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Saturday, February 19, 2011

The New Dark Ages?

Are the events occuring in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere in the Middle East a precursor life as it will be in the 21st Century? Will we see the similar events spreading to Europe and then onto the Americas? I believe there is a distinct possibility.

What we are seeing in the "democratic" revolts are people who have been under the thumb of dictators and despots for some time. The people see what the world has to offer through the electronic media that is available today and they want the same things that Europeans and Americans have. However, my question is-- will these people have the patience to let the flower of democracy grow and bloom or will they become impatient with the process and turn to someone or some group that will promise democracy but will turn against them when they gain power.

Democracy as practiced in most of the western world is a messy process. It relies on discussion and compromise. Very rarely does either side get everything they want. There always is a bit of dissatisfaction with any result since "it was the best we could get." We who are familiar with the process, accept it as part of the way we govern. For those who are new to democracy, soon become frustrated with the sloppiness of how the system works.

Additionally, our system of government does not work quickly. It is deliberate, it is contemplative and it does provide instant answers. The concern with these new democracy movements is that they seem to want things to change instantly. "Yesterday we had a despot, today we want our freedom" seems to be the thinking. Most functioning democracies rely upon a Constitution, laws and a government to carry out those laws. This does not occur overnight.

So what happens when these movements realize that democracy is not easy and that a working government takes time and visionary leadership. Will they give it the time and more importantly, will the leadership rise to the top?

In a word, no. The "instant democracy" has never occurred. In the United States, we had to do it twice before we got it right. We started with the Articles of Confederation which failed after 11 years and was replaced with our current Constitution. However, even the new Constitution had to be immediately amended with the Bill of Rights to make it palatable to the individual states.

It takes time and patience to make a democracy work. The people of the Middle East will not give it the time to work. For example, Egypt in its 5000 year history has had a democracy only a handful of years. They are not experienced with democracy as their history is one of being told what to do by whomever is the ruler of the day.

So what will happen? It appears that Egypt will follow the Iranian model in that a strong leader or leaders will arise and say the right things. They will speak eloquently about freedom and democracy while sowing the seeds of their own dictatorship. Once they consolidate their power, any hope for democracy will end.

The irony is that most of the leaders in the "new democracy" countries will be Muslim. Sharia Law will be the rule of the land. Democracy as we know it will not exist. Essentially, the Middle East, other than Israel, will descend into the 12th century thinking of Islam.

Once these new leaders have consolidated their power in their individual countries, they will look elsewhere to spread their form of "democracy." We will see it spread to Europe and maybe the Scandanvian countries. American "progressives" will pontificate on the need to become "one with the world" and that we should not be the lone country that does not acknowledge Sharia.

Sharia is not the answer to the world's problems, it is the problem. How can a world progress when women have NO rights, where religious leaders run the government, where people who are not Muslim are less than human? This is not democracy, this is not where everyone can gain depending upon their own abilities, and this is not a place where you can worship any got you so desire.

However, this is the world we will be facing unless there are strong measures taken to prevent it. If we, as citizens of the world, want the world to continue to improve, we cannot stand for Islam's march. If we do not, Islam will take over the world and the world as we know it will disappear. We will then return to the Dark Ages. I for one do not want that to occur. Do you?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Obama's Islam Strategy

For those of us who have thought that Obama was a blundering fool when it came to foreign policy and that he was the second coming of Jimmy Carter when we think of our dealings with other nations, the following article by Dr. Mordechai Nisan puts an entirely different spin on the entire issue.

Could it be the Middle East and north African riots are the result of his strategy? Is this what Obama really wants? Could Obama's goal to be the leader of an Islamic world?

We know his father was Muslim. We also know that he has not been a regular attendee of any religious services, in fact, I cannot ever remember him attending any, but I could be wrong. He did bow down to the King of Saudi Arabia, what did that mean?

Read this article, I would like to know what you think.

Obama'a painfully obvious agenda
Godfather of Islamic Revolution?

By Dr. Mordechai Nisan,
Israel national

Barack Hussein Obama may be the godfather of the Islamic revolution. The tempo and turmoil of regional events fit his agenda, and may be a result of his policies.

Radical transforming political developments in the Middle East and North Africa have given rise to criticism over the failure of President Obama's foreign policy. Pro-American regimes, as in Tunisia and Egypt, have virtually been toppled by mass protest in the name of ending corruption and nepotism, and demanding liberty and democracy, economic justice and social welfare for lower impoverished classes.

Other regional leaders, like King Abdullah in Jordan, are targeted by popular opposition, and in Lebanon the Western-oriented Hariri government has been brought down. The U.S.-supported Palestinian Abu Mazen regime has come on hard times, with the Qatari Al-Jazeera campaign undermining its political legitimacy. Iran-supported Hamas is the beneficiary of this development.

This political collapse in the Middle East is seen as a colossal defeat for Obama and American interests. Washington's allies have fallen, or are tottering, and hopes for moderation and stability seem to be shattered.

Obama's True Agenda

Since entering the White House, Obama has been transparent in promoting his views and policies. In the domestic arena, he favors construction of a large mosque near Ground Zero though a majority of Americans oppose this controversial step; he favored a civilian trial for 9/11 terror planner Khalid Sheikh Mohammad despite popular views to the contrary; and he refused to describe the Fort Hood killing spree of thirteen soldiers by Muslim major Nidal Malik Hasan as a crime inspired by Islam.

The elevated status of Islam in America was already announced at Obama's inaugural address when he referred to America as a nation of "Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus." The Jews had been surpassed by Muslims in the politico-religious hierarchy, while later Obama speaking in the name of America stated that "We are no longer a Christian nation." A clear instance of Islamic prioritization occurred when NASA's new mandate was ordered by Obama to be outreach to Muslim countries, and to make them feel good about their contribution to science.

In world politics, Obama promised that America will never go to war against Islam. His first presidential visits to Cairo and Ankara illustrated his exceptional friendship for Muslim countries; he avoided visiting Jerusalem. His sanctions campaign against Iran was sluggish and his support for the reformist protest following the June 2009 elections muted. The ayatollahs could relax with Obama in the White House.

Meanwhile, Obama has now sent an ambassador to Damascus to restore relations with that rogue state that has been allowing Iran and Hizbullah to freely engage in weapons smuggling across Syria's border into Lebanon. Recently on Obama's watch, the Iranian republic's surrogate terrorist subsidiary brought down the elected pro-Western government in Beirut.

And now we have reports that Washington was even involved earlier in supporting anti-Mubarak forces in Egypt, and when the massive street protests erupted in late January, Obama's administration advised him to act with restraint and initiate reforms. This is a historical playback to Carter helping deliver Iran under the shah into the hands of ayatollah Khomeini.

Obama's Islamic Paradigm Policy

There are different explanations of Obama's policies and goals in the region. Some say he is poorly advised or that he is politically naive. Perhaps he lacks judgment on strategic and political affairs in this rough Middle Eastern arena of precarious relations and duplicitous promises.

But a paradigm which fits Obama's record suggests that the tempo and turmoil of regional events fit his agenda, and may be a result of his policies. As a son of a Muslim father, Obama is on course to promote Islamization at home and abroad. In the Middle East, where popular religious forces threaten authoritarian regimes, Obama has placed America on the side of Islam. His is a historical role in furthering the expansion of radical Sharia Islam from his Oval Office in Washington. Hamas, while defined as a terrorist organization, received U.S. aid for the Gaza Strip under its rule.

Obama's agenda is succeeding brilliantly with the very list of events considered his failures in foreign policy in fact, highlighting his successes. Islamic takeovers in Lebanon and perhaps Egypt, maybe in Tunisia and Yemen, then Jordan, fulfill his vision in full glow. Thus, Egypt as a base of American strategy in the Middle East may be replaced by Egypt as a foundation for the spread of radical Islam in the world. When Obama bowed before the King of Saudi Arabia in April 2009, he was not showing respect for the monarchy but deference to the Guardian of the Holy Cities of Islam. Maybe over a few generations Washington will be added, along with Rome, to the list of Islamic sacred sites.

It is Obama's radical liberalism and political leftism that bamboozle an appreciation of his Islamic agenda. After all, his support or sympathy for homosexuality and gay marriage, certainly abortion, is incongruent with Islamic law and custom. Yet President Obama stands simultaneously for Islamand liberalism, and the radical rupturing of traditional America can dialectically advance the process over the long-run for the victory of Islam. A morally fractured and spiritually distraught America will lead more of its young people, as is already happening, to embrace Islam. So too, Obama's call for liberty and democracy in the Arab world, as in Egypt, can enable the revolution by Islam.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

A Militarymans View of Egypt

I am looking for articles which help all of us understand what is happenning in Egypt. This article by LTC Joseph Myers presents some interesting viewpoints. His view comes from experience and I believe is worth reading.

The bottom line is that no one can make an accurate prediction of the upcoming events that will transpire in Egypt. Will it evolve into a democracy or devolve into an Islamic state like Iran? One thing is for sure, the U.S. government apparatus has NO idea of what is coming. They did not see Iran in 1979 and now they do not see what is occurring in Tunisia or Egypt. Why? The State Department is filled with anti-American, anti-Israel, progressives who have no common sense and could not forecast the time of arrival of a train when it is a quarter mile away.

It makes no difference who the Secretary of State is or the President for that matter. The State Department has its own agenda and it is not a positive one in the view of most patriotic Americans. The people who inhabit the department come from a viewpoint that they know better than the politicians. In reality, they have been a horrendous failure. Whether it was Pearl Harbor, Cuba, Iran or Egypt. They did not understand what was occurring on the ground and failed to give adequate warnings to our leaders.

What are we to do when government personnel continue to fail? Should we continue to pay them for bad information? Should those in charge of the intelligence apparatus be held responsible? How about the analysts themselves? I think it is time that we expect more from those who are being paid to provide intelligence. If they fail, they should be demoted or fired.

Please let me know what you think.

Democratic, Oligarchic or Islamic Revolution in Egypt?
LTC Joseph C. Myers - American Thinker, February 14th, 2011

President Obama's remarks about Egypt were somewhat detached from the reality of the situation, trying to seize an event and give it historical significance, applying the notion that this was some historical moment of “freedom.” Essentially what occurred was a palace coup. Mubarak was pushed out by the military and the end result is that a military “junta” has now assumed control of the government of Egypt. It remains to be seen if this is a moment for freedom or democracy.

The Egyptian military leadership is an oligarchy, and how much they will allow constitutional changes for greater democratic space is yet to be seen. So far they have suspended the Egyptian constitution and dissolved the parliament and will plan for elections in six months. For sure they will not want the Muslim Brotherhood to have much if any governing role; if they do, that will begin to put Egypt on a slow track to an Islamist state and directly impact their stakeholder interests.

While I can take short term comfort in the fact the military is maintaining order and not allowing Egypt to devolve into chaos, and our national security pundits are breathing a sigh of relief that the Army and military remain our “friends,” I have also seen the rapid impacts revolutionary changes and elections can have on military institutions as well.

Venezuela and Argentina both were closely aligned to the US and to the US military until elections changed all of that, in some cases almost overnight.

Chavez has over the years converted his military into a sycophantic, political crony institution and pushed out any Americanophiles, institutionalizing anti-Americanism and cozying up to Iran and China.

Kirchner appointed a junior and politically loyal (to him) officer to be the Army commander who essentially decapitated the senior military leadership, erased 3 years of my efforts and programs in the Military Group and key institutional relations, and began to usher in a new generation of military leaders not aligned to the US, to Southcom, and to our War Colleges.

…and of course there is the example of Iran.

So a lot rides on the Egyptian military and Army. Can they maintain praetorian control of the political transition and institutions, as does the Turkish Army? Or do they allow openings that over time will erode their authority and spell their ultimate demise as an oligarchy and ally of the US?

A major challenge I see is that the rank and file Egyptian soldier is recruited from the same social terrain as is the Muslim Brotherhood and from areas where the Brotherhood enjoys great popularity, and I presume fit the same profile and Islamic orientation that the polls in Egypt have indicated and the pundits have been discussing.

And it is not only recent polling, but the World Public Opinion Poll from 2007 indicated 92% of Egyptians see the US as having the goal to weaken and divide Islam; in other words America is an existential threat to their faith.

How long the military leaders, who represent a privileged economic and social class, can sustain the centrifugal pressures of those cultural terrain facts in a democratic opening is another key factor to Egypt's future and for the region.

We wield the largest hammer still…our billions of dollars in military aid and security assistance greatly sustains the military oligarchy, so we retain major levers to pull in that regard to help guide the outcome. This may be our largest return on that investment.

That outcome is all important, should Egypt tilt toward the Islamist camp, not only will an important intelligence partner and ally in the war on terror be compromised; the global jihad will receive possibly a very decisive safe haven and clandestine state sponsorship as in Pakistan.

This advisory came ostensibly from Mubarak himself.

If that begins to unfold it will generate major changes in Israeli defense policies, for sure and costs for both us and them.

Or as Muslim Brothers rise in the Egyptian national security establishment, will our government decide to engage them, and extend invitations and conduct outreach for cooperation purposes to come to the US and observe our own counter-terrorism processes and facilities such as happened recently at the NCTC?

Reportedly however, a [secular] spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood on Iranian television, Mohamed Ghanem, has already called on the Egyptian military to “prepare for war with Israel.” But that is an article of faith with the Brotherhood anyway and hopefully should not have raised new alarms.

What should have raised alarms in the intelligence community, however, was the recent [secular] pronouncement of the new Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Muhammad Badi, who said:

Arab and Muslim regimes are betraying their people by failing to confront the Muslim's real enemies, not only Israel but also the United States. Waging jihad against both of these infidels is a commandment of Allah that cannot be disregarded. Governments have no right to stop their people from fighting the United States. They are disregarding Allah's commandment to wage jihad for His sake with [their] money and [their] lives, so that Allah's word will reign supreme” over all non-Muslims.

All Muslims are required by their religion to fight:

“They crucially need to understand that the improvement and change that the [Muslim] nation seeks can only be attained through jihad and sacrifice and by raising a jihadi generation that pursues death just as the enemies pursue life.”

The United States is immoral, doomed to collapse, and “experiencing the beginning of its end and is heading towards its demise.”

Badi seems to be providing indicators and warnings that the Brotherhood is to assume a more offensive footing against the United States and in pursuit of global jihad.

His strategic assessment likewise indicates the US is not doing very well in general, much less the war on terror. The Muslim Brotherhood suddenly exuding confidence last year about world affairs should be cause for intelligence community attention.

Meanwhile, I think our intelligence blindness and lack of knowledge as to what was really happening during the course of the last week — whether Mubarak would stay or go — is a function of the Egyptian military's allied and intelligence liaison status. They are an important source of our counter-terrorism intelligence and which probably accounts for why we apparently lacked good sources when we needed them inside the palace.

I hope that we are not flying blind as we move forward in this crisis scenario. I am all for democratic liberalization, but democracy is a political and voting process; liberalization is a substantive value system. A democratic process that only deepens the role of Islamic Law in Egyptian society will be anything but liberal in the classic sense.

Speaking of Islamic Law, I would recommend to readers they obtain a copy of Islamic Law and study it, most primary Islamic texts are translated into English and in doing so you may become smarter than half of our White House, national security, counter-terrorism and intelligence advisors.

You could even learn the precise legal meaning of jihad in Islam, and if asked, show more command of the topic than John Brennan or even the President, who when asked on his trip to India what it meant to him, stated:

“Well, the phrase Jihad has a lot of meanings within Islam, and is subject to a lot of different interpretations.”

You in fact might note that the Islamic Law definition of jihad tends to closely align with the Muslim Brotherhood's pronouncement above.

It should be noted the Muslim Brotherhood is for democracy too, the [secular] Spiritual Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Sheik Yusuf Qaradawi, who apart from endorsing suicide bombing attacks against US military forces, has endorsed the “democracy” concept. And in elections, already described as rigged in Egypt, where they were unable to organize as a party, Brotherhood members still garnered about 20% of the parliament seats.

I too suspect the Brotherhood should do well with expanded democracy in Egypt.

Yes, the dungeon is still under lock and key in Egypt, but this is all about what happens next.

LTC (ret) Joseph Myers served 30 years in the Army with duties in US Embassies from Latin America to Afghanistan. He is also a founding member of the Association for the Study of the Middle East and Africa

Monday, February 14, 2011

Points to Ponder in Egypt

I read the following article today which is instructive in how to evaluate the events in Egypt. As you know, I am not in the group that feels that this revolution will end in freedom for the Egyptian people. Would I like to see that result, most definitely however, 5000 years of history are against it.

Please read the following article and let me know what you think.

How Further Radicalization of Egypt in Post-Mubarak Era Can be Prevented
Dr. Tawfik Hamid -, February 14th, 2011

The revolution in Egypt can take one of two more likely directions. On one hand, the values of liberty and freedom may prevail and on the other hand, Islamic radicals may hijack the revolution and create a theocratic state. The future of the country and the Middle East largely depend on which of these case scenarios will succeed.

It is important to mention that unlike the Iranian revolution – which was clearly an Islamic one – this revolution is not religious in its roots. However, the more the delay in ending the power of Mubarak, the more likely the country will collapse economically which can allow Islamists to direct the revolution to serve their Islamic agenda.

On the positive side, Islamists have suffered several blows in this revolution. These include:

1 – Unprecedented unity between Muslims and Christians. Both Friday Muslim and Sunday Christian prayers were held in the Tahreer Square with support and blessings from the protestors.

2 – Clear rejection to giving the revolution any religious title. In fact, many protestors prevented the members of the Muslim Brotherhood from using the flag of their organization.

3 – The founders of the revolution have been inspired by the values of freedom. The very same people who started the revolution are unlikely to accept an Islamic agenda that will inevitably suppress their freedoms.

4 – The logic that was regularly used by many Islamists that the US and Israel are behind all the problems in Egypt has been discredited as the Mubarak government tried to accuse the demonstrators that they are paid by the US and Israel. This despicable lie is likely to diminish the ability of Islamists to use such reasoning to further ruin the already negative image of the US and Israel.

5 – The refusal of the Muslim Brotherhood initially to share in the demonstrations will make them loose some of their already declining credibility in the Egyptian street.

Despite the above mentioned potentially positive points against the Islamists, the following factors can significantly nullify such points and on the contrary allow Islamists to hijack the revolution. These factors include:

a – The expected economic crisis that is likely to happen in the country as a result of a sudden collapse of the tourism industry.

b – The contradictory statements of some US officials regarding the exact position of the US regarding to the revolution. On one hand Frank Wisner, a US envoy to Egypt, suggest that Egyptian President Hosni MubarakPresident Hosni Mubarak should remain in office and on the other hand the Obama administration was clear in that there is a need for power transition in the country. This ambiguity has been used by Al-Jazeera (Arabic) to convince many Egyptians that the US is supportive of Mubarak against them. The US disowned his comments, however; the exact US position is still unclear in the eyes of many Egyptians. Such lack of clarity-at least as perceived by many – about the real US position can create a wound between the US and the Egyptian people that may take long time to heal.

c - The delay of the Egyptian military in taking a clear stand with the people against Mubarak will make them perceived by many as traitors who supported one person against the will of a whole nation. This delay of the military in taking a clear side against Mubarak has put the country into a state of chaos and economic crisis that can ONLY work for the benefit of Islamists and can make many Egyptians unwilling to cooperate with the military in the future.

d – A sudden termination of the Emergency Law in Egypt as the US demanded from the Mubarak regime may allow many Jihadists to utilize the chaos and conduct acts of terror that can further aggravate the already existent economic crisis and increase radicalism.

The following can help to avoid more Islamisation and radicalization of the country after the inevitable collapse of Mubarak:

1 – Immediate economic support to prevent the economic crisis to block the positive feedback potential of the vicious Poverty-Terrorism cycle where poverty (in the presence of radical Islamic ideology) facilitates recruitment for terrorist groups who commit terror acts that further aggravate the poverty situation.

2 – Immediate support for the efforts of the Egyptians to get Mubarak's family and -if possible-money back to the country if the allegations are true that they stole $40-70 Billion dollars from public money.

3 – Clarifying that the US position is for freedom of the Egyptian people and against Mubarak. Currently, the US can choose either to loose Mubarak and the Egyptian people or loose the former and win the hearts of the Egyptians (and many in the Muslim world as well). An unambiguous US position in this critical time is vital if the US is interested to win many Egyptians to its side.

4 – Immediate intervention of the Egyptian military to remove Mubarak.

5 – Modifying (NOT suspending) the Emergency Law to avoid using it against innocents or against political opponents of Mubarak and limit its use to the terrorists. A strong punishment MUST be given to those who use this law against innocents or to suppress political opposition of the government. Unfortunately, this law is needed, at least in some situations, to prevent some devastating terrorist acts.

6 – Building on the positive momentum that has been described earlier against the Islamists via proper use of media campaigns. For example, well organized media campaigns to discuss, for example, how the Muslims and Christians united during the protests, how the Muslim brotherhood initially refused to share in the demonstrations, and how the conspiracy theories can be incorrect- can assist in preventing more Islamisation of the country after Mubarak.

Failure to IMMEDIATELLY give attention to the factors that can drag the country toward more Islamism can jeopardize all future relations between US and Egypt.