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July 29, 2016 / 23 Tammuz, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Saudi’

Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

   Israeli Mossad chief Meir Dagan paid a secret visit to Saudi Arabia in recent weeks to discuss the threat of Iran, according to informed Arab security sources.
 
   The security sources did not disclose specifics of the discussions except to say the topic was Iran, which is accused of building a nascent nuclear program.
 
   Saudi Arabia does not maintain an open diplomatic relationship with Israel. But the Sunni Muslim country, together with Egypt, Jordan and other so-called moderate countries, is threatened by the growing influence of Iran, dominated by Shiite Islam.
 
   There have been multiple reports of Saudi cooperation with Israel on the Iranian nuclear issue.
 
   In 2009, it was reported Dagan met Saudi intelligence officials to gain assurances that Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli jets violating Saudi airspace during any raid on Iran’s nuclear plans. Both governments denied the reports.
 
   In recent weeks, Internet rumors claimed Israel dropped off military equipment in Saudi Arabia. Some unsubstantiated reports even claimed Israel was building a secret military base in Saudi Arabia for use in a future conflict with Iran. Those reports are inaccurate, according to Israeli military officials speaking to this column.
 

   Still, Sunni Arab countries have not disguised their fear of a nuclear Iran. Earlier this month, the United Arab Emirates’s Washington ambassador publicly expressed support for a U.S. attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

 

PA Prepares For Israel Strike On Iran

 

   The Palestinian Authority has told its intelligence and security agencies to study the consequences of an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, this column has learned.
 
   The PA directed its intelligence agencies to prepare a study detailing the effect an Israeli strike on Iran would have on so-called Palestinian refugees in Iraq, Lebanon and Syria, according to Palestinian security sources.
 
   The sources said PA agencies also were told to prepare a security contingency plan for dealing with Iranian retaliation against Israel that would include Hamas and other Islamic groups launching attacks against Israel from both the Gaza Strip and the PA-patrolled West Bank.
 
   “Among other things, the PA is studying how to get refugees out of Lebanon if Israel retaliates there against Hizbullah,” said one security source.
 

   Israel has long feared that any strike on Iran would result in counterattacks against the Israeli home front by Iranian proxies, including Hizbullah in the north and Hamas in the south.

 

Obama’s ISNA Connection

 

   A religion adviser to President Obama has close ties to a radical Muslim group that was an unindicted co-conspirator in a scheme to raise money for Hamas. The group, the Islamic Society of North America, or ISNA, has an extensive relationship with the Obama administration.
 
   In February, Obama named a Chicago Muslim, Eboo Patel, to his Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships. Patel is the founder and executive director of Chicago-based Interfaith Youth Core, which claims to promote pluralism by teaming people of different faiths on service projects.
 
   Patel is listed on ISNA’s official speakers bureauand has written columns for the Washington Post and Huffington Post that promote ISNA events. 
 
   From his own comments, Patel apparently is a member of ISNA. Upon the August 2007 election of the group’s president, Ingrid Mattson, Patel told USA Today, “I’m proud to have her elected as my president.”
 

   Patel also served last year on a panel at ISNA’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. 

   ISNA relationship with the Obama administration began even before Obama took office. One week before last year’s presidential inauguration, Sayyid Syeed, national director of ISNA’s Office for Interfaith and Community Alliances, was part of a delegation that met with the directors of Obama’s transition team. The delegation discussed a request for an executive order ending “torture.”
 
   ISNA President Mattson represented American Muslims at Obama’s inauguration, where she offered a prayer during the televised event. Mattson also represented ISNA at Obama’s Ramadan dinner at the White House.
 
   In June 2009, Obama senior aide Valerie Jarrett invited Mattson to work on the White House Council on Women and Girls, which Jarrett leads.
 
   One month later, the Justice Department sponsored an information booth at an ISNA bazaar in Washington, D.C.
 
   Also that month, Jarrett addressed ISNA’s 46th annual convention. According to the White House, Jarrett attended as part of Obama’s outreach to Muslims.
 
   In February, President Obama’s top adviser on counter-terrorism, John Brennan, came under fire for controversial remarks he made in a speech to Muslim law students at New York University. The event was sponsored by ISNA.
 

   The ISNA, meanwhile, is an unindicted co-conspirator in the Holy Land Foundation case

   Discover the Networks notes ISNA, through its affiliate the North American Islamic Trust – a Saudi government-backed organization – reportedly holds the mortgages on 50 to 80 percent of all mosques in the U.S. and Canada.
 
   ISNA was founded in 1981 by the Saudi-funded Muslim Students’ Association. The two groups are still partners.
 
 
   ISNA was named in a May 1991 Muslim Brotherhood document as one of the Brotherhood’s likeminded “organizations of our friends” who shared the common goal of destroying America and turning it into a Muslim nation, according to Discover the Networks.
 
   Islam scholar Stephen Schwartz describes ISNA as “one of the chief conduits through which the radical Saudi form of Islam passes into the United States.”
 

   Also, ISNA has reportedly held fundraisers for terrorists. After Hamas leader Mousa Marzook was arrested and eventually deported in 1997, ISNA raised money for his defense. The group also has condemned the U.S. government’s post-9/11 seizure of Hamas’s and Palestinian Islamic Jihad’s financial assets.

 

   Aaron Klein is Jerusalem bureau chief and senior reporter for Internet giant WorldNetDaily.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York’s 770-WABC Radio, the largest talk radio station in the U.S., every Sunday between 2-4 p.m.

Aaron Klein

The United States And Saudi Arabia: A Foolish Alliance

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2007

First Published Under This Same Title By The Jewish Press On July 12, 1996

In view of major current developments concerning Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States (especially the recently-announced sale of billions of dollars of new advanced weapon systems to Saudi Arabia), this very early article by Professor Beres warrants another close look. One must wonder, as all of Professor Beres’ prior warnings on Saudi Arabia have now proved correct, why President Bush insists upon further arms for Riyadh. At a minimum, the president should be concerned that the monarchy could soon be overthrown by al-Qaeda and kindred Jihadist elements, a transfer of power that would give Islamist insurgents control over all of the latest advanced American weapons.

*July 12, 1996:

When Americans were killed in a cowardly terrorist attack in Saudi Arabia, their deaths were the inevitable result of Washington’s sustained obsequiousness to the Arab Kingdom. When the Saudis refused to extend perimeter security in the American housing complex, the Department of Defense quietly acquiesced. Now, even when it is already too late for our murdered countrymen and women, Saudi leaders remain effectively hostile to the United States and, of course, to Israel.

Contrary to widespread public perceptions, Saudi Arabia is not a “moderate” Arab state or a reliable American ally. Although it is certainly true that we need Saudi oil and Saudi purchases of American weapons, it is a need that has already begun to backfire. Over time, the misconceived relationship between Washington and Riyadh will encourage not only additional anti-American terrorism, but also far-reaching instability in the Middle East – instability leading to intermittent war.

A principal problem is Saudi Arabia’s irreversible and existential opposition to Israel. Make no mistake about it; “moderate” Riyadh wants Israel off the map. From the beginning, appearances notwithstanding (appearances encouraged by the Department of State), Saudi Arabia has effectively been a frontline enemy of the Jewish State. During Israel’s 1948-49 War of Independence, Saudi units fought against the Israel Defense Forces under Egyptian command. During the 1967 War, the Saudis deployed a brigade in eastern Jordan. In the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Saudi Kingdom quickly dispatched a brigade of troops to Syria. Although this history of active Saudi warfare against Israel is far less substantial than that undertaken by other Arab states, it is not insignificant. What is more, it is a history augmented by ongoing indirect warfare against the Jewish State.

After the 1991 Gulf War, Saudi Arabia supplied billions of dollars to Damascus, money used by Syria to fuel a superheated military buildup of both conventional and unconventional weapons. To date, this money, transferred with the blessings of Washington for Syrian “cooperation” in the 1991 war against Saddam Hussein, has purchased tactical ballistic missile launchers, SS-21 tactical ballistic missiles, improved versions of the SAM-6 and SAM-8 missiles, tactical C3I and electronic warfare systems, chemical warfare delivery systems and chemical warheads.

Saudi Arabia has also transferred weapons to Syria directly. These unauthorized transfers of U.S.-manufactured military equipment, which were directed as well to Iraq and to Bangladesh, were described by the Saudi authorities as “inadvertent.” Among the “inadvertent” transfers were an undisclosed number of 2,000-pound bombs. The inadvertence of this transfer would offer little comfort to those tens of thousands of Israeli citizens who may one day be targeted by these weapons.

Now, as for those U.S. weapons that remain in Saudi arsenals, an important question arises: What would Riyadh actually do with them? Clearly, despite its great wealth and potential, Saudi Arabia has never seriously prepared for its own defense. Unlike Israel – which, despite a chronic shortage of funds, usually stands up to its own enemies – Saudi Arabia depends entirely upon American soldiers, upon our blood. It is hardly a surprise, therefore, that U.S. arms sales to the Saudi Kingdom are generally about jobs in this country, and not about Saudi self-defense (the term is little better than an oxymoron).

Finally, it should be more generally understood in the United States that Saudi Arabia is theologically and doctrinally committed to the complete annihilation of Israel. Even before World War II, King Abd al Aziz ibn Sa’ud deplored “the strange hypnotic influence of the Jews, a race (sic) accursed by God according to His Holy Book, and destined to final destruction and eternal damnation.” Later, King Sa’ud informed a British visitor to his Court: “Verily, the word of God teaches us, and we implicitly believe it, that for a Muslim to kill a Jew, or for him to be killed by a Jew, ensures him an immediate entry into Heaven and into the august presence of God Almighty.”

King Feisal, in the tradition of his father, was known for his giving notorious anti-Semitic tracts, including a forgery called The Protocols Of The Elders Of Zion, to all visiting dignitaries. Presently, it is “moderate” Saudi Arabia that finances the bulk of Holocaust denial literature, much of which is written by American neo-Nazis.

Saudi Arabia is not a moderate Arab state. Although under continuous threat from regional Islamic fundamentalists, the Kingdom is already animated by the view that peace with Israel is impossible, and by close ties with Israel’s most unrelenting enemies. Moreover, these ties – over the next several years – will likely nurture various Islamic terror attacks against the United States.

Riyadh should not be discounted as a major source of regional aggression. While the Kingdom is assuredly not inclined to initiate war against Israel, it is inclined to do a great many things that would make such belligerency possible. And it will surely continue to clandestinely foment harms against its “dearly beloved” American allies.

Copyright The Jewish Press© July 12, 1996* and August 24, 2007.

LOUIS RENE BERES (Ph.D., Princeton, 1971) is the author of many books and articles dealing with Middle East security matters, including Security Or Armageddon: Israel’s Nuclear Strategy. He is Strategic and Military Affairs Analyst for The Jewish Press.

Louis Rene Beres

Letters To The Editor

Monday, April 2nd, 2007

Hurray For Hagee (I)
 
   I had tears in my eyes as I read Pastor John Hagee’s speech to AIPAC (front-page essay, March 30). Why is it that Bible-believing Christians seem to shine with such faith and certainty while even Orthodox rabbis (forget about Conservative, Reform and Reconstructionist) tend to speak in muted tones, full of nuance and shades of gray?
 
   I’ve often said that if it were possible to hook people up to a machine that gauged true faith and religious sincerity, fundamentalist Christians would put Orthodox Jews to shame. Most of us talk a good game, and we’ve got the rituals down pat, but in the face of adversity and trial we tend to become as anxiety-ridden and fearful as any atheist or agnostic. Our faith in Hashem suddenly is revealed for what it is – so much lip service, a necessary prelude to the gossip, schnapps and herring so many of us really come to shul for.
 

Harold Diamondstein

(Via E-mail)
 

 

Hurray For Hagee (II)

 
   I’m tempted to say that Rev. Hagee’s unabashed, unapologetic, full-throated defense of Israel should be required reading by every pulpit rabbi and Jewish organizational official in America. But then I recall reading in several news accounts of the AIPAC convention that while Rev. Hagee’s speech was generally well received, and at several points drew sustained ovations, his references to Torah and religion were met with mere scattered light applause and even awkward silence.
 
   Whether it’s an AIPAC conference or any other organizational event dedicated to Jewish or Israel causes, you can be sure the machers gathered there will be the types who are uncomfortable with, if not actually hostile to, religious belief. (I wonder how many of those who attended the AIPAC forum are intermarried.)
 
   As long as American Jewry remains the most secular religious/ethnic group in the country, devoted to every liberal cause under the sun and proudly disdainful of Orthodox Jews and believing Christians, all the AIPAC conferences in the world won’t help us as we intermarry and assimilate ourselves out of existence.
 

Miriam Schulweiss

New York, NY
 

 

Hurray For Hagee (III)
 
   Pastor Hagee should be lauded for his speech at the recent AIPAC policy conference. His fervent support for Israel and the Jewish people is most reassuring and appreciated.
 
   Despite the fact that Pastor Hagee’s speech was met with an enthusiastic reception by the AIPAC membership, when he said there is “the Torah way and then the wrong way,” the remark drew only a lukewarm response from the audience. It appears Pastor Hagee was one of the few people at the conference who actually embraces the teachings of the Torah.
 
   It’s clear that Pastor Hagee was the shining star at the AIPAC conference. This is a man who is not afraid to intone the name of God, to boldly and courageously call the enemies of the Jewish people evil perpetrators. This is a man who embraces God’s word and reveres the Torah. The AIPAC membership and the Jewish people can learn a valuable and important lesson from him.
 

Fern Sidman

Brooklyn, NY
 

 

Saudi Plan Spells Israel’s Demise

 

   Re Caroline Glick’s March 30 column (“The Saudi Plan To Destroy Israel”):

   Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saudi al-Faisal has declared that the “Lords of War” will decide Israel’s future if Israel does not accept the Saudi proposal that Israel return to its 1967 borders and that East Jerusalem will become the capital of a Palestinian State. It is reasonable to assume that Saudi Arabia intends “1967 borders” to mean that the Golan would be returned to Syria. The Saudi also said that every Arab country will formally recognize Israel if Israel accepts his offer.
 
   Sixty-nine years ago (1938), Hitler uttered almost the same words when he said that unless Germany were given the Sudetenland, Europe would face war. After the Munich pact was signed, Hitler’s said there would be decades of peace. Several months later, he started World War II by attacking Poland.
 
   The Saudi plan will have Hizbullah in its tunnels facing Israel from Lebanon, Syria in the Golan from where it fired artillery into Israel from 1948 until 1967, and the new State of Palestine with a government controlled by Hamas which has promised to destroy Israel.
 
   We should remember that the Palestine Liberation Organization’s constitution calling for the destruction of Israel was created three years before Israel had the West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. In addition, non-Arab Iran has publicly declared on many occasions that Israel must be destroyed.
 
   If any Israeli government agrees to the Saudi plan, it might as well negotiate Israel’s demise, because the implementation of the Saudi plan is tantamount to Israel’s destruction.
 

William K. Langfan

Palm Beach, FL
 

 

Thrilled With Glick

 
   I love the addition of Caroline Glick’s monthly column. I read her Jerusalem Post columns all the time, and was thrilled when she began writing columns especially for The Jewish Press. Her latest was carefully argued and, unfortunately, all too accurate in its assessment.
 
   One would have thought that after Oslo and the second Intifada, Jews, in Israel and elsewhere, would no longer be such suckers for Arab double talk and false promises of peace. Sadly, we are proving that the idea that Jews are smarter than other people is just a myth. For every Einstein, Freud and Salk, we have a thousand Olmerts, Beilins and Foxmans.
 

Paul Steinemann

(Via E-Mail)
 

 

Recognizing Mistakes
 
   I know it’s very difficult for both governments and people to admit they’ve made mistakes. So while a public admission by Israel that it made a mistake in Gaza is still not forthcoming, everyone now realizes that the forcible removal of thousands of Jews from Gush Katif and the four settlements in Samaria was a horrible error.
 
   The government itself now is trying to do things differently. The organizers of the recent march on Homesh succeeded in demonstrating to the good people of Tel Aviv, Hadera and all the areas in between how vulnerable they would be even to a non-nuclear rocket attack from Homesh – which dominates the area so completely that any rocket launching from the area could perhaps annihilate the entire coastal plain.
 
   Things have changed in Israel. What people could not comprehend two years ago they now seem to fully understand. There can be no peace at any price. The people of Israel are brothers. The divisions that separate us are not as important as the fact that we are all marching together in this great historical journey of the Jewish people.
 

   Our destiny is to be together, even if we march under our own separate banners as the Tribes of Israel did. We must never separate. We are the children of Israel and both this season of freedom and the hope of Eretz Yisrael should unite us as never before.

Toby Willig

Jerusalem

 

 

Moment Of Silence

 

   I was impressed with Rabbi Shea Hecht’s article on the importance of a moment of silence being implemented in public schools (“A Silent But Effective Crimebuster,” op-ed, March 23). Aside from the halachic directive to promote fulfillment of the Seven Noahide Laws, Rabbi Hecht quotes evidence that this indeed seems to have made a difference in juvenile behavior in the states where it is mandated.
 
   I would like to congratulate The Jewish Press for carrying the article, and for covering this issue.
 

Rabbi Shmuel Lew

London, UK


 

 

Torah Without Derech Eretz

 

      There’s an Orthodox shul two houses from my home. When congregants enter the shul, their parked cars occasionally block access to my driveway or the driveways of my Jewish and gentile neighbors. The halachas that are trampled on by such behavior are too numerous to mention in this short letter, but here are a few that come to mind: breaking the law of the land; committing a chillul Hashem; and causing a sakanah because injury or even death can occur if someone can’t get his car out in an emergency.
 
      What if a driveway is that of a Hatzolah member who has to rush to an emergency, or a man who has to rush his child to the hospital, or just a person needing to drive to work to earn his parnassah? Do these congregants want to wait until someone dies before they repent?
 
      Additionally, the mitzvah of prayer that they are so eager to pursue is nullified, since a mitzvah cannot be obtained though an aveirah. Halachically, they would be better off if they both didn’t daven and didn’t block people’s driveways.
 
      When illegal parking occurs, I contact the police. I also perform the mitzvah of rebuke by telling congregants how sinful it is to illegally park their cars this way. They respond by mocking me, laughing at me, and even accusing me of not having a Jewish heart because I called the police.
 
      This is not just an issue between a congregant and God, it’s also an issue between people. This is not just an aveirah that can be forgiven by prayer on Kol Nidre night, as a sin against one’s fellow man must first be forgiven by the aggrieved party before it is forgiven by Hashem.
 

      These congregants not only lack the decency to speak up to fellow congregants to stop this illegal parking, they don’t have the fiber to defend the halacha they profess to follow.

      So what is one to do? I can only speak for myself – to stay close to Hashem I must stay away from shuls like this (which, unfortunately, are quite numerous) and from the people in them.
 

Harvey Bookman

Brooklyn, NY

Letters to the Editor

The Saudi Plan For Israel’s Destruction

Wednesday, March 28th, 2007

      Is peace breaking out in the Middle East?

 

      The past week has been characterized by feverish diplomacy regarding the Arab-Israel conflict. The sheer scope of the meetings that have taken place – from the shuttle diplomacy of Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, to the conference of Arab League foreign ministers in Egypt last weekend to the summit of Arab leaders in Saudi Arabia on Wednesday – one would think that peace is just a stone’s throw away.

 

      All the various meetings have centered on the so-called Arab Peace Plan, or as it is more commonly known, the Saudi initiative.

 

      Earlier this month Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced, “The Saudi initiative must be taken seriously,” and then claimed that it had “positive aspects.” Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni also warmly praised the plan. Rice has led the Bush administration in embracing the plan and applauding the Saudis for their “moderation” and their positive role in advancing the cause of peace in the region. In talks with Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Ghreit on Sunday, Rice went so far as to intimate that the U.S. now views the plan as the basis for peace making between Israel and the Palestinians.

 

      But frenetic discussions aside, there is no chance whatsoever that the Saudi initiative will bring peace to the region or end the Arab world’s conflict with Israel.

 

      The Saudi initiative was concocted in February 2002 as a public relations stunt on the part of then-crown prince and now King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. At the time, Saudi-U.S. relations were at an all-time low. Fifteen of the 19 hijackers on September 11, 2001 were Saudi citizens and in the months following that act of war against America, the media exposed Saudi Arabia’s massive role in financing the global jihad through direct aid to terror groups and the establishment of jihadist mosques and schools from Pakistan to Peoria to Paris.

 

      Attempting to reassert their importance as an ally to Washington, the Saudi government wanted badly to change the subject. What better way to divert attention from their central role in the global jihad, whose forces openly called for the destruction of the U.S. and of the Western world, than by taking on the role of peacemaker in the Middle East between Israel and the Palestinians?

 

      Here too, it is important to remember the context of events.

 

      In February 2002, the Saudi-financed Palestinian jihad against Israel was reaching a fever pitch. Suicide bombings had become a daily occurrence. Indeed, in March 2002, some 130 Israeli citizens were murdered in terror attacks that culminated with the Passover massacre at the Park Hotel in Netanya where 30 Israelis celebrating the seder were murdered by a suicide bomber.

 

      It was at this time that Abdullah (breaking his monarchy’s law that bars Jews from entering the kingdom) invited New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman for a visit to Riyadh. During their meeting, Abdullah suggested that were Israel to return all the land it took control over in the 1967 Six-Day War, including Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, Judea, Samaria and Gaza, the Arab world would consider normalizing its relations with Israel.

 

      The next month, the Arab League convened in Beirut. The meeting took place the day after the Passover massacre (and on the same day that a conference of international terror chiefs was convening in the city). At the summit, the Arab heads of state made a number of changes to Abdullah’s offer to Friedman and then adopted it as the Arab peace plan.

 

      The plan that was announced at the time – and it has not changed in the intervening five years – involves more than Israel’s surrender of all the lands it liberated in 1967.The plan also demands that Israel accept some 4-5 million foreign-born Arabs, (otherwise known as Palestinian “refugees”) as immigrants. The Arab League’s plan stipulates that after Israel completes the withdrawals and enables these foreign, overwhelmingly hostile Arabs to immigrate, the Arab world will agree to have “regular” relations with it.

 

      Five years ago, Israel rejected the plan completely, and reasonably so. Far from a “peace plan,” it is a recipe for Israel’s destruction. Without the lands that the plan requires Israel to surrender to the Palestinians and the Syrians, Israel is incapable of defending itself from invasion. The Arab peace plan, in other words, requires that Israel render itself indefensible.

 

      Moreover, the demand that Israel allow the unimpeded immigration of millions of hostile Arabs is simply another way of saying that Israel must agree to allow itself to be overrun and so demographically destroyed.

 

      Finally, the plan’s statement that in response to these suicidal steps by Israel the Arab world will agree to have “regular” relations with it is itself meaningless because the term “regular” is an empty one.

 

      All in all, the Arab “peace” plan is nothing but a blueprint for Israel’s destruction.

 

      Given its content, it should surprise no one that the plan makes no mention of terrorism and places no demand on the Palestinians to end their terror war against Israel or on the Arab world to end its financial and other support for the Palestinian war.

 

      Then too, the plan makes no mention of holding negotiations with Israel; of ending the Arab economic boycott of Israel; or of ending the jihadist incitement that has indoctrinated the current generation of Palestinians and Muslims worldwide to seek Israel’s violent destruction.

 

      And the “peace” plan makes no mention of the possibility that the Arab world would recognize the Jewish people’s right to a state in the Land of Israel and thereupon open diplomatic relations with the Jewish state.

 

      The main question is why the Americans and Israelis are participating in this dangerous farce. As former U.S. Middle East negotiator Aaron Miller commented to The New York Times regarding Rice’s embrace of the plan, “She really has tied her personal credibility to this issue in a way that most normal political observers would say, ‘Is she nuts?

 

      The sanity of Rice and Olmert and Livni is not the issue. Rather, it is their strategic wisdom that seems to be sorely lacking. Perhaps they believe that if they are perceived as advancing the prospects of peace by clinging to the Arab plan for Israel’s destruction they will receive a needed, if momentary, boost in their popularity ratings. If that’s what’s moving them to act, it is a shame.

 

      For the simple truth is that this plan, as was the case with all the previous failed “peace” initiatives between Israel and its neighbors, places the burden for solving the Middle East’s problems on the principal victim of those problems – Israel – rather than on the Arab governments, like Saudi Arabia, that are responsible for them.

 

      Not only is the plan doomed to fail, it will cause the deaths of untold numbers of Israelis who will be killed because neither Rice nor Olmert nor Livni is honest enough to admit that Saudi Arabia is neither a moderate nor a peaceful nation.

 

      Caroline Glick is deputy managing editor of The Jerusalem Post. Her Jewish Press-exclusive column appears the last week of each month. 

Caroline B. Glick

Title: Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Survival in a Saudi Prison

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Title: Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Survival in a Saudi Prison
Author: William Sampson
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart

 

 

    It’s hard to believe, but nearly five years have passed since 19 radical Islamists carried out the devastating terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, a great deal has been written about the nefarious role played by Saudi Arabia in bankrolling and fomenting anti-Western violence and instability. After all, once it became clear that 15 of the September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, it was only natural that the secretive desert kingdom and its policy of exporting extremism would come under greater public and international scrutiny.

 

      But while Westerners now have a better idea of the threat posed by Saudi-funded fanaticism, we still know precious little about the inner workings of one of the Arab world’s most repressive and autocratic regimes.

 

      This, of course, is partly due to willful ignorance. With the U.S. and European economies heavily reliant on the crude oil that Saudi Arabia produces, many Western decision makers prefer not to ask too many questions about pesky matters such as freedom, human rights and the rule of law.

 

      Indeed, as author and former CIA Middle East operative Robert Baer has suggested, America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia resembles a “dependence that’s so strong it’s almost like a narcotic.” And as he notes ruefully: “You don’t question the pusher.”

 

      But a gruesome new book by William Sampson, a Canadian engineer who also holds British citizenship, may begin to change all that. InConfessions of an Innocent Man, Sampson recounts his harrowing incarceration by Saudi officials for nearly three years on trumped-up charges of involvement in a string of bombings in Riyadh. His tale is raw and gripping, and serves as a damning indictment of Saudi Arabia and its regime, which does not hesitate to use pain, torture and wanton abuse to further its interests.

 

      Sampson, who holds a PhD in biochemistry and an MBA from Edinburgh University, arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1998 to work as a consultant on water projects for a development fund based in Riyadh. He joined the large expatriate community and went about his life and work in a diligent, if somewhat subdued, fashion. But a series of bombings targeting Westerners, most likely the work of Islamic fundamentalists or their sympathizers, sent shock waves throughout the expatriate community. Unwilling to admit they had an internal problem on their hands, the Saudi authorities looked for foreign scapegoats on whom to pin the blame. Sampson, unfortunately, fit the bill.

 

      And so, on December 17, 2000, Sampson was abducted by Saudi police, who tossed him into a car and beat him. Before he knew it, he was taken to prison and accused of masterminding the wave of attacks, as his jailers tossed aside even his most basic rights in a frenzy of violence and cruelty.

 

      Sampson was thrown into solitary confinement, deprived of sleep for days and mercilessly beaten until he passed out. Sampson’s torturers gradually turned up the physical and psychological pressure, determined to force him to confess. He struggled to hold out, not wishing to own up to something he knew to be false while afraid he would be made to implicate friends and colleagues in the imaginary plot.

 

      But after several days of hell, Sampson accepted the futility of resistance and agreed to confess to whatever his guards had in mind. He was forced to write out a long and absurd confession that his tormentors later required him to amend and re-write as they arrested other innocents and spun a wider web of fictional conspiracies.

 

      The reader can’t help but grieve with Sampson, who berates himself for “betraying” some of his fellow expatriates. Although he had little choice in the matter, he is racked by guilt at the thought that others might have suffered because of his actions.

 

      But the forced confessions do not spare Sampson from further mistreatment, which rapidly descends to new forms of depravity. Sampson is assaulted with axe handles and canes, transforming his genitals, legs and feet into painful pulps of flesh.

 

      In one of the most excruciating parts of the book, Sampson’s Saudi interrogators rape him and then compel him to consume his own excrement, adding painful insult to grievous injury.

 

      At times, the book is truly difficult to read, as it graphically describes the physical and mental agony to which Sampson was subjected. With inhuman glee, the Saudi officers inflict sadistic and ultimately pointless anguish on this brave and sensitive man. Page after page, the horror continues, seemingly without end.

 

      Western diplomats occasionally met with Sampson, but they come across as weak and entirely unconcerned about his fate, prompting his well justified scorn. Eventually, however, Sampson develops his own mechanism for coping, as he attempts to reassert an element of control – however minute – over his own life. He taunts his jailers, defying their orders and occasionally fighting back, in the process salvaging not only his sense of self, but a shred of dignity. He plays pranks on the guards, which in any other context would seem downright childish, such as making them step unwittingly in his urine. But given Sampson’s circumstances, they manage to come across as acts of defiance.

 

      In August 2003, Sampson was suddenly released in a prisoner exchange after an escalating series of bombings in Saudi Arabia made his innocence patently clear. But while a 2005 British inquest formally declared him innocent of the spurious Saudi charges, Sampson now finds himself battling the British government for the right to sue his Saudi tormentors.


      Even after what Saudi Arabia did to one of its citizens, Her Majesty’s government would rather hush the whole thing up, preferring to protect the torturers than seek justice for the tortured.

 

      Whether Sampson will prevail in his legal battle remains unclear. But one thing is certain. He has written a searing account of Saudi injustice and of Western governmental complicity. However trying it might be to read his story, Sampson’s cry for justice is one that must be heard.

Michael Freund

Title: Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Survival in a Saudi Prison

Wednesday, August 9th, 2006

Title: Confessions of an Innocent Man: Torture and Survival in a Saudi Prison
Author: William Sampson
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart
 
 
    It’s hard to believe, but nearly five years have passed since 19 radical Islamists carried out the devastating terrorist attacks against the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. Not surprisingly, a great deal has been written about the nefarious role played by Saudi Arabia in bankrolling and fomenting anti-Western violence and instability. After all, once it became clear that 15 of the September 11 hijackers were Saudi nationals, it was only natural that the secretive desert kingdom and its policy of exporting extremism would come under greater public and international scrutiny.
 
      But while Westerners now have a better idea of the threat posed by Saudi-funded fanaticism, we still know precious little about the inner workings of one of the Arab world’s most repressive and autocratic regimes.
 
      This, of course, is partly due to willful ignorance. With the U.S. and European economies heavily reliant on the crude oil that Saudi Arabia produces, many Western decision makers prefer not to ask too many questions about pesky matters such as freedom, human rights and the rule of law.
 
      Indeed, as author and former CIA Middle East operative Robert Baer has suggested, America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia resembles a “dependence that’s so strong it’s almost like a narcotic.” And as he notes ruefully: “You don’t question the pusher.”
 
      But a gruesome new book by William Sampson, a Canadian engineer who also holds British citizenship, may begin to change all that. InConfessions of an Innocent Man, Sampson recounts his harrowing incarceration by Saudi officials for nearly three years on trumped-up charges of involvement in a string of bombings in Riyadh. His tale is raw and gripping, and serves as a damning indictment of Saudi Arabia and its regime, which does not hesitate to use pain, torture and wanton abuse to further its interests.
 
      Sampson, who holds a PhD in biochemistry and an MBA from Edinburgh University, arrived in Saudi Arabia in 1998 to work as a consultant on water projects for a development fund based in Riyadh. He joined the large expatriate community and went about his life and work in a diligent, if somewhat subdued, fashion. But a series of bombings targeting Westerners, most likely the work of Islamic fundamentalists or their sympathizers, sent shock waves throughout the expatriate community. Unwilling to admit they had an internal problem on their hands, the Saudi authorities looked for foreign scapegoats on whom to pin the blame. Sampson, unfortunately, fit the bill.
 
      And so, on December 17, 2000, Sampson was abducted by Saudi police, who tossed him into a car and beat him. Before he knew it, he was taken to prison and accused of masterminding the wave of attacks, as his jailers tossed aside even his most basic rights in a frenzy of violence and cruelty.
 
      Sampson was thrown into solitary confinement, deprived of sleep for days and mercilessly beaten until he passed out. Sampson’s torturers gradually turned up the physical and psychological pressure, determined to force him to confess. He struggled to hold out, not wishing to own up to something he knew to be false while afraid he would be made to implicate friends and colleagues in the imaginary plot.
 
      But after several days of hell, Sampson accepted the futility of resistance and agreed to confess to whatever his guards had in mind. He was forced to write out a long and absurd confession that his tormentors later required him to amend and re-write as they arrested other innocents and spun a wider web of fictional conspiracies.
 
      The reader can’t help but grieve with Sampson, who berates himself for “betraying” some of his fellow expatriates. Although he had little choice in the matter, he is racked by guilt at the thought that others might have suffered because of his actions.
 
      But the forced confessions do not spare Sampson from further mistreatment, which rapidly descends to new forms of depravity. Sampson is assaulted with axe handles and canes, transforming his genitals, legs and feet into painful pulps of flesh.
 
      In one of the most excruciating parts of the book, Sampson’s Saudi interrogators rape him and then compel him to consume his own excrement, adding painful insult to grievous injury.
 
      At times, the book is truly difficult to read, as it graphically describes the physical and mental agony to which Sampson was subjected. With inhuman glee, the Saudi officers inflict sadistic and ultimately pointless anguish on this brave and sensitive man. Page after page, the horror continues, seemingly without end.
 
      Western diplomats occasionally met with Sampson, but they come across as weak and entirely unconcerned about his fate, prompting his well justified scorn. Eventually, however, Sampson develops his own mechanism for coping, as he attempts to reassert an element of control – however minute – over his own life. He taunts his jailers, defying their orders and occasionally fighting back, in the process salvaging not only his sense of self, but a shred of dignity. He plays pranks on the guards, which in any other context would seem downright childish, such as making them step unwittingly in his urine. But given Sampson’s circumstances, they manage to come across as acts of defiance.
 

      In August 2003, Sampson was suddenly released in a prisoner exchange after an escalating series of bombings in Saudi Arabia made his innocence patently clear. But while a 2005 British inquest formally declared him innocent of the spurious Saudi charges, Sampson now finds himself battling the British government for the right to sue his Saudi tormentors.

      Even after what Saudi Arabia did to one of its citizens, Her Majesty’s government would rather hush the whole thing up, preferring to protect the torturers than seek justice for the tortured.
 

      Whether Sampson will prevail in his legal battle remains unclear. But one thing is certain. He has written a searing account of Saudi injustice and of Western governmental complicity. However trying it might be to read his story, Sampson’s cry for justice is one that must be heard.

Jason Maoz

The Times Is Still At It

Friday, June 20th, 2003

In its May 14 and May 18 editions, The New York Times demonstrated that its pro-Arab/anti-Israel bias continues to drive its treatment of the Middle East.

“Death In Riyadh” was the title the Times gave its May 14 editorial on the recent suicide bombings in the Saudi capital. Not murder, not killing, which would have drawn attention to
the heinousness of the deeds of the perpetrators, but the more neutral death, which points to the victims.

“The attacks,” the Times went on to say,  were aimed at several compounds that house
Westerners working in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Within the walls of the compounds, non-Muslims are able to replicate something akin to the lifestyles they had back home…. But Islamic fundamentalists have always been affronted by the enclaves, and for terrorists, the compounds serve as a handy symbol of the modern western culture they despise….

Many in the Western world will always view the tragedy as being about America, but to the people who carried it out, the terrorist attack was as much about Saudi Arabia….and [the terrorists’] … anger at the Saudi government’s alliance with non-Muslim Western nations.

The Bush administration hopes to replace that story with a new one, involving democracy, economic opportunity and liberty. It would begin with a new era in Iraq, the road to peace in Israel and increasing democratization in other Arab nations. Right now, with chaos in Baghdad and foot- dragging by Israel, that path looks treacherous. But it is the best current chance
for a way out, toward a future in which suicide attacks on innocent civilians will be understood by Muslims around the world not as a form of political protest, but as utter insanity. [Italics added.]

So for the Times, the answer to fundamentalist Arab terrorists who target the civilized world lies in understanding what upsets them and removing the irritants. Maybe then they will be induced to stop killing people. President Bush’s Operation Iraqi Freedom was misguided and counterproductive and Israel’s insistence that the Palestinians stop murdering its citizens is an
impediment to peace.

Last Sunday, on the eve of what was supposed to be the summit meeting between President Bush and Prime Minister Sharon to discuss the “road map,” the Times carried a story on the front page of its “Week in Review” section about MK Benny Elon’s vision of a Palestinian state in Jordan, that is, without the West Bank. Elon’s vision is not, publicly at least, supported by most Israelis, and Prime Minister Sharon has stated that he accepts the notion of a Palestinian state that includes at least part of the West Bank. Yet Elon is identified as a minister in Mr. Sharon’s government and the latter is speculated to be mulling over the possibilities of Elon’s plan, given the support such an approach would draw from the Christian Right, an important constituency of Mr. Bush’s.

Was it mere happenstance that the Times was giving such prominence to a story that could not
but put into question Israel’s credibility with President Bush? We think not. As is apparent from the layout of the front page of the “Week in Review” section (see accompanying photo), the Times went to what has to be an unprecedented length to attach significance to the story. How else to explain why the empty space on the page above the article is almost three times that allotted to the article itself?

Editorial Board

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/editorial/the-times-is-still-at-it/2003/06/20/

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