Monday, March 31, 2014

Elect The Pimp (2) - انتخبوا العرص

The scathing attacks against Field Marshall Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, have been relentless and are only gaining steam.

This is an Arabic poem, by Jihad Al-Torbani - جهاد الترباني:

انتخبوا العرص
انتخبوا العرص سليل العار انتخبوا من حرق الثوار
انتخبوا حبيبًا للأوغاد انتخبوا عدوًا للأخيار 
انتخبوا من سحق الأطفال انتخبوا من سجن الأحرار
عودوا وانتخبوا فرعونًا وارضوا بدمار بعد دمار
فرعون بأرضكم استعلى ... وبشعبه آلهة قد صار
يا مصر شبابك قد ملوا... من حكم العسكر والفجار
لن يرضى شبابك إرهابًا من صنع الشرطة والأشرار
لن يخش رجالك تقتيلًا لن تخشى نساؤك صوت النار
لن يرض العيش بإذلال ... قوم كسروا قيد الأسوار
هي حكمة تاريخ كتبت ... فاسمع ما جاء من الأخبار
في بيت قصيد تحفظه.. وتخلده بين الآشعار
لا خير بأرض يحكمها عرص وبدا من غير وقار

Arabic Numerals

Arabic numerals are based on angles, established by the great Muslim scientist: Khwarizmi.

Short Change Hero

Artist: The Heavy

The Balkanization Of Sudan: The Redrawing Of The Middle East and North Africa

By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya

Sudan is a diverse nation and a country that represents the plurality of Africa through various tribes, clans, ethnicities, and religious groups. Yet the unity of Sudan is in question, while there is talk of unifying nations and of one day creating a United States of Africa through the African Union.
The limelight is on the January 2011 referendum in South Sudan. The Obama Administration has formally announced that it supports the separation of South Sudan from the rest of Sudan.
The balkanization of Sudan is what is really at stake. For years the leaders and officials of South Sudan have been supported by America and the European Union.
The Politically-Motivated Demonization of Sudan
A major demonization campaign has been underway against Sudan and its government. True, the Sudanese government in Khartoum has had a bad track record in regards to human rights and state corruption, and nothing could justify this.
In regards to Sudan, however, selective or targeted condemnation has been at work. One should, nonetheless, ask why the Sudanese leadership has been targeted by the U.S. and E.U., while the human rights records of several U.S. sponsored client states including Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the U.A.E., and Ethiopia are casually ignored.
Khartoum has been vilified as a autocratic oligarchy guilty of targeted genocide in both Darfour and South Sudan. This deliberate focus on the bloodshed and instability in Darfour and South Sudan is political and motivated by Khartoum’s ties to Chinese oil interests.
Sudan supplies China with a substantial amount of oil. The geo-political rivalry between China and the U.S. for control of African and global energy supplies is the real reason for the chastisement of Sudan and the strong support shown by the U.S., the E.U., and Israeli officials for the seccession of South Sudan.
It is in this context that Chinese interests have been attacked. This includes the October 2006 attack on the Greater Nile Petroleum Company in Defra, Kordofan by the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) militia.
Distorting the Violence in Sudan

While there is a humanitarian crisis in Darfour and a surge in regional nationalism in South Sudan, the underlying causes of the conflict have been manipulated and distorted.
The underlying causes for the humanitarian crisis in Darfour and the regionalism in South Sudan are intimately related to economic and strategic interests. If anything, lawlessness and economic woes are the real issues, which have been fuelled by outside forces.
Either directly or through proxies in Africa, the U.S., the E.U., and Israel are the main architects behind the fighting and instability in both Darfour and South Sudan. These outside powers have assisted in the training, financing, and arming of the militias and forces opposed to the Sudanese government within Sudan. They lay the blame squarely on Khartoum’s shoulders for any violence while they themselves fuel conflict in order to move in and control the energy resources of Sudan. The division of Sudan into several states is part of this objective. Support of the JEM, the South Sudan Liberation Army (SSLA), and other militias opposed to the Sudanese government by the U.S., the E.U., and Israel has been geared towards achieving the objective of dividing Sudan.
It is also no coincidence that for years the U.S., Britain, France, and the entire E.U. under the pretext of humanitarianism have been pushing for the deployment of foreign troops in Sudan. They have actively pushed for the deployment of NATO troops in Sudan under the cover of a U.N. peacekeeping mandate.
This is a re-enactment of the same procedures used by the U.S. and E.U. in other regions where countries have either formally or informally been divided and their economies restructured by foreign-installed proxy governments under the presence of foreign troops. This is what happened in the former Yugoslavia (through the creation of several new republics) and in Anglo-American occupied Iraq (through soft balkanization via a calculated form of federalism aimed at establishing a weak and de-centralized state). Foreign troops and a foreign presence have provided the cloud for state dismantlement and the foreign takeover of state infrastructure, resources, and economies.
The Question of Identity in Sudan

While the Sudanese state has been portrayed as being oppressive towards the people in South Sudan, it should be noted that both the referendum and the power sharing structure of the Sudanese government portray something else. The power sharing agreement in Khartoum between Omar Al-Basher, the president of Sudan, includes the SPLM. The leader of the SPLM, Salva Kiir Mayardit, is the First Vice-President of Sudan and the President of South Sudan.
The issue of ethnicity has also been brought to the forefront of the regional or ethno-regional nationalism that has been cultivated in South Sudan. The cleavage in Sudan between so-called Arab Sudanese and so-called African Sudanese has been presented to the outside world as the major force for the regional nationalism motivating calls for statehood in South Sudan. Over the years this self-differentiation has been diffused and socialized into the collective psyche of the people of South Sudan.
Yet, the difference between so-called Arab Sudanese and so-called African Sudanese are not that great. The Arab identity of so-called Sudanese Arabs is based primarily on their use of the Arabic language. Let us even assume that both Sudanese ethnic identities are totally separate. It is still widely known in Sudan that both groups are very mixed. The other difference between South Sudan and the rest of Sudan is that Islam predominates in the rest of Sudan and not in South Sudan. Both groups are still deeply tied to one another, except for a sense of self-identification, which they are well in their rights to have. Yet, it is these different identities that have been played upon by local leaders and outside powers.
Neglect of the local population of different regions by the elites of Sudan is what the root cause of anxiety or animosity between people in South Sudan and the Khartoum government are really based on and not differences between so-called Arab and so-called African Sudanese.
Regional favouritism has been at work in South Sudan.
The issue is also compounded by social class. The people of South Sudan believe that their economic status and standards of living will improve if they form a new republic. The government in Khartoum and  non-Southerner Sudanese have been used as the scapegoats for the economic miseries of the people of South Sudan and their perceptions of relative poverty by the local leadership of South Sudan. In reality, the local officials of South Sudan will not improve the living standards of the people of South Sudan, but maintain a klepocratic status quo. [1]
The Long-Standing Project to Balkanize Sudan and its links to the Arab World

In reality, the balkanization project in Sudan has been going on since the end of British colonial rule in Anglo-Egyptian Sudan. Sudan and Egypt were one country during many different periods. Both Egypt and Sudan were also one country in practice until 1956.
Up until the independence of Sudan, there was a strong movement to keep Egypt and Sudan united as a single Arab state, which was struggling against British interests. London, however, fuelled Sudanese regionalism against Egypt in the same manner that regionalism has been at work in South Sudan against the rest of Sudan. The Egyptian government was depicted in the same way as present-day Khartoum. Egyptians were portrayed as exploiting the Sudanese just as how the non-Southern Sudanese have been portrayed as exploiting the South Sudanese.
After the British invasion of Egypt and Sudan, the British also managed to keep their troops stationed in Sudan. Even while working to divide Sudan from Egypt, the British worked to create internal differentations between South Sudan and the rest of Sudan. This was done through the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium, from 1899 to 1956, which forced Egypt to share Sudan with Britain after the Mahdist Revolts. Eventually the Egyptian government would come to refuse to recognize the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium as legal. Cairo would continously ask the British to end their illegal military occupation of Sudan and to stop preventing the re-integration of Egypt and Sudan, but the British would refuse.
It would be under the presence of British troops that Sudan would declare itself independent. This is what lead to the emergence of Sudan as a separate Arab and African state from Egypt. Thus, the balkanization process started with the division of Sudan from Egypt.
The Yinon Plan at work in Sudan and the Middle East
The balkanization of Sudan is also tied to the Yinon Plan, which is a continuation of British stratagem. The strategic objective of the Yinon Plan is to ensure Israeli superiority through the balkanization of the Middle Eastern and Arab states into smaller and weaker states. It is in this context that Israel has been deeply involved in Sudan.
Israeli strategists viewed Iraq as their biggest strategic challenge from an Arab state. This is why Iraq was outlined as the centre piece to the balkanization of the Middle East and the Arab World. The Atlantic in this context published an article in 2008 by Jeffrey Goldberg called “After Iraq: What Will the Middle East Look Like?” [2] In the Goldberg article a map of the Middle East was presented that closely followed the outline of the Yinon Plan and the map of a future Middle East presented by Lieutenant-Colonel (retired) Ralph Peters in the U.S military’s Armed Forces Journal in 2006.
It is also no coincidence that aside from a divided Iraq a divided Sudan was shown on the map. Lebanon, Iran, Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Somalia, Pakistan, and Afghanistan were also presented as divided nations too. Of importance to East Africa in the map, illustrated by Holly Lindem for Goldberg’s article, Eritrea is occupied by Ethiopia, which is a U.S. and Israeli ally, and Somalia is divided into Somaliland, Puntland, and a smaller Somalia.
In Iraq, on the basis of the concepts of the Yinon Plan, Israeli strategists have called for the division of Iraq into a Kurdish state and two Arab states, one for Shiite Muslims and the other for Sunni Muslims. This has been achieved through the soft balkanization of federalism in Iraq, which has allowed the Kurdistan Regional Government to negotiate with foreign oil corporations on its own. The first step towards establishing this was a war between Iraq and Iran, which is discussed in the Yinon Plan.
In Lebanon, Israel has been working to exasperate sectarian tensions between the various Christian and Muslim factions as well as the Druze. The division of Lebanon into several states is also seen as a means of balkanizing Syria into several smaller sectarian Arab states. The objectives of the Yinon Plan is to divide Lebanon and Syria into several states on the basis of religious and sectarian identities for Sunni Muslims, Shiite Muslims, Christians, and the Druze.
In this regard, the Hariri Assassination and the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (STL) have been playing out to the favour of Israel in creating internal divisions within Lebanon and fuelling politically-motivated sectarianism. This is why Tel Aviv has been very vocal about the STL and very supportive of it. In a clear sign of the politized nature of the STL and its ties to geo-politics, the U.S. and Britain have also given the STL millions of dollars.
The Links between the Attacks on the Egyptian Copts and the South Sudan Referendum
From Iraq to Egypt, Christians in the Middle East have been under attack, while tensions between Shiite Muslims and Sunni Muslims are being fuelled. The attack on a Coptic Church in Alexandria on January 1, 2011 or the subsequent Coptic protests and riots should not be looked at in isolation. [3] Nor should the subsequent fury of Coptic Christians expressed towards Muslims and the Egyptian government. These attacks on Christians are tied to the broader geo-political goals of the U.S., Britain, Israel, and NATO in the Middle East and Arab World.
The Yinon Plan stipulates that if Egypt were divided that Sudan and Libya would also be balkanized and weakened. In this context, there is a link between Sudan and Egypt. According to the Yinon Plan, the Copts or Christians of Egypt, which are a large minority in Egypt, are the key to the balkanization of the Arab states in North Africa. Thus, the Yinon Plan states that the creation of a Coptic state in Upper Egypt (South Egypt) and Christian-Muslim tensions within Egyptian are vital steps to balkanizing Sudan and North Africa.
The attacks on Christians in the Middle East are part of intelligence operations intended to divide the Middle East and North Africa. The timing of the mounting attacks on Coptic Christians in Egypt and the build-up to the referendum in South Sudan are no coincidence. The events in Sudan and Egypt are linked to one another and are part of the project to balkanize the Arab World and the Middle East. They must also be studied in conjunction with the Yinon Plan and with the events in Lebanon and Iraq, as well as in relation to the efforts to create a Shiite-Sunni divide.
The Outside Connections of the SPLM, SSLA, and Militias in Darfour
As in the case of Sudan, outside interference or intervention has been used to justify the oppression of domestic opposition. Despite its corruption, Khartoum has been under siege for refusing to merely be a proxy.
Sudan is justified in suspecting foreign troops and accusing the U.S., Britain, and Israel of eroding the national solidarity of Sudan. For example, Israel has sent arms to the opposition groups and separatist movements in Sudan. This was done through Ethiopia for years until Eritrea became independent from Ethiopia, which made Ethiopia lose its Red Sea coast, and bad relations developed between the Ethiopians and Eritreans. Afterwards Israeli weapons entered South Sudan from Kenya. From South Sudan, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), which is the political arm of the SSLA, would transfer weapons to the militias in Darfur. The governments of Ethiopia and Kenya, as well as the the Uganda People’s Defence Force (UPDF), have also been working closely with the U.S., Britain, and Israel in East Africa.
The extent of Israeli influence with Sudanese opposition and separatist groups is significant. The SPLM has strong ties with Israel and its members and supporters regularly visit Israel. It is due to this that Khartoum capitulated and removed the Sudanese passport restriction on visiting Israel in late-2009 to satisfy the SPLM. [4] Salva Kiir Mayardit has also said that South Sudan will recognize Israel when it separates from Sudan.
The Sudan Tribune reported on March 5, 2008 that separatist groups in Darfur and Southern Sudan had offices in Israel:
[Sudan People's Liberation Movement] supporters in Israel announced establishment of the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement office in Israel, a press release said today.
“After consultation with the leadership of SPLM in Juba, the supporters of SPLM in Israel have decided to establish the office of SPLM in Israel.” Said [sic.] a statement received by email from Tel Aviv signed by the SLMP secretariat in Israel.
The statement said that SPLM office would promote the policies and the vision of the SPLM in the region. It further added that in accordance with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement the SPLM has the right to open in any country including Israel. It also indicated that there are around 400 SPLM supporters in Israel. Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahid al-Nur said last week he opened an office in Tel Aviv. [5]
The Hijacking of the 2011 Referendum in South Sudan

What happened to the dreams of a united Africa or a united Arab World? Pan-Arabism, a movement to unit all Arabic-speaking peoples, has taken heavy losses as has African unity. The Arab World and Africa have consistenly been balkanized.
Secession and balkanization in East Africa and the Arab World are on the U.S., Israeli, and NATO drawing board.
The SSLA insurgency has been covertly supported by the  U.S., Britain, and Israel since the 1980s. The formation of a new state in the Sudan is not intended to serve the interests of the people of South Sudan. It has been part of a broader geo-strategic agenda aimed at controlling North Africa and the Middle East.
The resulting process of “democratization” leading up to the January 2011 referendum serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil companies and the rivalry against China. This comes at the cost of the detriment of true national sovereignty in South Sudan.
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).
[1] A kleptocracy is a government or/and state that works to protect, extend, deepen, continue, and entrench the wealth of the ruling class.
[2] Jeffrey Goldberg, “After Iraq: What Will The Middle East Look Like?” The Atlantic, January/February 2008.
[3] William Maclean, “Copts on global Christmas alert after Egypt bombing”, Reuters, January 5, 2011.
[4] “Sudan removes Israel travel ban from new passport”, Sudan Tribune, October 3, 2009:
[5] “Sudan’s SPLM reportedly opens an office in Israel – statement”, Sudan Tribune, March 5, 2008:

Note: The following map was drawn by Holly Lindem for an article by Jeffery Goldberg. It was published in The Atlantic in January/February 2008. (Map Copyright: The Atlantic, 2008).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Ain't Goin Down This Time

Artist: Tony Joe White

Freedom and Democracy Must Come First In Egypt

By Emad Shahin,  Noam Chomsky, Robert Springborg 

Dear President Obama:
As you embark this week on your visit to Saudi Arabia we write to you out of deep concern with regard to the policy of the United States and its allies in the region.
Despite your assurances to the Muslim world in 2009 in Ankara and Cairo that your administration would support the promotion and spread of democracy, the rule of law, and human rights, your administration's record in the last year shows that such pronouncements were not backed by concrete policies and actions. No less than the future of the Middle East and the credibility of the United States are at stake.
Millions of people -- especially youth -- were inspired by the hope of the Arab Spring, but the military coup in Egypt last July dashed their aspirations for freedom and human dignity. You have always reminded the world that responsible leaders must be on the right side of history. This is just such a moment that should not be wasted.
Support for freedom and democracy in Egypt and the Arab world must trump any false notion of maintaining temporary stability promised by an iron fist regime with the barrel of a gun. If the United States does not take an unambiguous position and demonstrate unmistaken resolve against Egypt's current undemocratic path, and if your administration decides to resume suspended aid programs in the face of growing repression and brutality, your words on democracy and human rights will ring hollow. Furthermore, we urge you to instruct Secretary of State John Kerry not to certify that Egypt has met congressionally mandated conditions on democracy under current conditions.
Moreover, several long-term allies in the region led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have unfortunately been strong supporters of the military-backed regime in Egypt and of the forces of authoritarianism in the region.
We urge you to take this opportunity to make it clear to all the regimes that democracy, pluralism, the rule of law, and the application of the highest standards of human rights are the cornerstone of U.S. policy in the region.
The United States must also condemn the brutal tactics of the army-backed regime in Egypt as well as its security and propaganda campaigns, which are being used to suppress dissent and reconstitute a police state.
During your visit to Saudi Arabia we urge you to commit to the values that you declared in your 2012 State of the Union, in which you stated that the United States "will stand for the rights and dignity of all human beings" and that "it will support policies that lead to strong and stable democracies... because tyranny is no match to liberty."
Mr. President, leadership is about seizing the moment to change the course of history for the betterment of humanity. This is just such a moment that must not be relinquished.
Douglas Bandow, former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan
Jonathan Brown, Georgetown University
Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Larry Diamond, Stanford University
Michael C. Desch, University of Notre Dame
Mohamed Fadel, University of Toronto
Richard Falk, Princeton University
Norman Finkelstein
Nader Hashemi, University of Denver
Ricardo R. Laremont, SUNY Binghamton, Atlantic Council
Marina Ottaway, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Emad Shahin, American University in Cairo
Robert Springborg, Naval Postgraduate School

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Finest Hour

Artist: Submotion Orchestra

Why Did Israel Fail To Back US-Supported UN Resolution On Crimea?

The United States often stands virtually alone, save for the company of its colonies like Micronesia and the Marshall Islands, as well as other settler-colonial states like Canada, in opposing UN resolutions critical of Israel.

Israel did not return the favor today by backing a resolution the US feels very strongly about.

The UN General Assembly passed resolution A/68/L.39 condemning Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

on Twitter

As the final tally shows, 100 countries voted in favor, 11 against and 58 abstained on the resolution, which was sponsored by Canada, Costa Rica, Germany, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine.

The United States, predictably, voted in favor, Russia against, and China abstained.
But Israel was a no-show, not voting at all. Perhaps it was because Israeli diplomats are on strike.

That would be a convenient excuse. But surely even the Israeli diplomats’ union would make an exception for a vote that Israel’s strongest backer – the Obama administration – feels is absolutely critical, as these fervent tweets by US ambassador Samantha Power indicate:

on Twitter

on Twitter

Uncomfortable Precedent

Perhaps Israel was disturbed by the language of today’s resolution, which “Calls upon all States, international organizations and specialized agencies not to recognize any alteration of the status of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol” and to “refrain from any action or dealing that might be interpreted as recognizing any such altered status.”

Israel, of course, remains in flagrant violation of dozens of similarly worded UN General Assembly and Security Council resolutions including Security Council Resolution 465 of 1980, deeming Israel’s annexation of Jerusalem and its settlements on occupied land to be illegal.

That resolution declared that “all measures taken by Israel to change the physical character, demographic composition, institutional structure or status of the Palestinian and other Arab territories occupied since 1967, including Jerusalem, or any part thereof, have no legal validity and that Israel’s policy and practices of settling parts of its population and new immigrants in those territories constitute a flagrant violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War.”

It also called “upon all States not to provide Israel with any assistance to be used specifically in connexion with settlements in the occupied territories.”

Israel Lying Low

Today’s no-show at the UN is only the latest instance of Israel, a serial annexer of other countries’ lands, trying to evade having to give a position on Crimea.

Earlier this month, a Jewish-Ukrainian MP expressed frustration at Israel’s “silence on Crimea.”

The MP, Oleksandr Feldman, said he was disappointed at what The Times of Israel termed “a rather toothless statement the Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem released …. 
reportedly after American pressure.”

Israel expressed “great concern” and urged “diplomacy” but said absolutely nothing supporting the Obama administration’s strident denunciations of Russia’s move.

Israel, apparently, has a enough of a sense of irony not to condemn Russia – and perhaps set a precedent for itself.

The US, by constrast, continues to shamelessly impose sanctions and issue threats regarding Russia’s absorption of Crimea, while at the same time financing and shielding Israel’s continued annexation, occupation and colonization of Syrian, Lebanese and Palestinian land.

(By Ali Abunimah )

Friday, March 28, 2014

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Starring: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves.

انتخبوا العرص

عبد الفتاح السيسي 

This is a graffiti that is sprayed all about cairo's walls of retired Egyptian Minister of Defense, Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi, stating: "elect the ars"

("Ars" is a derogatory term meaning: pimp).


Artist: Hans Zimmer
Scenes from the movie: Inception

Egypt Becomes Battleground For Arab world

The Saudi monarchy has declared war on the Muslim Brotherhood, an immensely popular Sunni Islamic movement with branches and businesses throughout the world. Not only has the monarchy labeled the Brotherhood a terrorist organization, but a photo chart of the major terrorist groups offered by the Saudi press gives the Brotherhood top billing. Not even al-Qaeda outshines the Brotherhood in the eyes of the Saudi regime. 

Perhaps the Saudi monarchy had little choice in the matter. The Muslim Brotherhood swept to power in Egypt and Tunisia following the 2011 Arab Spring revolutions, and the Saudi monarchy openly worried that its kingdom would be next. Such is the price of being rich, weak, and unwilling to test the support of the masses in elections or a free press. 

The Saudi monarchy's chosen battlefield for its war on the Muslim Brotherhood is Egypt. It is difficult to argue with its choice. The Brotherhood was founded in Egypt, its Supreme Guides have all been Egyptian, and Egypt is the center of the Brotherhood's global operations. Branches of the Brotherhood are guided by General Secretaries from their respective regions, but key policy decisions flow from Egypt. 

The Saudis knew that attempts to destroy Brotherhood branches in the region would be futile as long as the Brotherhood leadership ruled from Egypt. Attacking Brotherhood branches would threaten the stability of Jordan, Kuwait and other Saudi allies with deeply entrenched Brotherhood movements. To crush the Brotherhood in Egypt, by contrast, would be to sever its head and soul. The battle would also transpire far from the Gulf and leave the Saudi monarchy, the self-proclaimed protector of Islam without blood on its hands. In fact, they could avoid fighting altogether by outsourcing the job to the Egyptian generals. 

It wasn't merely the popularity of the Brotherhood that alarmed the Saudi monarchy, but also the policies that the Brotherhood pursued upon being elected into office. The Brotherhood, or so it seemed to the monarchy, was intent on using the Egyptian government as a pulpit for spreading its seductive vision of pragmatic progressive Islam throughout the Arab world. 

This posed a direct threat to both the Saudi monarchy and to the extremist Wahhabi vision of Islamic purity upon which its claim to religious legitimacy rests. The security of the monarchy demanded Wahhabi dominance of the Sunni Islamic world. The more the seductive moderation and pragmatism of the Brotherhood spread, the weaker the Saudis would become. 

Particularly dangerous to Saudi control of the Sunni Islamic world were the Brotherhood's efforts to convert Al-Azhar, the oldest Islamic university in the world, to the Brotherhood's pragmatic and progressive vision of Islam. 

The Saudis controlled Mecca and Medina, the two holiest shrines in Islam, but the Brotherhood was on the verge of controlling Al-Azhar, the reigning authority on Sunni Islamic theology in the Muslim world. 

Qatar, to Saudi anguish, was joined by the government of Turkey in an effort to make Egypt the centerpiece of a Sunni Arab world ruled by a moderate and pragmatic vision of Islam capable of coexisting with the west to the benefit of both parties. Both Qatar and Turkey also viewed this new Islamic world as the foundation for reconciling the centuries old conflict between the Sunni and Shia. 

This was a dire threat to a Saudi monarchy locked in a bitter cold war with Shia Iran. It was equally a threat to Saudi Wahhabi doctrine that views the Shia as apostates. Egypt's Saudi financed opposition press responded on cue with frantic warnings that the Brotherhood was going to convert Egypt to Shi'ite Islam. 

Perhaps responding to Turkish influence, the Brotherhood pursued a remarkably democratic strategy in Egypt during its lone year in office. The press was free if irresponsible, demonstrations un-fettered, and all political groups, including the jihadists and extreme leftists, were allowed to establish political parties. Far worse, the Brotherhood threw down the gauntlet to the Saudis by calling for freedom and democracy throughout the region. 

Clearly, democracy had become the weapon of the Brotherhood for conquering the Arab world, and there was no weapon that the Saudis feared more. One fair election, if Egypt and Tunisia were any guide, and the Saudi monarchy would become a footnote in history. Brotherhood branches in Kuwait and Jordan picked up the call, throwing the two faux democracies into a state of confusion. 

... the Brotherhood's pragmatism offered the West an alternative to a Saudi Wahhabi doctrine condemned by Washington for breeding extremism and terror. 
The US and EU were also realizing that Islam was so deeply embedded in the Arab psyche that there could not be a stable government in the Arab world without Islamic representation, a topic treated at length in my book The Arab Psyche and American Frustrations

Like it or not, Brotherhood doctrine inclining toward the moderation of Turkish Lite was their best option. Not only had the Brotherhood placed the Saudi monarchy's Islamic legitimacy at risk, but it was also on the verge of weakening the monarchy's ties with the United States, its major patron. 

A counter-revolution supported by Saudi Arabia toppled the Brotherhood regime in Egypt, but did little to calm the monarchy's fears. To the contrary, the Brotherhood's resistance to the military coup in Egypt displayed a passion and organizational capacity that has thrown the country into chaos and casts severe doubts on the ability of Egypt's revived Mubarak regime to stay the course. This is all the more the case because various jihadist groups hostile to the Brotherhood have joined the fray by assassinating officers and establishing mini-caliphates in the Sinai and elsewhere. 

It is unlikely that the Saudi regime could survive in the face of a parallel uprising by domestic supporters of the Brotherhood and Wahhabi jihadists returning from Syria and elsewhere. The Saudis claim that there are some 600 returnees from Syria. The Kuwaitis place the figure at 20,000. Whatever the number of Brotherhood supporters and jihadists in the kingdom, the king's warnings of sedition and terrorism have become commonplace as the monarchy's fears mount. 

Putting their money where their fear is, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies have pumped billions of dollars into Egypt with the hope that Egypt's latest military dictator will be able to crush the Brotherhood in its home base. Billions more are promised. 

If the Egyptian military can crush the Brotherhood, everything in the Saudi plan should fall in place. Egypt will be firmly established as the centerpiece of a Saudi-Israeli-Egyptian alliance designed to return the Arab world to the era of tyrants that reigned before the Arab Spring revolutions of 2011. 

Along the way, Egyptian authorities will promote stability in the region by severing the Brotherhood's lifelines to Hamas and stamping out jihadist and Brotherhood sanctuaries in Yemen, Libya and other areas within reach of Egypt's Saudi financed army. Democratic aspirations in the region will fade without inspiration from Egypt, and Saudi Wahhabi doctrine will find its way into Al-Azhar. 

With the Muslim Brotherhood gone, the US and the EU will return to their traditional role of supporting tyrants and the Saudi monarchy will have returned the Middle East to the era of peaceful oppression. 

The question is can Saudi money convert a poverty-stricken dictatorship teetering between chaos and civil war into the foundation of its war against the Muslim Brotherhood? If so, Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies should be able to buy the entire region. 

Thus far, all the Saudi monarchy has bought is civil war and chaos in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, and Pakistan. Egypt is following suit. Even Field Marshal Sisi, Egypt's latest pharaoh, yet uncrowned, warns that things will get worse before they get better, much worse. 

Monte Palmer is Professor Emeritus at Florida State University, a former Director of the Center for Arab and Middle Eastern Studies at the American University of Beirut, and a senior fellow at the Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic Studies. His recent books include The Arab Psyche and American Frustrations, The Politics of the Middle East, Islamic Extremism(with Princess Palmer), Political Development: Dilemmas and Challenges, and Egypt and the Game of Terror (a novel). 

(Copyright 2014 Monte Palmer) 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chevaliers de Sangreal

Artist: Hans Zimmer

US Promises To Go To War For More Than 54 Countries

There are 54 different countries on Earth that the U.S. is legally obligated to militarily protect and defend if they get into their own conflicts. Below is the State Department’s list of them (via Micah Zenko):
A treaty signed April 4, 1949, by which the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all; and each of them will assist the attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force.
PARTIES: United States, Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, United Kingdom
A Treaty signed September 1, 1951, whereby each of the parties recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on any of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
PARTIES: United States , Australia, New Zealand
A treaty signed August 30, 1951, by which the parties recognize that an armed attack in the Pacific Area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and each party agrees that it will act to meet the common dangers in accordance with its constitutional processes.
PARTIES: United States, Philippines
A treaty signed September 8, 1954, whereby each party recognizes that aggression by means of armed attack in the treaty area against any of the Parties would endanger its own peace and safety and each will in that event act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
PARTIES: United States , Australia, France, New Zealand, Philippines, Thailand, and the United Kingdom
A treaty signed January 19, 1960, whereby each party recognizes that an armed attack against either Party in the territories under the administration of Japan would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declares that it would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional provisions and processes. The treaty replaced the security treaty signed September 8, 1951.
PARTIES: United States, Japan
A treaty signed October 1, 1953, whereby each party recognizes that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the Parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and that each Party would act to meet the common danger in accordance with its constitutional processes.
PARTIES: United States, Korea
A treaty signed September 2, 1947, which provides that an armed attack against any American State shall be considered as an attack against all the American States and each one undertakes to assist in meeting the attack.
PARTIES: United States, Argentina, Bahamas, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago, Uruguay, Venezuela
This illustrates rather well the sheer magnitude of U.S. commitments around the world. It’s worth remembering, too, as Nima Shirazi noted, that not every state that Washington commits itself to militarily is listed here (Israel is conspicuous for its absence). So, U.S. military commitments go beyond even this lengthy list.
Why? Politicians will tell you this is about defending freedom and democracy (right…). Policy wonks will rattle off old chestnuts about global security and international cooperation. More accurately, this helps institutionalize U.S. hegemony (that is, unrivaled power over all other states in the system).
This doesn’t merely demonstrate how taxpayer money and resources go to the defense of other countries. It illustrates the pervasive conviction in Washington that there are few, if any, spots on the planet that aren’t vital U.S. interests that require military interventionism. America’s mandate is limitless, it would seem.
(By John Glaser)

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Standing On The Edge Of Love

Artist: BB King

Late last night I was dreaming
I was dreaming of your charms
I was standing
On the edge of love, darling
With you in my arms

Well you whispered sweet things
And told me
That you loved me and always be true
And you'd stand
On the edge of love with me
If I'd stand with you

I'm standing on the edge of love
Just about to slip and fall
Standing on the edge of love, darling
Waiting on your call
You know I'm standing on the edge of love
Just about to lose my mind
Standing on the edge of love, darling
Waiting on you one more time

Now a young man's mind will wander
Wander to distant shores
If you'll just come here
And stand with me
I won't wander no more

I promise to stop all of my gambling
Even stop staying out late all night
Might even settle down and have babies
Treat ourselves right

'Cause a young man's dreams are many
Lord, so few come true
So if you'll just come here
And stand with me
I'll stand with you

That's why I say you know
I'm standing on the edge of love
Just about to slip and fall
Standing on the edge of love, darling
Waiting on your call, that's why I say
You know, I'm standing on the edge of love
Just about to lose my mind
Standing on the edge of love, darling
Waiting on you one more time

That's why I'm standing, standing
Standing, yes, I'm standing
Standing on the edge of love
Waiting on you one more time

That's why I'm standing, standing
Standing, yes, I'm standing
Standing on the edge of love
Waiting on you one more time

That's why I'm standing, standing
Standing, yes, I'm standing
Standing on the edge of love
One more time

The Jewish Paradox Arising From The Curse of Zionism

By Alan Hart

I was inspired (perhaps I should say provoked) to write this piece by something U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden said in his speech to the recent J Street National Conference in Washington DC. He recalled visiting Golda Meir when she was Israel’s prime minister and he was a junior senator. Her parting words to him were, he said, these: “We Jews have a secret weapon in our conflict with the Arabs: We have no place else to go.”

Taken a face value what Golda said was obviously not true because there were then, as there still are, many countries to which Israeli Jews can go to start a new life if they wish. For the one million who have taken their leave of the Zionist (not Jewish) state for a better life elsewhere, America was and remains the first choice, but today Germany is also becoming popular.

So what, really, was Golda’s message to Biden by implication?

In very low key Mother Israel was giving voice to Zionism’s raison d’etre (reason for being). The logic of it can be summarised as follows.

The world always has been anti-Semitic (meaning anti-Jew because Arabs are Semites, too) and always will be. So Zionism takes it as a given that Holocaust II, shorthand for another great turning against Jews, is inevitable. Israel therefore exists to be a safe haven, a refuge of last resort, an insurance policy for all the Jews of the world when that day comes. That’s why Israel has an unsatisfied hunger for more Palestinian land, an unquenchable thirst for more Palestinian water and a lust for the oil that has very recently been discovered in Palestine that became Israel. 

(SEE )

And that in turn is why Zionism’s in-Israel leaders, assisted by their lobby and its associates and allies in America, will stop at nothing to advance their cause; a cause which requires, among other things, consolidating Zionism’s hold on the occupied West Bank and not ruling out a final ethnic cleansing of it, and the creation of a pretext to go to war with Lebanon again to take for keeps the south of that country up to the River Litani. (In one of his recent articles Franklin Lamb made reference to an Israeli document which contains the text of a speech made in 1941 by David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s founding father and first prime minister. One particular sentence is circled by hand. “We have to remember that for the Jewish state’s ability to survive it must have within its borders the waters of the [rivers] Jordan and Litani.”)

In passing I have to say that one of the greatest promoters of the Jewish fear of a new upsurge of anti-Semitism is Abe Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) in America. (A more appropriate name for his organization would be DIC – Defame Israel’s Critics). A decade ago in his address to the ADL’s 90th annual meeting in New York he said: “We currently face as great a threat to the safety and security of the Jewish people as the one we faced in the 1930s – if not a greater one.”

In addition to its elected traitor agents in Congress, the Zionist lobby’s associates and allies include the non-Jewish neo-cons in various departments of state and the security services, a host of think tanks and the mainstream media, and the leaders of the tens of millions of deluded, mad, Christian fundamentalists. (This fundamentalism is historically anti-Semitic but supports Israel right or wrong because it sees the Zionist state as the instrument for bringing about Armageddon. For their part Israel’s rightwing leaders and their lobby courted and welcomed Christian fundamentalism because the alliance with it gave them maximum influence in Washington D.C.)

As I note in my book Zionism: The Real Enemy of the Jews, the answer to the question of what Zionism would do in the event of mission failure was given to me by Golda Meir in one of my interviews with her for the BBC’s flagship Panorama programme. She said that in the event of a doomsday situation, Israel “would be prepared to take the region and the whole world down with it.”

The Jewish paradox comes down to this. Israel was created by Zionism to guarantee the wellbeing and existence of the Jews, but that wellbeing and perhaps even existence is most seriously threatened by Zionism’s policies and actions
How can that possibly be true?

What we are witnessing today is a rising, global tide of anti-Israelism. It is NOT a manifestation of anti-Semitism, meaning that it’s notbeing driven by prejudice against or loathing and even hatred of Jews just because they are Jews. Anti-Israelism is being provoked by Israel’s arrogance of power, its sickening self-righteousness and its contempt for international law in general and the rights of the Palestinians in particular.

The danger for Jews everywhere is that anti-Israelism could be transformed into rampant and rabid anti-Semitism. The most explicit warning that this could happen was given voice by Yehoshafat Harkabi, Israel’s longest serving Director of Military Intelligence. In his book Israel’s Fateful Hour, published in English in 1988, he wrote this (my emphasis added):

Israel is the criterion according to which all Jews will tend to be judged. Israel as a Jewish state is an example of the Jewish character, which finds free and concentrated expression within it. Anti-Semitism has deep and historical roots. Nevertheless, any flaw in Israeli conduct, which initially is cited as anti-Israelism, is likely to be transformed into empirical proof of the validity of anti-Semitism. It would be a tragic irony if the Jewish state, which was intended to solve the problem of anti-Semitism, was to become a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism. Israelis must be aware that the price of their misconduct is paid not only by them but also Jews throughout the world.

Harkabi also noted that Israel’s biggest enemy was its own self-righteousness. If he was alive today I would suggest to him for comment that if “enemy” can be defined as a force with the ability and real intention to destroy Israel by military means, self-righteousness is the only enemy of the Zionist state.

Harkabi was not the first Jew to warn of the danger of Israel becoming a factor in the rise of anti-Semitism, and he was in very good Jewish company. Prior to the Nazi holocaust most Jews everywhere were opposed to Zionism’s colonial-like enterprise. They believed it was morally wrong (which, of course, it was) and would lead to unending conflict with the Arab and wider Muslim world. But most of all they feared that if Zionism was allowed by the major powers to have its way, it would one day provoke anti-Semitism.

As I write I find myself wondering if honest future historians will conclude that one of the greatest ironies in all of human history, perhaps even the greatest, is in the fact that Zionism wanted and needed anti-Semitism in order to justify its criminal policies and actions to Jews everywhere and misinformed and therefore gullible Gentiles in America and Europe.

At school I was given what I still believe to be the best definition of a paradox – “The truth standing on its head to attract attention.” One such truth is this. There is no such thing as a “Palestine problem”. There is only a Jewish problem in and over Palestine that became Israel.

The headline over an article by Bradley Burston in Ha’aretz on the first day of this year was “Will 2013 be the year American Jews secede from Israel?” One of his concluding paragraphs was this:

American Jews want to know what is being done in their name. In the name of Judaism. And if they think that it is self-destructive, oppressive, blockheaded and wrong, it stands to reason they would want it to stop.

The Gentile me has a problem with that expression of hope.

The evidence is that while a growing but still smallish number of American Jews are publicly critical of Israel’s policies and actions, very many, still the majority, are remaining silent and don’t want to know what Zionism is doing in their name; and while that remains the case there is no prospect of reason prevailing in enough Jewish minds to change the course of history.

How it could be changed if reason was assisted to prevail can be simply stated. If a majority of American and European Jews were prepared to openly acknowledge the wrong done to the Palestinians in Zionism’s name, and then insist that the wrong be righted on terms acceptable to the Palestinians, any Israeli government would have to change course and be serious about peace on terms the Palestinians could accept.

What I really mean is that while it is perfectly possible that Zionism’s in-Israel’s leaders could tell an American president and the whole of the non-Jewish world to go to hell, they would not be stupid enough to say the same to the Jews of the world, Jewish Americans and Europeans especially.

That stands to reason….. doesn’t it?

On public speaking platforms (as in my book) I never tire of giving voice to my thoughts about the great prize available to the Jews of the world and Israeli Jews especially if they did allow justice-driven reason to prevail. Generally speaking they are the intellectual elite of the Western world and the Palestinians are the intellectual elite of the Arab world. 

Together in peace and partnership, in one state with equal rights and security for all, they could change the region for the better and by so doing give new hope and inspiration to the whole world. Put another way, Jews and Palestinians in peace and partnership could become the light unto nations.
Dream on, Alan.

An indication that Netanyahu is alarmed by the possibility of a majority of Jewish Americans demanding or even requesting that Israel be serious about making peace on terms the Palestinians could accept is in the following.

The Israeli American Council recently commissioned the distribution of leaflets to thousands of Jewish Americans asking them where their allegiance would lie in the event of a real crisis between the U.S. and Israel. The leaflet was originally endorsed by representatives of Israel’s foreign ministry. When Netanyahu learned of this endorsement he directed the ministry to disassociate itself from the questionnaire.

I think it’s reasonable to assume he was worried by the prospect of the survey indicating that in the event of a showdown between himself and President Obama, a majority of Jewish Americans would be Americans first and not Israel firsters.

Alan Hart has been engaged with events in the Middle East and their global consequences and terrifying implications – the possibility of a Clash of Civilisations, Judeo-Christian v Islamic, and, along the way, another great turning against the Jews – for nearly 40 years…