way around this, as is being hinted, if the Americans, British, and French are only training former Syrian army soldiers, relatively few of whom would be in Islamist groups. The excuse would then be that only regular soldiers are qualified for the training but that would also be designed to keep out Islamists. This would be a better approach though it still has dangers.

This brings us to the second problem: the Islamists are getting more international military help than the moderates.

While the nominal Syrian opposition leadership backed by the United States is better than before (up until recently the Obama Administration openly backed the Brotherhood-dominated Syrian National Council!) it is powerless on the ground. The guys with guns—fully automatic weapons by the way with large magazines—are a nightmare.

Hamas Re-Working Its Image to Pressing US to Remove Terror Label

Tuesday, March 12th, 2013

Hamas is trying to re-work its image as a terrorist organization to convince the United States and the European Union remove it from the list of sponsors of terrorism. The campaign comes at the same time that pressure is growing on the EU to add Hizbullah to the list of terrorist organizations.

The Egypt Independent reported that Hamas official Ahmed Youssef said contacts have been made with Qatar, Egypt and Turkey to make the case for Hamas.

However,  he said Hamas will not comply with the demand of the Quartet (United States, European Union, Russia and the United Nations) to recognize Israel.

He also said that missile attacks on Israel were not aimed at civilians but were targeting military bases.

“The armed struggle is guaranteed by international law [the right] to resist occupation … but Western countries are biased in favor of Israel,” he maintained.

“It is not reasonable for the Western countries to support Islamist regimes in Tunisia and Egypt, and continue to boycott Hamas, which came out of the womb of these Islamist movements, and keep it on the list of terrorism,” Youssef added.

Kerry Sets Out to Fix the World

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

Sec. of State John Kerry is headed for London to launch his first tour in his new post after four years of his Senate Foreign Relations Committee shuttles to Syria, where he insisted that Syrian President Bashar Assad was a key to bringing Hamas together  with the Fatah movement, headed by Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.

His view of Assad may have changed, as did that of his predecessor Hillary Clinton, who called Assad a “reformer” two months after the current two-year uprising broke out. However, his view in 2010 that the dispute between the Palestinian Authority and Israel is the “single most important” stability issue in the region remains rock-solid.

Kerry, like President Barack Obama soon after he was elected, is determined to bring his views on how to combat Islamic terror, the Syria civil war, Iran’s nucleate threat and, of course, how to make peace between Israel and the PA.

His trip will take him to Germany, France, Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar.

Israel is not on his itinerary, ostensibly because the United States does not want to appear it is influencing the current coalition government attempts by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. It remains to be seen if a new government is in place when President Barack Obama visits next month.

Kerry’s trip to Europe and the Middle East  as Secretary of State is termed by US officials as a “listening tour.”

Previously, he listened to Assad.

As chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry was a frequent  traveler to Syria.

Among his other far-from-prophetic pronouncements on Middle East affairs, he said three years ago after meeting with Assad, “Syria could be, in fact, very helpful in helping to bring about a unity government. If you achieve that, then you have made a major step forward not only in dealing with the problems of Gaza but you have made a major step forward in terms of how you reignite discussions for the two-state solution … I think that Syria indicated to me a willingness to be helpful in that respect.”

Does Anyone Give a Damn About Syria?

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

It’s hard to believe that every day the news reports have Syrians dying like flies and noone seems to give much of a damn. The report yesterday that 80 students were blown to smithereens was particularly galling. They were studying at their University in Aleppo when, apparently, death rained down from the sky, either through a missile or a bomb. One image had a female hand with a pen still in it, dismembered from the rest of her body. She apparently died while doing school work.

I was a Rabbi at a University. If 80 students had died in a military attack it would have shaken the foundations of the academic world. Professors everywhere would have condemned this violation of the sacred halls of academia. But in Syria it’s just another day of indiscriminate slaughter.

The United States is the world’s strongest nation with the loudest voice. Can’t President Obama speak out? I know we’re not ready to invade Syria or impose a no-fly zone. Americans don’t have the stomach for another war, or an invasion. But does that absolve us from simply condemning the slaughter in the strongest possible terms? What would it cost, in blood and treasure, for President Obama to fly up to New York and address the United Nations with a simple declaration: “President Assad, I’m here today to tell you that the long arm of international justice will catch up with you. Today you’re a brutal dictator killing men, women, and children in order to stay in power. But one day, in the not too distant future, we will catch up with you. You will be arrested for crimes against humanity and tried for your butchery and mass murder. It may not happen today or tomorrow. But I assure that you one day, in the not too distance future, in the dead of night when you least expect it, it will happen. Soldiers of civilized nations will apprehend you and take you to the International Court of Justice at The Hague where you will stand trial before the world for your cruelty. And you will be held accountable for your appalling crimes.”

Isn’t that what the UN is for? It’s bad enough that China, and especially Russia, are protecting Assad and refusing to allow international action against him. But the American president is the very symbol of democratic freedoms and human rights to the entire world. He dare not remain silent.

Atlantic columnist Jeffrey Goldberg recently reported that President Obama said that Israelis don’t know what’s good for them. Bibi wants to build in Jerusalem but doesn’t realize that he is isolating Israel further in the international community.

I appreciate the President’s concerns. No doubt Israelis are especially grateful for the American President’s ability to divine Israel’s security needs even better than their chosen leaders. But perhaps our President should focus less on construction of apartments and homes and do something instead about the bombs and rockets that are killings tens of thousands of innocent Arabs. Syria is arguably the greatest humanitarian crisis that President Obama has had on his watch and he is, respectfully, failing miserably in doing anything about it.

The Arab leaders have proven even less reliable. While President Morsi of Egypt decries Jews as descendants of apes and pigs, he seems fairly oblivious to the indiscriminate slaughter of his Arab brothers in Syria. But it’s become fairly obvious that it’s not the Jews who are the enemy but brutal Arab dictators who will kill as many Arabs as is necessary to stay in office.

The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa, seems much more interested in forking over to Al Gore half a billion dollars to buy Current TV for Al Jazeera than taking out full page ads in the worlds’ leading publications alerting them to the Arab children who are dying in Damascus.

In the book of Genesis God asks Cain where his brother Abel is. Cain has just killed him and in effort to protect himself famously asks, “Am I brother’s keeper?” God’s response is ferocious. “What have you done? Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground.”

We who witnessed the repeated genocides of the twentieth century –from Armenia and the Holocaust to Cambodia and Rwanda – will one day be called to account for our silence in the face of dead students and children.

Al Gore Gives Al Jazeera 40 Million US Homes, Taking $100 Million

Friday, January 4th, 2013

Al Gore, former politician, “founder” of the Internet, and Global Warming Guru has just traded entree into 40 million U.S. homes for $100 million from the Qatari-Royal-Family-Owned Arab media conglomerate Al Jazeera.  The operation will be called Al JazeeraAmerica.

The deal has left many questioning its kosher bona fides.

Perhaps the most traif aspect of the sale was the press release issued by Gore and his parter, Joel Hyatt, the co-founders of Current TV.  They wrote: “We are proud and pleased that Al Jazeera, the award-winning international news organization, has bought Current TV.” But the rest of the release bordered on self-parody, given that two multimillionaires were selling their ownership to a royal family which controls its citizens, and whose estimated worth is in the range of many $ billions.

Gore and his partner claimed they were selling their ownership to an entity that shares their views. Glenn Beck disclosed on Friday, January 4, that he reached out to Gore in an effort to acquire Current TV, but was rejected by Gore who said he wanted to “wanted to sell Current to someone ‘aligned’ with his values.”

The release by Gore and his partner described their efforts at Current Media as having been driven by a few central goals:

To give voice to those who are not typically heard; to speak truth to power; to provide independent and diverse points of view; and to tell the stories that no one else is telling. Al Jazeera, like Current, believes that facts and truth lead to a better understanding of the world around us.

The idea that Current TV, which was created by, and peopled by and for the progressive left is “a voice that is not typically heard,” is patently absurd.  The mainstream media in the United States is almost entirely by and for the “progressive left.”

But perhaps the claim that either Gore and Hyatt, or the Qatari royal family, will be speaking “truth to power” begs the question: who is “power” if not someone like Al Gore, a member of the metaphorical American Democratic Party’s royal family, or the Qatari Emirate and his family, who actually are royalty?

And then, of course, the stable of talent at Current TV ranged from left to further left, with “stars” like disgraced former New York Governor Elliot Spitzer, former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm – whose speech at the Democratic National Convention was so “animated” it set the twitter world aflame – and liberal lightening rod and former MSNBC anchor Keith Olbermann.

Gore and Hyatt may have been correct when they said they were selling to a like-minded outlet; but it is much harder to make the claim that the views represented on Current TV and Al Jazeera are either diverse or independent.

It should be noted that one former American reporter who worked at Al Jazeera said he left the network in 2008 because of “cultural issues.”  Dave Marash, who had worked at Nightline, left al Jazeera in part because he said he sensed an ‘anti-American’ bias there.

And then there’s the outcry that such a public supporter of increased taxes on the rich as Al Gore closed the deal just before the end of the year, which means that Gore’s tidy profit will not be subject to the  new tax increases those other “millionaires and billionaires” will have to pay.

But what is really inciting hysteria by critics of the deal is that a non-free non-Western media outlet will be pouring out its version of what constitutes news to a largely unsuspecting American public.  The reason this is so objectionable is that Al-Jazeera, unlike other state-owned media outlets such as the BBC, FRANCE 24, and Voice of America, does not reveal the state-ownership and censorship by Qatar.

As Elliot Abrams of the Council on Foreign Relations put it: “The answer is not censorship, but candor; if al-Jazeera were called Voice of Qatar, and clearly labeled as that nation’s international broadcaster, the situation would be clear to its viewers.”

While Gore and Hyatt have made out handsomely, Al Jazeera’s immediate payoff will not be financial.  In fact, according to the Wall Street Journal, Current TV had been struggling with low ratings for quite some time.

Only a Strong, United and Consolidated Israel Will Survive the Coming War against the Sunnis

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Every Israeli would say that the alliance between Hamas and Iranis strong and firm, based on the shared world-view between Palestinian Islamic zealots who are Sunni, and Iranian Islamist zealots, who are Shi’ite. Iran has even stronger affiliations with other organizations like Islamic Jihad and the Committees of Popular Resistance, than with Hamas. The anti-Israeli, anti-American and anti-West interest, that Iran shares with these organizations has allowed the world and Israeli politicians to place Iran, Hamas and the rest of the terror organizations into a single framework of Islamic terror.

But matters are not so simple. The conflict between the Sunnis and the Shi’ites, which began approximately 1350 years ago, continues in full strength and severity, and is expressed gruesomely today in the civil war that is currently grinding Syria into dust. The Shi’ite coalition of Iran, Iraq, Hizb’Allah and the Syrian regime is conducting an all-out war against the Sunni coalition of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, Jordan and Egypt, which supports the rebels against Asad, most of whom are Sunni, with all of its strength and means. The number of fatalities in the massacre, which has reached almost 50,000 men, women and children, as well as the Iranian involvement in the genocide in Syria, raises a question regarding the Islamic legality of collaboration between Shi’ite Iran and Palestinian organizations, which are Sunni.

A short historical background: The Muslim Arabs conquered Persia in the middle of the seventh century CE and imposed Islam on the Persian nation. In 1501, sociological and political turmoil brought a group of descendants of a sheikh by the name of Safi al-Din to power over the Persian population, and they forced Persia to adopt Shi’ite Islam. Even today, the Sunnis are angry that the Persians adopted Shi’a, because many Sunni Muslims, mainly the Saudi Hanbalis, see Shi’a as a type of heresy.

From the moment the Hamas movement began to depend on the money, weapons and political support of Iran, the question arose as to whether it is permissible for a Sunni to accept help from a Shi’ite, specifically from those who were Sunni until 500 years ago, and have switched affiliation.

Muhammad Asaad Bayud al-Tamimi, an Islamist from a family that is identified with radical Islam inSamaria, published an article this month on the subject, which was “adopted” by hundreds of internet sites. The title of the article: “A Covenant with the Safavid Shi’ites (Iran) is forbidden by Islam, and if someone engages in such a pact, he forfeits his status as a Muslim.” The title makes clear his position that collaborating withIran excludes a Muslim from Islam as if he had become a heretic and converted to another religion.
Nevertheless, it is important to note that many do not agree with al-Tamimi’s approach. They take the logical approach that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” and thus Sunnis may join hands with Shi’ite Iran in order to fight their common enemies.

It is also important to note that currently there are trends to bring Sunnis and Shi’ites closer together. The most eloquent spokesman for political Sunni Islam, Sheikh Yusuf al-Qaradawi, has called in the past for finding ways to bridge the differences between Sunna and Shi’a which were expressed in al-Tamimi’s article.

Ultimately, each organization decides for itself regarding this matter, and this decision may change over time: when Syria was an orderly state, there was no important reason for the leaders of Hamas to give up the support of Iran, but since the civil war broke out and the slaughter of Sunni citizens began as a result of demonstrations that began in March 2011, collaboration with Iran has become fairly problematic for Hamas. In his article, Tamimi calls on the last Palestinians who are still collaborating with Iran to leave it, and we must wait to see if this call falls on listening ears or will remain a solitary call in the desert. It depends on the desire of other states like Qatar,Saudi Arabia,Egypt or Turkey to support Palestinian organizations with weapons, money and political support.

Is this an impossible scenario? If the Marmara was possible then the possibility of similar developments in the future cannot be discounted. In the Middle East, several scenarios that seemed totally delusional two years ago are being played out today in front of our eyes. Slogans that politicians disseminate might become actual reality: if the Damascus regime falls, the image of Iran will become that of a loser; from under the carpet will come all of those sectarian anti-Shi’ite snakes that al-Tamimi fosters, the Sunni bloc will be encouraged and Israel – as we know – is not the favorite of Mursi, Erdogan and Sheikh Hamed of Qatar.

Since Israel announced that it plans to build in the area of E-1 between Jerusalem and Ma’aleh Adumim, a chorus of protest has arisen, led by Turkish President Abdullah Gül, who announced that “Israel is playing with fire.” Without getting too deeply into the Turkish announcement, nothing good can come from this, because this is Turkey’s way of encouraging Hamas, the ideological ally of the Islamic party that rules in Turkey, to do in Judea and Samaria what it has already done in the Gaza Strip since July of 2007: establish armed and aggressive Islamic emirates. Anyone who thinks or speaks about an Israeli withdrawal in Judea and Samaria must take into account that any area that Israel vacates might turn into a terror swamp, like Gaza. Can anyone promise it will not happen?

In facing a cohesive Sunni front, Israel must appear strong, united and consolidated behind its leadership which knows well that only those who are strong and invincible enjoy peace and stability in the Middle East.  In the arid, forsaken and violent area that we live in, if you beg for peace you get a kick in the behind and thrown out of the arena. Here, only he who is ready for war wins peace, and that peace will survive only as long as he presents a credible threat to anyone who dares to conspire to attack him. The Middle East is no place for bleeding hearts, rather it is for those of strong spirit, imbued with a sense of security and faith in the justice of their cause.

Al-Tamimi is an enemy who is not willing to give up his ideology for interests, no matter how important. The question for us is how much we stick to our ideology, and how ready we are to surrender it for other interests.

Originally published at Middle East and Terrorism

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/dr-mordechai-kedar/only-a-strong-united-and-consolidated-israel-will-survive-the-coming-war-against-the-sunnis/2012/12/19/

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