LCCC ENGLISH DAILY
analysis, editorials from miscellaneous sources published on October 24, 25/14
US rejected Israeli DM,Ya'alon request to meet key officials/Yitzhak Benhorin /Ynetnews/October 25/14
A father stoning his daughter to death… ISIS’s new trailer/Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya/October 25/14
Can the Arab world defeat ISIS/By: Maged Mandour/Open Democracy//October 25/14
Death and Terror in Ottawa/by STEVE EMERSON/Family Security Matters/October 25/14
Turkey still reluctant ally vs. ISIS/By: DR. PETER BROOKES/Family Security Matters/October 25/14
You Can’t Reform Islam Without Reforming Muslims/Family Security Matters/by DANIEL GREENFIELD/October 25/14
The Islamic Madness Persists/By: ALAN CARUBA/Family Security Matters/October 25/14
Obama’s dangerous strategy of linking Iran, ISIS and Israel/By: BARRY SHAW/Family Security Matters/October 25/14
How Turkish Enchantment Fails to Enchant/By: Burak Bekdil/Hürriyet Daily News/25 October/14
Lebanese Related News
published on October
Lebanese Presidential Consensus candidate on the horizon?
DNA Confirms Asoun Body is Akkoumi's as Report Says Ahmed Miqati 'Communicated with al-Daher'
8 Troops, Several Gunmen Wounded in Violent Clashes across Tripoli
Qahwaji Briefs Salam on Asoun Raid that 'Spared North Dangerous Attacks'
Akkar Security Patrol Attacked from Syrian Territories
Akkoumi's YouTube Video Key Thread in Unveiling Asoun Network
Clashes rock Tripoli, militant killed U.N. supports Lebanese Arm, stability: Plumbly Derian calls for Muslim unity ahead of New Year
UNIFIL will not deploy on Syrian border Consensus candidate on the horizon?
Army to Recruit Soldiers Starting Next Week Clocks go back Sunday as summer time ends
Government hospital prepared for Ebola
Our untapped resource AUB Bekaa Valley program suspension temporary Lebanese Central Bank plans $1B stimulus for 2015
Government hospital prepared for Ebola
Fuel Station Fire Guts Part of Building, Several Vehicles
Pharaon's Son Sues Fattoush as Bar Association Drops Him from Its
Miscellaneous Reports And News published on
October 24, 25/14
Two Dead, Three Critical in U.S. School Shooting
Man with 'Islamic Extremist Leanings' Attacks NY Police
No indication at all of Iranian reversal on nuclear ambitions, expert tells ‘Post’
Iran set to execute woman convicted of killing her rapist, Amnesty International says
Sinai attacks on Egyptian army leave at least 28 dead
Jerusalem is a time-bomb, and Israel can't hear the ticking
Ya'alon snub 'should come as no surprise,' US official says
Jerusalem is more divided than ever
US says Palestinian youth killed by IDF was US citizen
Watch: East Jerusalem terrorist who killed infant girl hails Palestinian kidnappers of Jewish
Syria Kurds Skeptical as Erdogan Says 1,300 FSA Fighters to Join Kobane Battle
France's Hollande Says Anti-IS Campaign Will Be Stepped Up
Jordan: Israel gas deal expected next month
Rebel backup for Ain al-Arab brushed off
Canadian Gunman angry about not getting passport, had drug problems, say shelter mates
Canada Condemns Terror Attack in Jerusalem
Sinai attacks kill at least 29 Egyptian soldiers
ABC News: “Authorities in Canada are trying to understand what motivated a gunman to kill a soldier in the country’s capital”
Ottawa shooter had “connections” to jihadists
Kurds need heavy weaponry to defend Kobani from ISIS, say Kurdish officials
Yemen presidency “frustrated” by Houthi advances: source
Yemen: Former PM-candidate says Houthi advance will backfire
They are all Marching Behind Fatouch
In His heresy
Elias Bejjani/Lebanon's politician are playing a camouflaging and Dhimmitude childish game in regards to the heresy of extending the MP's term. All agreed covertly as well as overtly. They shall secure the quorum no matter what their vote shall be.. They all are in consensus to confiscate the free choice of the oppressed Lebanese people. What a shame.
Canada Condemns Terror Attack in
October 24, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today released the following statement:
“I was shocked and saddened to learn of Wednesday’s abhorrent terrorist attack in Jerusalem, which killed a baby girl and left several others injured. On behalf of all Canadians, I offer our deepest sympathies to the girl’s family and wish a speedy recovery to the injured.
“Canada calls on all members of the international community to speak out against such violent terrorist acts. We are also concerned about reports of increasingly violent clashes in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
“Today, I spoke with Avigdor Lieberman, my Israeli counterpart, to discuss this situation and a number of other security issues. I was grateful for his thoughts and prayers regarding the shooting in Ottawa.”
Sinai attacks kill at least 29
Staff Writer, Al Arabiya News/ Friday, 24 October 2014
Three more Egyptian soldiers were killed in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday, hours after an attack on two armored vehicles that stopped at a checkpoint killed 26 soldiers, security sources said. An earlier report said 10 soldiers were killed and several other soldiers were seriously wounded in the first attack, which took place in the border area of Karm el-Qawadees in the Sinai Peninsula. Security sources gave conflicting accounts of what happened. Initially sources said it was a car bomb, but a security sources later told Al Arabiya that mortar shells were fired on the vehicles, one of which was loaded with ammunition. Eyewitnesses had earlier heard a loud explosion near the Egyptian town of al-Arish in the Sinai Peninsula on Friday afternoon in what appeared to be an attack on a nearby army installation.
President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi convened Egypt’s national security body to discuss the deadly attack, Al Arabiya correspondent in Cairo reported. Security forces face a jihadist insurgency that has killed hundreds of soldiers and policemen since the army toppled President Mohammad Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood last year after mass protests against his rule. Most attacks have been in Sinai. Last Sunday, a roadside bomb exploded near an armored vehicle guarding a gas pipeline in north Sinai, killing seven soldiers, AFP reported. In September, militants killed 17 policemen in Sinai in two bombings and later released footage of the attacks. Those bombings were claimed by Ansar Beit al-Maqdis, the most active militant group in Egypt. It tried to assassinate the interior minister in Cairo last year with a car bomb. The group has expressed support for Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), although it has not formally pledged its allegiance. The military has said it killed at least 22 militants in October, including a local Ansar Beit al-Maqdis commander.
The group itself has acknowledged the arrest or deaths of its cadres, but so far the army has been unable to quell the militants despite a massive operation in which it has deployed attack helicopters and tanks. The militants sometimes operate openly in north Sinai, setting up impromptu checkpoints and handing out leaflets. They say they target policemen and soldiers to avenge a bloody police crackdown on Islamists after Morsi's overthrow that killed hundreds in street clashes and imprisoned thousands more.
Two Dead, Three Critical in U.S.
Naharnet/A student opened fire at a U.S. school Friday, killing another student and injuring several others before taking his own life, police and reports said. Three students were rushed to hospital in critical condition, a doctor said. Marysville police spokesman Robb Lamoureux told reporters: "We are confident that there was only one shooter and the shooter is deceased." The Seattle Times reported that two students had died, and that four other people had been injured. Live TV pictures showed swarms of police and emergency workers descending on the Marysville-Pilchuck High School in the western state of Washington. The shooting occurred in the school cafeteria, according to multiple reports. "I was eating... I heard four gunshots and it was behind me. I saw a gun pointed at a table... then I ran out of the exit," one student in the cafeteria, named only as Alex, told KIRO TV news. A student identified as Austin told a CNN affiliate how the gunman was initially "quiet" before opening fire on fellow diners. "There was just a big group of kids. ... He was quiet. He was just sitting there. Everyone was talking. All of a sudden I see him stand up, pull something out of his pocket," he said. "At first I thought it was just someone making a really loud noise with like a bag, like a pretty loud pop until I heard four more after that, and I saw three kids just fall from the table like they were falling to the ground dead." Television footage also showed schoolchildren coming out of the sprawling campus in Marysville, 35 miles (55 kilometers) north of Seattle, which has some 2,500 students. Parents appeared to be gathering at a nearby church."I never thought I would be standing here after a school shooting," Heather Parker, whose son Corbin is at the school, told the Seattle Times. "He's pretty shook up. He just said 'I'm Okay.' He was trying to calm me down," he added. Adam Holston, 14, said he was leaving the lunchroom when the shooting erupted. "Everyone just started running. I could hear the gunshots and my heart was racing and we didn't know what was going on," he said. Austin, also speaking to a local CNN affiliate, said: "I jumped under the table as fast as I could and when it stopped I looked back up and I saw he was trying to reload his gun. "When that happened I just ran the opposite direction and I was out of there as fast as I could."A hospital spokeswoman told CNN: "Four patients came to this center from the scene. Three of them remained at the center... the three most critically ill were kept here."
Source/Agence France Presse.
Tourism Minister Miche Pharaon's Son Sues Fattoush as Bar Association Drops Him from Its List
Naharnet /A son of Tourism Minister Michel Pharaon on Friday filed a slander lawsuit against MP Nicolas Fattoush after the latter revealed in a news conference that he had submitted an “adultery” suit against the minister. Meanwhile, LBCI television said “the Beirut Bar Association has removed the name of MP Nicolas Fattoush from its list of lawyers,” after the lawmaker lashed out at the head of the association George Jreij during the same televised speech. Al-Jadeed TV for its part said Pierre Michel Pharaon filed a slander lawsuit against Fattoush before the public prosecution over the MP's remarks against his father. The multi-party, high-profile controversy had started on Monday, when Fattoush reportedly punched Justice Palace employee Manal Daou and claimed that she disrespected him as he was trying to submit an “adultery” complaint on behalf of Pharaon's wife. But Fattoush on Thursday denied that he had assaulted Daou and revealed that he was seeking to file a lawsuit against “Minister Michel Pharaon and Ms. Frida al-Rayyes on charges of adultery.”
During the same press conference, the lawmaker, who is also a lawyer, underlined that “the head of the bar association is in charge of lawyers, not employees.”“He should have contacted me to know the truth,” Fattoush said, calling on Jreij to “respect posts and titles.”
Earlier on Friday, the council of the bar association discussed “the violations voiced by the lawyer Nicolas Fattoush during his TV appearance,” stressing that the MP “should have resorted to the bar association chief to report what happened with him at the Justice Palace in order to take the necessary measures in this regard.” “Fattoush's remarks during his press conference represented a blatant attack against the association's decisions … and an insult against the bar association chief,” the association added. It also considered that Fattoush “violated the law regulating the profession, the bar association's by-laws and the profession's ethics.” These violations “require taking the necessary measure against the lawyer Nicolas Fattoush,” the Beirut Bar Association added. The alleged assault on Daou had stirred a storm on social networking websites, where activists and citizens have vented their anger at Fattoush and expressed solidarity with the employee. But Fattoush denied on Thursday that he assaulted Daou, saying the accusations against him were aimed at targeting his “political stances, which seek to salvage” the country, mainly his submission of a draft-law on the extension of parliament's term.
Fattoush submitted in August the draft-law calling for an extension of two years and seven months.
DNA Confirms Asoun Body is Akkoumi's as Report Says Ahmed Miqati 'Communicated with al-Daher'
Naharnet/DNA tests have confirmed that the scorched body at the raided Dinniyeh apartment is that of defected soldier Abdul Qader al-Akkoumi, the army announced on Friday, as preliminary investigations revealed that the arrested dangerous militant Ahmed Salim Miqati had been “communicating” with al-Mustaqbal bloc MP Khaled al-Daher. Army intelligence agents on Thursday raided an apartment in the town of Asoun in the northern district of Dinniyeh, which was inhabited by a “group of terrorists,” killing three gunmen and apprehending a fugitive. The wanted man has been identified as Ahmed Salim Miqati, who was reportedly involved in beheading captive Lebanese soldier Ali al-Sayyed and recruiting defected army troops for the extremist Islamic State group.
Meanwhile, several TV networks – including al-Jadeed, MTV and al-Manar – said the interrogation of Miqati has unveiled that he had been “communicating” with MP Daher via the WhatsApp mobile messaging application. The militant sent to Daher “videos of defections of Lebanese army troops” while the MP used to send him “messages of motivation and encouragement,” al-Jadeed said. Akkoumi had announced his defection to the IS group in a video released on October 11.The army back then clarified that he had deserted the military institution on July 21.
Lebanese Presidential Consensus candidate on the horizon?
Oct. 25, 2014 /ntoine Ghattas Saab/The Daily Star/International powers have reportedly redoubled efforts to exert pressure on regional capitals that hold the key to resolving the presidential crisis. Diplomatic sources said the Vatican and some Western capitals, particularly Paris and Washington, were alarmed by the security incidents taking place along Lebanon’s northern, eastern and southern borders, as well as warnings by the international community that the continued participation of some Lebanese factions, including Hezbollah, in the war in Syria was undermining the country’s stability. Foreign officials have decided that the top post in Lebanon should be filled, so that the state can take responsibility for the threats facing Lebanon and grant political cover to the Army as it battles extremist groups. Evidence of the seriousness of the situation can be seen in the amount of Western military aid being delivered to Lebanon’s security forces and Army, in addition to the Iranian aid which is awaiting approval by Lebanon’s Cabinet. The diplomatic sources said that former Prime Minister Saad Hariri was preparing to implement his road map to pave the way for a presidential election, especially after coming to an agreement with Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rai in Rome on the issue. As soon as the extension of Parliament’s mandate is approved, Hariri will begin with the next phase of his plan, which calls for both March 14 and March 8 to begin naming their consensus candidates and head to Parliament to elect one of them. Meanwhile, visitors of Speaker Nabih Berri quoted him as saying that there would be “nothing new” in the presidential deadlock as long as the Saudi-Iranian relationship was in crisis. But they noted that the speaker seemed to expect a change on this front that might lead to the election of a consensus president who was neither from the March 8 nor from the March 14 coalitions. The sources said the March 14 initiative on presidential polls, which voiced the group’s readiness to elect a consensus candidate, was not different from Berri’s view. According to prominent sources, the most promising consensus candidate at this time is former Minister Jean Obeid, who has the support of Berri, Hariri and MP Walid Jumblatt. The sources said Christian objection can be addressed easily. They said Syria could convince its ally MP Sleiman Frangieh to back down if Obeid manages to garner regional and international support, while Lebanese Forces leader Samir Geagea reportedly discussed this issue with Saudi officials in his recent visit to the kingdom. The greatest remaining obstacle is Free Patriotic Movement leader Michel Aoun. Will Hezbollah continue to support him if a more suitable consensus candidate emerges, and can the party convince him to step aside? Apparently, talks have begun with Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil to convince his father-in-law to relinquish his Baabda Palace dreams. In this context, The Daily Star has learned that a Western ambassador recently sent a report to his country stressing the need for intervention to speed up the course of the presidential election and revitalize the role of Lebanon’s Constitutional institutions. This is crucial not only for facing the present security threats but also for receiving the promised aid.
U.N. supports the Lebanese Army, stability – Plumbly
Oct. 25, 2014/ Mazin Sidahmed| The Daily Star
BEIRUT: The United Nations supports the Lebanese Army’s effort to maintain Lebanon’s security, the Special Coordinator for Lebanon said at United Nations Day Friday. “[Supporting the Army] is a top priority,” Derek Plumbly told The Daily Star. “The secretary-general has emphasized it; we’ve worked with the Army over the past two years to develop the support ... to get them the initial equipment they need.” The United Nations Special Coordinator for Lebanon said that this support was necessary now to help boost Lebanon’s partnership with the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon and “protect borders and maintain internal security.”“It’s been a success in the sense that a number of countries, the United States, the United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, in different ways, but a lot of other countries too, have come forward with a lot of different assistance,” he added. The special coordinator made the remarks following his speech at the U.N. Day 2014 event held at the Phoenicia Hotel to an audience of U.N. agencies’ senior representatives.
U.N. Day is celebrated Oct. 24 and marks the anniversary of the ratification of the U.N. Charter in 1945. It is held to commemorate all the achievements of the U.N. and was first celebrated in 1948. The event started with a recorded speech by Ban Ki-Moon. In addition to Plumbly, Maurice Saade, Food and Agriculture Organization representative in Lebanon, also spoke at the event. “Once again as we commemorate United Nations day, we do so at a time of turbulence and appalling conflict across the region,” Plumbly said in his speech.
“It’s become common place to say so, but it’s true, Lebanon has shown great resilience in the face of this. It has done so thanks to the resolve of its people and the unity of its leaders.” Plumbly went on to say that the international community was also united in supporting Lebanon, citing the International Support Group for Lebanon, which met at the New York General Assembly in September, as an example. “[International Support] has been manifested in the international assistance, totaling almost $2 billion, which has been gathered over the last 24 months for refugees and Lebanese communities and institutions impacted by the war in Syria,” he said. Asked about the issue of the government’s newly proposed refugee policy – which the Cabinet says will prevent all refugees crossing the border from Syria, except those with “extreme humanitarian cases,” – Plumbly said the U.N. would wait to see more details. “We’re waiting to see to be honest. I’m sure we’ll work together [with the government] and cooperate. You know, make it work, but we’ll see, we’ll have to wait and see the details to be honest,” he told The Daily Star. The issue of channeling support to help Lebanese host communities that have been severely affected by the Syrian refugee crisis was prominent in all of the literature available at the conference.
“More and more [the U.N. is] realizing the humanitarian issues cannot be treated in isolation,” Saade told The Daily Star. “In order to ensure social cohesion, to avoid the friction between host communities and the refugees you need to treat both equally.”
According to Saade, the U.N. has implemented a wide range of programs targeted at providing aid to the poorest and most vulnerable host communities, especially those in which there are now more refugees than local residents. He estimated that there were now 250 communities where this was the case. “We hope that creating jobs for both the refugees and the host communities will deter youth from either criminal activities or political radicalism,” he added. During his speech, Saade highlighted several different programs that the U.N.’s 24 agencies in Lebanon are currently working on, including the World Health Organization’s assistance in building Ebola wards in Beirut’s hospitals. He also noted that the U.N. had doubled the number of its civilian staff in Lebanon in the past 18 months and “most of these staff are Lebanese.”“We know that this is not nearly enough,” Saade said. “Despite the support, more must be done to share the burden of the Syrian conflict. “We know that Lebanon is carrying far more than its share. We are raising our voices to the world, appealing for it to stand by Lebanon ... for its own stability and for the stability of the region.”
Clashes rock Tripoli, militant killed, two soldiers wounded
Antoine Amrieh| The Daily Star
TRIPOLI/BEIRUT: The Lebanese Army clashed with gunmen in the northern city of Tripoli Friday night shortly after rumors spread that a high-value “terrorist” captured during a military raid in the Dinnieh region had died, security sources said. A militant commander was killed and two soldiers were slightly wounded in the clash that erupted around 8:30 p.m. in the neighborhood of Khan al-Askar and Tripoli’s old souks and subsided two hours later, the sources said.
The shootout began shortly after rumors spread in Tripoli that Ahmad Salim Mikati, a key ISIS member arrested by the Army during the raid in the Dinnieh region, had died, the sources said.
A number of gunmen took to the streets and began firing at military posts, prompting the Army to respond quickly and chase the gunmen, the sources told The Daily Star.
The militants then withdrew from the neighborhood and headed toward the old souks, slipping through small alleyways that cannot be accessed by armored vehicles, they added.
The Army quickly deployed reinforcements to surround the gunmen in the old souks. Soldiers closed roads leading to the Bab al-Raml neighborhood, near the site of the fighting, the sources said.
A senior military official said the Army would step up its “pre-emptive strikes” against terrorist groups following its successful raid in the Dinnieh region Thursday that led to the arrest of Mikati and the killing of three terror suspects.
“The Dinnieh raid is a link in a chain in the Army’s ongoing battle against terrorism. Whenever it receives information about the presence of terrorist groups, the Army will launch pre-emptive strikes at the right time,” the official told The Daily Star.
“The Army is determined to crush terrorism threatening the country.”
A day after his arrest during the Army raid in Dinnieh, Mikati has confessed to being a member of ISIS, allegedly telling interrogators that he planned to kidnap more servicemen to exert pressure on the government to accept a swap deal with the militants holding 27 soldiers and policemen hostage. “Ahmad Salim Mikati confessed he belongs to ISIS and that he regularly coordinated with his son [Omar] and nephew [Bilal] stationed in the outskirts of Arsal,” a security source told The Daily Star.
An Army statement Thursday described Mikati, 46, as “one of ISIS’ most important cadres” in north Lebanon. It said Mikati planned a “massive terrorist act” in coordination with his son, Omar, who is fighting with ISIS on the outskirts of the northeastern town of Arsal. Mikati is also accused of recruiting young Lebanese men to join ISIS on the outskirts of Qalamoun. The statement said Bilal Mikati was implicated in the beheading of 1st Sgt. Ali Sayyed.
Sayyed was among the dozens of soldiers and policemen that ISIS and the Nusra Front took hostage when they briefly overran Arsal in early August. The militant groups retreated to Arsal’s rugged outskirts after five days of fierce fighting with the Lebanese Army but are still holding 27 servicemen hostage after releasing seven and executing three. The security source said Mikati confessed that his group was involved in a plot to persuade Lebanese soldiers in the Dinnieh region to defect from the Army and join ISIS.
The group, according to the source, also planned to kidnap more soldiers and policemen, “to add extra pressure on the Lebanese government and raise the demand ceiling, be it in terms of a swap deal or to ease the security siege on the armed militants by the Lebanese Army on the outskirts of Arsal.”Army commander Gen. Jean Kahwagi met Prime Minister Tammam Salam at the Grand Serail to brief him on the Army raid in Dinnieh.
Kahwagi informed Salam of “the latest Army operation in Dinnieh that led to the killing of three terrorists and the arrest of a fourth [Mikati] and spared the northern region and Lebanon dangerous terrorist attacks that were being planned,” the National News Agency reported. The Army chief also briefed Salam on his visit to Washington, where he met with U.S. officials and military commanders of other countries participating in the U.S.-led international coalition fighting ISIS in Syria and Iraq.
Salam and Kahwagi reviewed the ongoing efforts to release the 27 Lebanese servicemen held hostage by ISIS and the Nusra Front, the NNA said. Meanwhile, the military said in a statement Friday night that DNA tests on one of the dead bodies of the three gunmen killed during the raid in Dinnieh belonged to Army defector Abdul-Kader Akoumi.
Derian calls for Muslim unity ahead of New Year
The Daily Star/BEIRUT: Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian urged Lebanese Muslims Friday to stand united in the face of extremism and uphold moderate principles. “As [true] Lebanese, our aim should be for a united nation, a unified state, a united Army and coexistence. I call on all Lebanese to stick to their nation and their state regardless of what it takes,” the grand mufti said in a speech marking Islamic New Year, which began Saturday. He stressed that attempts to undermine the nation would be overcome if people were loyal to state institutions and if the role of moderate Sunnis in state administration were restored. Derian said the marginalization of Sunni leadership after Feb. 14, 2005, the date Future Movement founder and former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri was killed, had wrought havoc in Lebanon to this day. “The Taif Accord ended the Civil War, after which the Lebanese were wholly engaged in rebuilding the state, but since 2005, we have witnessed consistent attempts being made to undermine the state, costing the Lebanese a lot of sweat and blood,” Derian said. He warned that Lebanon, which “could not be partitioned” during 15 years of Civil War, “is being threatened with destruction through the dissemination of extremist ideology and the marginalization of [Sunni] Muslims in public affairs.”
Lebanon has seen numerous car bombs and attacks since Hariri’s assassination. Episodes of violence in the country have persisted; as recently as August, clashes erupted in the northeastern town of Arsal between the Lebanese Army and Islamist militants from ISIS and the Nusra Front. The militants are still holding hostage 27 servicemen they captured during the battles. “On the occasion of the holy Islamic New Year, I urge all Muslim and true believers to learn from the [teachings] of the Prophet on how to confront extremism that seeks to exterminate people and displace them from their home, land and nation,” Derian added. Also marking the New Year, Sidon MP Bahia Hariri stressed the need for Muslim unity and understanding, in a statement issued for the occasion.
“[I hope] this New Year will carry with it security and stability for Lebanon,” the statement said. Hariri also expressed hopes that several key domestic and regional issues would be resolved soon, including the election of a new president, the release of the captured servicemen and the liberation of Palestinians from Israeli occupation. Nazek Hariri, the widow of late Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, echoed similar sentiments. “Everyone in Lebanon should take the responsibility to spare the country strife, and avoid incitement and political polarization,” Hariri said in a statement to mark the start of the new Islamic year. Druze spiritual leader Sheikh Naim Hasan also congratulated Muslims on the occasion of Islamic New Year, and highlighted the need for guidance from God to fight strife and division. “This dangerous phase in the region calls on Muslims to [stand strong] today more than ever,” he said. “It calls on all religions and sects to unite in the face of danger.” Shiite scholar Sayyed Ali Fadlallah voiced hopes that Muslims would not repeat the same mistakes of the previous year. “The Prophet wanted us to say our farewells to the passing year and welcome the new one. He wanted us to hold ourselves accountable [for the things we did] to not repeat the same mistakes,” Fadlallah said during Friday’s sermon.
For his part, Lebanon’s Shiite Mufti Sheikh Ahmad Qabalan called on Muslims to unite against potential strife.
“Muslims during this Islamic New Year should follow God and no one else,” he said. “[Muslims] should get closer to God through their unity and not division.”
UNIFIL will not deploy on Syrian border
Mohammed Zaatari| The Daily Star
NAQOURA, Lebanon: UNIFIL will not be sent to Lebanon’s eastern border, spokesperson Andrea Tenenti said Friday, adding that the situation in south Lebanon was calm, as both Israel and Lebanon were interested in maintaining peace along the border. “UNIFIL has a very specific mandate: The mandate of UNIFIL is in the south of Lebanon between the Litani River and the Blue Line. So we have no role whatsoever in Syria or along the Syrian borders,” Tenenti told reporters. “We are here at the request of the Lebanese authorities to implement our mandate with Security Council Resolution 1701, which is monitoring the cessation of hostilities [and] assisting the Lebanese Army in their deployment in the south.” With the Syrian civil war in its fourth year and an increasingly restless and hostile militant presence – including ISIS and the Nusra Front – on the country’s eastern border, the March 14 coalition has requested that the peacekeeping force deploy there too. But Tenenti emphasized that UNIFIL’s mandate was specifically related to the south of Lebanon. For him, changing the mandate meant changing the mission. However, it may be a case of militants coming to UNIFIL. As winter approaches and jihadists holed up in the mountainous border lands search for supply routes and villages to inhabit, fears have intensified that they might try to attack the country’s southeast frontier. “We have peacekeepers throughout our area of operations, from the Litani River to the [U.N.-demarcated] Blue Line. So whenever there’s something or some suspicious activity in the south of Lebanon, if our troops are on the ground, we will be immediately informed,” Tenenti said. He explained that, as usual, they would also work with the Lebanese Army on any such case. “I assure you that if peacekeepers are on the ground they will report any incident or any suspicious activity to the headquarters in UNIFIL.” When asked whether peacekeepers belonging to countries helping bomb ISIS in Syria were at greater risk of attack or kidnap, he underlined that all members of UNIFIL were neutral, irrespective of whether their home country was participating in the U.S.-led coalition against the extremist group. “All the countries that are working with UNIFIL, all the troops contributing countries that are giving troops to UNIFIL, are under U.N. mandate,” Tenenti said. “We have different countries but they wear the United Nations flag, so we only respond to the secretary-general of the United Nations and to the mandate of the United Nations. “We had issues in the past when other countries were deciding on the national level about political issues, but in relation to UNIFIL and to ... contributing countries there’s only one agenda ... the U.N. agenda.”Tenenti stressed that Israel and Lebanon were keen on maintaining stability along the borders, especially after a Hezbollah attack in the occupied Shebaa Farms earlier this month wounded two Israeli soldiers.
“I would like to say that the tripartite meeting has been very effective [and] is the only confidence building mechanism that the mission has in order to discuss issues related to violation with both parties,” he said in reference to a regular meeting attended by senior officers from the Lebanese and Israeli armies along with UNIFIL
Iran set to execute woman convicted of killing her rapist, Amnesty International says
J.Post 25/10/14/The human rights organization Amnesty International is urging global intervention to stop the imminent execution of a woman in Iran who was sentenced to death for killing her rapist. Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, is scheduled to be put to death at dawn on Saturday, according to Amnesty. In 2007, Jabbari was arrested for killing Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, a former employee of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence. Jabbari claimed that she was defending herself against Sarbandi’s sexual advances. She was given the death penalty by a Tehran court in 2009. The Iranian supreme court denied her appeals against the sentence. She was originally scheduled to be put to death last month, but Iranian authorities postponed the move at the last minute, perhaps due to the international attention Jabbari’s case has attracted. “The authorities must act now to stop her execution,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, the deputy director of Amnesty’s Middle East and North Africa division. “Instead of repeatedly rescheduling Reyhaneh Jabbari’s execution date, the Iranian judiciary should order a re-trial that complies with international standards for fair trial without recourse to the death penalty
US rejected Israeli DM,Ya'alon request to meet key officials
Obama administration refused to grant visits with top figures, in act of political payback for defense minister calling Kerry 'obsessive and messianic'.
Yitzhak Benhorin /Ynetnews/Published: 10.24.14
WASHINGTON – The US administration prevented Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon from meeting with key officials during his visit to Washington, DC, American sources told Ynet on Friday. The defense ministry did not comment, though sources close to Ya'alon said "the aim was to meet with the security echelon, and that was what happened." Ya'alon arrived on Tuesday to meet his counterpart, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, and American intelligence officials. The Obama administration, however, refused the Israeli defense minister's request to meet with other top officials, including Vice President Joe Biden, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the National Security Advisor Susan Rice. The rejection was diplomatic blowback from Ya'alon's remarks on Kerry, which were first revealed by Yedioth Ahronoth. The Israeli politician had called the top US diplomat "messianic and obsessive" behind closed doors, adding that "the only thing that could save us is Kerry winning a Nobel Peace Prize and leaving us alone." Unlike his predecessor in the job, Ehud Barak – who used to make diplomatic overtures during his Washington visits – the US administration refused to set any such meetings for Ya'alon. Previous defense ministers would often be honored by drop-in visit by the president, who would stop to chat with the Israeli guest even without an appointment – Ya'alon did not receive such a gesture. On the diplomatic front, Ya'alon met with the US ambassador to the UN, Samantha Power, the only other key official to sit down with the Israeli defense minister aside from Hagel. But he received little respite from the sour reception, as Power emphasized her grievance with settlement construction beyond the Green Line. The defense ministry did not issue an official response. Sources close to Ya'alon said that "the aim of the trip was to meet with Hagel and the top security echelon in the US, and that happened. These meetings proved once again the strength of the ties between the defense establishments and between Ya'alon and Hagel."
Can the Arab world defeat ISIS?
Maged Mandour 24 October 2014
What will three forces contribute to the defeat of ISIS: Arab autocrats, moderate Islamist groups and secular democratic protest movements - the first initiators of the Arab Revolt? We can discount the first...
For many, the American campaign against ISIS is the only possible solution. Many would argue, rightly, that the United States possesses a unique set of military capabilities, placing it in a unique global position - the only power capable of stopping the meteoric rise of ISIS.
However, the United States points out that without partners on the ground, chances of defeating ISIS are slim. There is a need not simply to wage a military campaign against the group, but to launch an assault on its ideological foundations.
Secretary Kerry highlighted this on his trip to Cairo, where he emphasized the role that Egypt could play in combating radical Islamism, as the largest Arab state, with its exceptional cultural weight in the Arab World. He ignored the role the military played in the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood, in fostering radicalism in the Sinai Peninsula, in addition to the increased level of violence gripping the country due to the repressive policies implemented by the military regime.
After the airstrikes began, with the participation of a number of Arab states, the question that is posed is this: can Arab political order, in its current configuration, defeat ISIS? The word “defeat” here is used to refer not only to military defeat, but also to its ideological and social defeat. In other words, ending the appeal of the group to the thousands who have flocked towards it, which in effect, has allowed for them to take over large swathes of territory in a short period of time. As such, is it possible to end its social and ideological appeal, and prevent it from morphing into other forms?
There are three forces that may possibly contribute to the defeat of ISIS: Arab autocrats, moderate Islamist groups and secular democratic protest movements - the first initiators of the Arab Revolt.
I will start with the power elites, namely the Arab autocrats. Arab autocrats are the direct beneficiaries of the rise of ISIS and the airstrikes that ensued, because they have whitewashed these bankrupt regimes, both internationally and domestically.
In Iraq, the sectarian regime seems to be more entrenched than before. The rise of ISIS has allowed the regime to consolidate its power base in the Shiite south and present itself as their protector. This sectarian structure has been maintained by cosmetic changes. The most important example is the call by Ayatollah Ali-Sistani for the then Prime Minister, El-Maliki, to step down and form a more inclusive government. Maliki did step down, however, the sectarian nature of the regime remains the same. The underreported abuses of the Shia militia against the Sunni community, which the Iraqi government seems to have either encouraged or actively ignored, is a clear example of their policy of encouraging sectarianism, which in turn helps the regime maintain its grip on power.
In Syria, the rise of ISIS has served the regime well. First, the rhetoric of 'fighting terrorism' and 'protecting minorities', which the regime used from the start of the revolt to justify mass repression, has in one fell swoop become both believable and justifiable. This has allowed the regime to mobilize the support of minorities as well as the urban middle class, who fear the rise of radical Islamism. As such, the behavior of the regime in not combating ISIS becomes more explicable.
Second, the rise of ISIS has weakened the power of the moderate opposition. First, by weakening its ideological appeal, by allowing the regime to label it as 'terrorist'. Second, by diverting precious resources away from the fight against Assad to the fight with ISIS, as ISIS focused its operations in Syria against other rebel groups, rather than the regime. Third, internationally, the Assad regime has been whitewashed, albeit indirectly. As ISIS takes center stage, Assad appears moderate in comparison.
In Egypt, the military regime has used the rise of ISIS to reinforce its policy of using the rhetoric of 'fighting terrorism' as justification for the mass repression of opponents, both Islamist and non-Islamist alike, and the pejorative labelling of various Islamist groups, regardless of their political and ideological stance, as 'terrorist'. It also allowed the military regime to re-emphasise its strategic importance as an essential ally to the United States in a region whose cooperation is needed for any American incursion into the Arab world.
If the current ideological base of the Arab autocrats is the rejectionist ideology of 'fighting terrorism', this in essence means that the survival of these regimes depends on the existence of groups like ISIS. They become 'providers of security' in what appears to be an existential threat facing the middle classes of the Arab World.
This partly explains the collapse of the old Arab “imagined community”, as Benedict Anderson referred to it, to be replaced by a new community which is sectarian in its nature. In other words, the current elites are the direct beneficiaries of the rise of Islamist radicalism and have actively encouraged it, using identity politics to reinforce their position. The Arab autocrats are therefore not reliable allies in the fight against ISIS. They are ill-equipped to face the group both on a military and ideological level.
Potentially the most potent ideological opponents to form a counterweight against radical Islamism are moderate Islamist groups that operate within the same sphere.
The most prominent group is the Muslim Brotherhood, who have historically cooperated with Arab autocrats against shared radical Islamist opponents. For example, the position that the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood took against the jihadists in Egypt prompted fierce criticism from Ayman El Zawahri; or take the example of the position of the Algerian Muslim Brotherhood in supporting the military against the Islamist radicals during that civil war.
These groups are now classified by Arab autocrats as 'terrorist' groups and are being subjected to mass repression. They are also facing the threat of marginalization within their constituencies as they are subjected to mass repression. The path of moderation becomes more tenuous, in essence, increasing the probability of the emergence of groups that are more inclined towards violence and radicalism.
The moderate Islamist groups seem to be trapped between the repression of Arab autocrats, the power struggle with radicals, and the pressure from grassroots movements not to compromise with the different regimes. This, combined with the failed experiment of Islamist rule in Egypt and the backlash that ensued, makes theses groups too weak to be effective forces on the ground in the fight against ISIS.
As for the secular democratic opposition, there does not seem to be much of a role for them. These forces have almost been completely defeated. In Egypt, they are subjected to mass repression, with popular consent mixed in with an orientalist discourse on the “nature of the Egyptian”, the need for rule by force, and the incompatibility of democracy with the Egyptian masses.
In Syria, the peaceful opposition is marginalized and the moderate armed opposition is outgunned, outmaneuvered, and has been sidelined by radical movements.
In Iraq, the Sunni peaceful mass protests, which were savagely repressed by the government, are a distant memory, as radicalism has replaced it as a means of channeling grievances.
In conclusion one can argue, based on the current configuration of social forces on the ground, that the American campaign has few reliable allies, some of which are even benefiting from the rise of ISIS. As such, the airstrikes will not be effective in defeating ISIS without the existence of a local force capable of confronting the group on ideological and social levels. Even if ISIS can be defeated militarily, they will morph into other forms. ISIS is the symptom of a much more profound crisis in the Arab world. A crisis of a decaying political order, where there is neither a force able to govern alone, nor current forces willing to compromise. This is strangling the Arab world, and condemning it to a slow political and social decay.
A father stoning his daughter to
death… ISIS’s new trailer
Friday, 24 October 2014
Abdulrahman al-Rashed /Al Arabiya
Why was ISIS keen on promoting a video showing its fighters stoning a girl to death with the participation of her father? This video will remain one of the most dreadful videos vilifying Muslims. At the same time, this video does not only depict the brutality of this organization - as its ruthless side was already known - but also shows its ability to remain a top news item in media coverage by using social media for its own purposes. It has succeeded in reaching its goals, especially as it is one of the most popular topics being discussed in the media. Media wise, its cruelty has achieved what it set out to achieve. Its aim was to shock people to the highest degree through the harshest images of beheadings, collectively killing unarmed civilians, persecuting women and stoning them. Even al-Qaeda, which popularized the use of these kinds of videos, did not display cruelty to the extent that ISIS has done. “If ISIS was able to convince the father and daughter to commit this crime, it won’t be difficult for the organization to convince thousands of naïve persons to join or support it”
This violence and brutality are not only showcased to the general public to demonstrate their ferocity, but ISIS is also trying to persuade people that this is the true Islam and that they are the alternative regime and that they are able to recruit more members through challenge and change and promoting their own interpretation of Islam. The shocking video showed the extremists’ ability to convince the ignorant father that after stoning his daughter she would go to heaven. ISIS also wanted to show that they are even able to convince the girl to accept being stoned to atone for her sins.
The case in Raqqa
ISIS followers circulated this video but they failed to address what happened in the Syrian city of Raqqa, where they gathered citizens near the municipal stadium to stone a young girl but the public refused to participate in the crime. ISIS fighters stoned her without circulating the video because they knew that the non-cooperation and condemnation of the citizens is not the best propaganda material. Nevertheless, we must not underestimate the success of its propaganda. If ISIS was able to convince the father and daughter to commit this crime, it won’t be difficult for the organization to convince thousands of naïve persons to join or support it when they see and hear about its activities. Although politicians are incessantly talking about the prosecution of hardline preachers and purveyors of a delinquent ideology, taking a look at social networking sites and videos on YouTube will clearly show that ISIS is winning in the battle so far. Syria and Iraq are no longer the promised land for those who are getting ready for battle; Yemen has become the promised land for fighters. Fighting against the Houthis is the new rallying slogan. Young men are being rallied to fight in Yemen and of course the goal is a bigger army for al-Qaeda and its affiliates. It would not be difficult to cross into Yemen via its extensive borders or rugged terrain, especially as the state is on the verge of collapsing due to the alliance of the ousted President Ali Abdullah Saleh with the Houthi militias who are known for their loyalty to Iran. We should not view ISIS from our moral and religious standards as it is a group that decided to shake the world more than al-Qaeda has ever done. The ramifications of what we are witnessing will linger for years, as long as the solution continues to come late in the day. Most allied countries set forth to fight ISIS in small towns such as Kobane, but what about the hundreds of towns and villages scattered across Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Libya? Indeed, there is no sufficient army to fight the extremists scattered throughout the region. Their numbers will never decrease, no matter how intense or precise the bombardment against becomes, due to their ability to market their propaganda and recruit more members. It will be a losing battle unless there are intense activities by all governments to stop extremists’ propaganda from spreading and hold all ISIS, al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood supporters to account. That way, we may be able to put an end to their propaganda and exterminate extremism.
The politics of acid attacks against
Friday, 24 October 2014
Majid Rafizadeh /Al Arabiya
The unprecedented series of acid assaults against Iranian women in Iran’s third-largest city, the traditional province of Esfahan, has taken the nation by surprise and has imposed a considerable amount of fear and terror among women. The number of attacks has been reported to be as high as eleven victims. “I was never more scared than I am now. I am scared of going to class, doing normal chores, driving a car, and even walking in the street. I am really afraid of motorcycles. Do you know what will happen to my life if one of these people throw acid in my face?” Azita, a university student in Esfahan, anxiously told me on the phone.
According to BBC Persian, Nasser Jowrkesh, father of Soheila, one of the acid victims, stated, “The attack caused extensive acid burns on her face, forehead, both hands and legs. She has lost her complete eyesight on her right eye. Regarding her left eye an ophthalmologist and surgeon in Labbafi Nejad hospital believes that there is a narrow hope to save some 25-30% of her eyesight.”
“Iranian women have long played a crucial role socially, politically and culturally”
Accordingly, some women do not feel safe in their cars, as the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported that in October 15 witnesses saw an incident of acid assault by a motorcyclist on a 27-year-old woman who was in the car with the window left window open. According to the Daily Beast, some motorcyclist are attempting to impose fear in women by throwing a mixture of water and cleansers into their faces which leads to a sensation of burning.
The unprecedented assaults
The Islamic Republic has rarely been in the spotlight when it comes to the issue of acid attacks against women. Socially, historically and culturally speaking, this act has been an unacceptable one in the society.
Generally, countries such as India, Pakistan and Afghanistan have drawn more attention, been in the center of the debate and have experienced a rise in the acid assault against women. Secondly the reasons behind the assaults against women who had been victims in these societies, were normally characterized and linked to issues such as honor. In addition, such cases were part of inter-family issues.
On the other hand, the recent wave of acid assault against women in Esfahan contradicts the aforementioned conventions. Reportedly, the Iranian women have been targeted due to the notion that they do not wear the appropriate clothes and they are not veiled well. In addition, so far, the aggressors appear to be strangers, motorcyclists, with conservative dress codes rather than members of victims’ families.
What is known is that without a doubt, the recent and unprecedented wave of acid attacks in the Islamic Republic has imposed a considerable amount of fear among Iranian women. Although it appears to be difficult to identify who the aggressors are at this point, it is crucial to point out that the tension between educated Iranian women and hardliners has ratcheted up in recent years. The increasing power of women in public life is posing a tremendous challenge to hardliners who prefer the traditional function for women in the society.
Hardliners, vigilante groups, and patrol police have been criticizing the modern role of educated Iranian women. Improper dress code has also been one of the arguments that hardliners use to buttress their argument. Iranian parliament, which is dominated by hardliners, passed a law just a few months ago criminalizing any kind of permanent contraception such as vasectomies, as well as abortions and sterilizations.
In addition, the Iranian parliament has recently passed legislations that grant more power to vigilante groups as well as patrol police. Some of the powerful vigilante groups are Basij and Ansar-e-Hezbollah (the Supporters of the Party of God).
The unintended consequences of The Islamic Republic’s policies
Iranian women have long played a crucial role socially, politically and culturally. In addition they were instrumental in the 1979 revolution. Nevertheless, soon after the establishment of the Islamic Republic, some women movements believed that their rights have been curtailed in family, social and political affairs.
On the other hand, since the Islamic Republic instituted conservative legislations, these policies encouraged many conservative families, particularly those in the villages, to feel confident to send their girls to universities, or allow them work outside home. For example, currently, the number of female university students surpass those of men in Iran. As a result, women took a greater role in the society and demanded jobs, civil liberties, and individual freedom.
One of the prominent examples of the unintended consequences of the Islamic Republic’s policies is the case of Faezeh Rafsanjani, daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Faezeh Rafsanjani has become a symbol of resistance against the government by participating in an opposition rallies, particularly during the 2009 debated elections, and giving speeches to banned political demonstrators. She has been criticized by the hardliners, and has been arrested, detained on several occasions, charged for spreading anti governmental propaganda, taken to the political Evin prison and banned from leaving the Islamic Republic.
Since the number of young women resisting the government has ratcheted up, the Islamic Republic has found it more difficult to control them. As a result, the larger challenge for the government is the increasing tension between hardline elements and modern educated Iranian women who are demanding a different role in the society.
To Defeat ISIS, Save Syria
By: Amir Taheri/Asharq Al Awsat
Friday, 24 Oct, 2014
Given the media’s focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), some “experts” claim that the crisis in Syria, now heading into its fourth year, has become a sideshow. The truth, however, is that Syria remains at the center of the crisis shaking the political architecture of the Middle East. Unless Western democracies and regional allies develop a policy on Syria, hopes of a return to even a semblance of stability will remain forlorn. ISIS is an effect, Syria is the cause. Even from a narrow military perspective, the war against ISIS makes little sense outside the broader context of the Syrian quagmire. The reason is simple: Either directly or in conjunction with jihadist allies, ISIS has taken control of some 40 percent of Syrian territory, starting from Al-Bukamal in the south, on the border with Iraq, to the Syrian–Turkish border passing by Mayadin, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Manbij. If Kobani falls, ISIS will secure a band of contiguous territory between Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Unlike other jihadist groups, for example Al-Qaeda, ISIS is trying to morph into a state with its own territory. Thus, defeating it can only mean driving it out of territories it controls. In military terms, this is expressed through the mantra of the “3 Cs”: capture, cleanse, control.
At some point, someone, maybe the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces, the Turkish army, or even US and allied troops, would have to capture territory seized by ISIS. They would then proceed to cleanse it of any ISIS presence.
But what do they do once they reach the third “C”: control? Such control cannot be handed over to other jihadist groups. Even those that are not as nasty as ISIS would still be bad news for the people living in the areas affected.
It would also be impossible to let ethnic Kurds seize control since that could mean the emergence of a statelet controlled by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) right on Turkey’s border, something no government in Ankara would tolerate.
The other option, handing territories back to what is left of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, could be even more problematic.
Today, Assad controls about 40 percent of Syria’s territory, including Damascus and parts of its environs plus the coastline, with around 50 percent of the country’s pre-war population. A further 20 percent is controlled by forces opposed to Assad while almost a quarter of the population is now displaced in neighboring countries or inside Syria itself. Some in Washington and Israel suggest a deal with Assad to help him re-impose control in territories recaptured from ISIS. The trouble is that it is unlikely those who have shaken off Assad’s yoke would want to resubmit to it. More importantly, Assad no longer has the wherewithal to re-impose effective control over the entire country.
Right now, no one has the coercive clout or the persuasive appeal to claim effective power in Syria. Whichever of the participants in this deadly game comes on top, for whatever reason, is sure to be challenged by others.
Some experts suggest that Syria is a dead state with no hope of Lazarus-like resuscitation. The argument is that Syria, like other states in the Levant, were put on the map by Western “imperialists” and do not reflect the ethnic, religious and ideological diversity of a complex region. A decade ago, Joe Biden, now US vice-president, suggested that Iraq be carved into three states. Today, his buddies fly a similar kite about Syria.
It is true that a war is best fought on the basis of accomplishing immediate goals with focus kept on the defeat and destruction of the enemy. However, war is only useful if it changes an intolerable status quo by creating a new one in the interests of the victors.
Prudent warriors, while not distracted by “what-happens-afterwards” concerns, nevertheless, give some thought to the possible shape of a post-war balance of power. Today, none of the options being discussed is likely to prove helpful.
You can’t leave ISIS in control, or hand power to “ISIS-lite” groups either. Replacing a jihadist regime with a Marxist–Leninist one under the PKK would be a surrealistic jump from the frying pan into the fire. Inviting the genocidal Assad to regain control is indecent, to say the least. The idea of carving up Syria, and for that matter other states of the region, is one underpinned by cynicism, and the entrenched belief in some Western quarters that Arabs are incapable of governing themselves without violence and terror. To suggest that Syria is an artificial state is to say nothing, if only because every state under the sun is artificial, starting with the United States and Russia, and passing by Australia and India. No nation-state simply fell from the heavens fully-formed.
The only realistic option is to envisage the revival of the Syrian state in a new context. One way would be to create UN-supervised “safe havens” adjacent to the borders with Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. That could provide a basis from which to promote a national dialogue aimed at power-sharing with the goal of restoring the Syrian state. Those in the Assad camp who still believe in a united Syria would be invited to attend. The permanent members of the UN Security Council would act as brokers for a national compromise.
It is only as a war to liberate Syria and restore its status as a nation-state that the campaign against ISIS might make sense.
solving the Syrian problem, no amount of bombing, or even a ground invasion, would bring the Middle East back from the edge of disaster.
In other words, it’s Syria, stupid!
Canadian Gunman angry about not getting passport, had drug
problems, say shelter mates
The Canadian Press/By Lee-Anne Goodman and Andy Blatchford,
OTTAWA - The man who killed a soldier at the National War Memorial was angry about failing to get a passport and struggled with drug addiction, say those who knew him at the men's shelters where he spent his final weeks.
Michael Zehaf Bibeau so angered some of the men at the Ottawa Mission because of his complaints about Canada that there was almost a fight in recent days, said Norman LeBlanc, a 60-year-old former truck driver who frequents the shelter.
"He went on for more than an hour about how much this country sucked and how he wanted to get out of here, and he was furious about the passport," LeBlanc said Thursday outside the mission.
"That made a lot of the others guys mad, and they were going to take him out back and give him a beating."
Hours after the shooting Wednesday, police descended upon the mission, removing a hockey bag from Zehaf Bibeau's locker that was so heavy it required two men to haul it outside into an armoured vehicle, LeBlanc added.
Police refused to elaborate on the contents of the bag.
Zehaf Bibeau often prayed with two Somali men in the shelter in an east-facing window in accordance with the Muslim faith, LeBlanc said.
One of them, Abdel Kareem Abubakrr, denied his new friend's actions had anything to do with his faith.
"He was a crackhead, I think," he said.
Despite his recent struggles, however, those who knew Zehaf Bibeau as a younger man say he showed promise only a few years ago.
He attended exclusive, private high schools in the 1990s in Montreal and the nearby city of Laval. Today, tuition at two of the academies ranges from $3,000 to $4,500 per year.
The principal of College Laval said Zehaf Bibeau studied there from 1995 until the middle of the 1998-99 academic year, when his parents removed him without explanation.
The mere fact Zehaf Bibeau studied at College Laval suggests he had a bright future, Michel Baillargeon told The Canadian Press.
"If this young man was with us for a couple of years, that means he had good grades," said Baillargeon, who described Zehaf Bibeau's record as nondescript.
He was also remembered fondly by someone at another local high school he attended. That person paid homage to "Mike" in a blurb published in the Saint-Maxime high school yearbook, according to the Laval Courrier newspaper.
The undated write-up described Zehaf Bibeau as a friendly guy, a new kid who barely had any friends at the school when he first arrived in the middle of Grade 10.
"He didn't know very many people, but in a short time everyone knew him," said the short message authored by the unidentified friend. It was published Thursday by the Laval Courrier.
"Mike is a sociable and intelligent guy. He likes to laugh and his smile makes girls crack up. He will go far in life. He will surely be a business man in the near future.
"Follow your heart. Take care of yourself. I adore you."
A former acquaintance of Zehaf Bibeau's father said he believes the young man's path would eventually take him to Libya.
The ex-owner of a Laval coffee shop where Bulgasem Zehaf was a regular customer said the father told him how he brought his son to live with him in Libya for a while around 10 or 15 years ago. The move, the man added, followed Bulgasem Zehaf's divorce from Bibeau.
The man, who spoke to The Canadian Press on the condition his name not be published for fear of recriminations from the community, said Bulgasem Zehaf used to buy used cars in the Montreal area, fix them up and ship them to Libya, where he sold them.
He remembered how much Bulgasem Zehaf would glow when he talked about his son.
"He loved his son very, very much," said the former cafe owner. "He loved him because he was his only child, I believe."
The man also recalled how the proud father used to call his son Abdallah, not Michael.
At a news conference Thursday in Ottawa, RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson said Zehaf Bibeau's passport application had not been denied, but was still being processed.
"It was in the process of being evaluated," Paulson said. "He didn't have it, but the investigation into whether he would have it was ongoing."
At the shelter, Abubakrr said Zehaf Bibeau told the men that he had left Vancouver for Ottawa in an attempt to obtain a passport. The Somali man said his new prayer-mate wanted to leave Canada to get treatment for his addiction because he didn't feel he could get help in Canada.
Three days ago, Abubakkr said, Zehaf Bibeau began taking drugs again and started espousing "extremist ideas" — Abubakkr wouldn't elaborate — because he was frustrated about his failure to obtain a passport.
"He was a good guy, he was talkative, a very lovely person, but he was a drug addict," Abubakrr said. "In the last three days, he shifted."
Zehaf Bibeau had a criminal record for petty crimes in both B.C. and Quebec. He visited a mosque in Burnaby, east of Vancouver, for several months in 2011 until he was told not to return, said Aasim Rashid of the B.C. Muslim Association.
"He did float in and out of the mosque," said Rashid.
"He's described as somebody who didn't have a very stable life. He was moving in and out of places, in and out of cities, and he was looking for a job. He was described as someone who was a little rough around the edges."
Rashid said Zehaf Bibeau approached administrators to complain that the mosque was too liberal.
"He had some objections against the mosque administration for their openness and their being so inclusive," he said.
"So they sat him down and explained to him that this is how the mosque runs, and they didn't really hear anything of that nature again."
Zehaf Bibeau's mother, Susan Bibeau, released a statement on Thursday apologizing for her son's actions.
"I am mad at our son; I don't understand and part of me wants to hate him at this time," the statement said.
"(He) was lost and did not fit in. I, his mother, spoke with him last week over lunch; I had not seen him for over five years before that. So I have very little insight to offer."
Another man at the mission, Tom Wilson, said Zehaf Bibeau slept in the bunk beneath him on his first night at the Ottawa shelter after they checked in together two weeks ago.
"He had this big hockey bag that he put down on the ground and it sounded like it was really heavy so I asked him, just as a joke: 'What, have you got a body in there? What the hell is in there?'" said Wilson.
"This past Sunday, I saw him down in the lobby all irritated about something, saying: 'I gotta get out of here.'"
A man at a Vancouver shelter, who would only be identified by his first name, Steve, said he knew Zehaf Bibeau as a man who wanted to go to Libya, his father's birthplace, and spent money on crack and heroin.
"He had some problem with his passport and he wanted to get that sorted out so he could go to Libya," Steve said. "He hitchhiked from here some time in September to get to Ottawa."
— With files from James Keller in Vancouver
Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter @leeanne25
ABC News: “Authorities in Canada are
trying to understand what motivated a gunman to kill a soldier in the country’s
Robert Spencer/Jihad Watch
ZehafBibeauWell, let’s see. He is a Muslim — not one who recently converted, but one who has been a Muslim for at least three years. His father is a veteran of the jihad in Libya. His photo was sent out yesterday by the Islamic State, which has repeatedly called upon Muslims in the West to stage freelance jihad attacks. In other words, the gunman’s motive is staring ABC News and the Canadian authorities in the face, but it is the one thing that the mainstream media and all too many Western officials do not wish to see, and spend a great deal of time trying to obfuscate. “The Most Pressing Question About the Ottawa Shooting,” ABC News, October 23, 2014 (thanks to Pamela Geller): Authorities in Canada are trying to understand what motivated a gunman to kill a soldier in the country’s capital Wednesday, with Prime Minister Stephen Harper calling the shooting the country’s second “terrorist” attack this week. “We will not be intimidated. Canada will never be intimidated,” Harper vowed in a nationally televised address after a masked gunman killed a soldier standing guard at Ottawa’s war memorial. The victim was identified as Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, 24. Following the shooting — which was reported at 9:52 a.m. Wednesday — the suspect stormed Parliament but was shot to death by ceremonial sergeant-at-arms Kevin Vickers, 58, authorities said. The gunman was identified as Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a 32-year-old Canadian national who had recently converted to Islam, ABC News has learned. At this point, authorities are still gathering details about the gunman, Harper said. “In the days to come, we will learn about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had,” Harper said. Canada had already raised its national terrorism alert level following an incident Monday in which a Canadian soldier was killed in a hit-and-run by a man suspected to have been a radicalized jihadist….
Ottawa shooter had “connections” to jihadists
Robert Spencer/Jihad Watch/Oct 23, 2014
(CNN) — The suspect in Wednesday’s shootings in Ottawa had “connections” to jihadists in Canada who shared a radical Islamist ideology, including at least one who went overseas to fight in Syria, multiple U.S. sources told CNN on Thursday.
However, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that there is “no evidence at this stage” that Michael Zehaf-Bibeau was linked to a wider group, or network, of jihadists. “There’s no evidence at this stage for us to know that. Obviously there’s an investigation going on, and we hope to learn more in the … coming days. It was clear that, police authorities now have announced, that he was acting alone yesterday,” he said. According to a U.S. counterterrorism source, Zehaf-Bibeau was connected to Hasibullah Yusufzai through social media. Yusufzai is wanted by Canadian authorities for traveling overseas to fight alongside Islamist fighters in Syria, The Globe and Mail, a Canadian newspaper, reported. American officials are reportedly scouring databases and communications for possible links to American-based jihadists. Other radicalized people connected to Zehaf-Bibeau are still believed to be living in Canada, two U.S. law enforcement officials said….
Death and Terror in Ottawa
by STEVE EMERSON October 23, 2014
Family Security Matters
Two people, a reserve soldier from Hamilton, Ontario and his apparent murderer, were killed Wednesday morning in an attack that started at Canada's national War Memorial.
One gunman was shot and killed a short time later inside the nearby Parliament building. It is not yet clear whether additional people were involved in the attack. Video taken by a reporter for Canada's Globe and Mail seems to capture a shootout inside the Parliament building that led to the gunman's death.
Canadian authorities are saying very little. But the murder of 24-year-old Nathan Cirillo comes two days after another Canadian soldier died near Montreal after being run down by a car driven by a recent convert to Islam.
CBS News reported late Wednesday afternoon that Canadian officials informed American counterparts that the dead shooter is Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, a Canadian native who was about 32 years old. A Twitter post claimed that the terrorist group ISIS released a picture it claimed was Zehaf-Bibeau.
If Wednesday's attacker also proves to be a radical Islamist, it would be at least the fourth attack by Muslim radicals in North America in recent months.
Martin Couture-Rouleau, 25, was shot and killed after he rammed his car into two Canadian soldiers Monday. He reportedly told a 911 operator he was acting in the name of Allah. A friend told reporters that Rouleau had grown radical after converting to Islam about a year ago and dreamed of dying as a martyr.
His passport was confiscated and he was among 90 suspected Islamic radicals being monitored by Canadian authorities. During a news conference Wednesday afternoon, officials declined to say whether the man shot and killed in Parliament also was on that watch list.
Last week, before the two attacks, Canada raised its terror-threat level for the first time in four years. A spokesman said the move was prompted by "an increase in general chatter from radical Islamist organizations like (ISIS), Al Qaida, Al Shabaab and others who pose a clear threat to Canadians." The advisory from Canada's Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre (ITAC), warned that "an individual or group within Canada or abroad has the intent and capability to commit an act of terrorism. ITAC assesses that a violent act of terrorism could occur."
But during Wednesday's news conference, officials said no additional security was in place at the War Memorial or on Parliament Hill.
The United States also has seen recent killings by people who cited Islamic ideology as their motivation.
Alton Nolen, a convert to Islam, beheaded a co-worker and attacked a second person last month after being fired from his job at a food company. While the murder has been cast as workplace violence, Nolen's social media posts included a picture of Osama bin Laden and a beheading, in addition to anti-Semitic and anti-American comments. "Sharia law is coming," read one post, placed under a picture of the Pope.
Meanwhile, a Seattle man, Ali Muhammad Brown, repeatedly invoked his Muslim faith while being interrogated by detectives in connection with four murders from Washington to New Jersey. Each victim was shot repeatedly.
"My life is based on living in the cause of Allah," Brown said. "Living in the cause of Allah. To live for Allah, to die for Allah."
While some details of that interrogation have been described in court papers, the Investigative Project on Terrorism obtained a copy of the full one hour and 44 minute conversation.
Brown expressed disdain for gay people - two of his victims are believed to have been gay - describing homosexuality as "completely against nature" but stating the government allows "this evil to fester."
He repeatedly invoked the idea that an Islamic Caliphate, or Islamic rule, is the only way to restore order to American society. Brown also is suspected in armed robberies in New Jersey. He told detectives he thought about leaving America to "go to the land where God the almighty, Allah, is established and implemented."
Click to play streaming audio
Muslims, Brown said, cannot practice their religion in America, "because jihad is a part of our religion."
But Islamic law, governed by a Caliphate, can cure America of its social ills, he said, citing brutal punishment for those caught breaking the law. Prison doesn't work. In Islam, however, "you cut the hand in public for everyone to see. You alleviate all your thieves right there ... You behead someone right there in public, in the streets? You alleviate all the problems like that."
Click to play streaming audio
Neither Brown nor Nolen have been charged with terrorism. Eighteen months ago, Dzhokhar and Tamerlan Tsarnaev placed homemade bombs at the Boston Marathon's finish line. Tamerlan was killed in a later shootout with police. While hiding out from police, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev wrote that the attack was retaliation for American military action in Iraq and Afghanistan. "When you attack one Muslim, you attack all Muslims," he wrote. Despite these first-hand explanations, Islamist groups and some advocates continue to argue that religion has nothing to do with terrorist violence. This has happened before. In 2006, a group which became known as the "Toronto 18" was arrested as it planned a series of terrorist attacks against members of Parliament, the prime minister and the Parliament itself. One member of the group reportedly was killed recently while fighting in Syria. In the United States, Army psychiatrist Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and wounded 32 more in a shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas. This attack followed a series of Hasan's communications with Yemen-based al-Qaida cleric Anwar al-Awlaki. Though Awlaki would later be killed in a U.S. drone strike, Hasan's attack has never been classified by the government as a terrorist act. His victims have been denied Purple Hearts. When Pvt. Naser Jason Abdo was caught plotting a subsequent terror plot targeting Fort Hood, he told his own mother that, "The reason is religion, Mom."
"When bad things are happening" to Muslims, he said, "you have to do something about it. It's not yet clear whether Zehaf-Bibeau shared any ideology like that or was motivated by entirely separate reasons. But the spike in self-directed terror attacks is a cause for concern and a growing challenge for intelligence and security officials in the Canada and the United States.
**FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributor Steve Emerson is an internationally recognized expert on terrorism and national security and the author of five books on these subjects, most recently "Jihad Incorporated: A Guide to Militant Islam in the US." Steve also writes for the Counterterrorism Blog and he is the CEO of the Investigative Project on Terrorism.
Turkey still reluctant ally vs. ISIS
by DR. PETER BROOKES October 23, 2014
Family Security Matters
Ankara's seemingly shocking - but welcome - move reportedly allowing Iraqi Kurds to transit through Turkey to reinforce Syrian Kurds battling the Islamic State (aka ISIS or ISIL) for the city of Kobani, Syria, doesn't mean the Turks are "all in" on the ISIS fight.
Not by a long shot. Of course, it runs against the grain for the Turks to help the Kobani Kurds, considering their troubles with the Kurdish Workers' Party, or PKK, a terror group that has plagued Turkey for several decades and has found support in Syria.
But the Turks know that the U.S. air campaign against the Islamic State in Kobani is struggling and the strategic city could fall, meaning a humanitarian disaster for its citizens and a public relations victory for the ISIS terrorists. Not to mention that Ankara is under a lot of political pressure from Turkish Kurds (20 percent of its population) to do something about the disaster that may befall their Kobani "co-ethnics." Despite Ankara's willingness to permit Iraqi peshmerga fighters to cross Turkish territory - essentially offering little more than a garden hose to fight a five-alarm fire - the Turks are likely to remain an MIA member of Team Obama's questionable coalition.
First, Ankara is deeply worried about the possibility that the strife in Syria and Iraq will result in the Kurds joining forces to foment turmoil in Turkey. Worse, a Kurdish state could become an anti-Turkish safe haven for the PKK or others. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also wants the U.S.-led coalition to allow the mission to creep beyond its anti-ISIS angle to topple Syrian President Bashar Assad, no friend of Ankara's. Then there are questions about U.S. policy toward the Islamic State. Team Obama's ingredients for victory make for a thin policy gruel: a pinch of Syrian opposition, some U.S. air strikes, a few Kurdish peshmerga and a touch of Iraqi army. Plus, keying off Washington's "fire and forget" policy in Libya which three years later is a disaster due to a lack of follow-through, Ankara likely sees a similar scenario as possible for Iraq and Syria. Turkey may also not see America as committed to destroying the Islamic State, but more interested in containing it. The Turks know that while the Americans can pick up and leave (as we did in Iraq), Turkey isn't going anywhere. While we're right to be severely vexed with (NATO ally) Turkey's inactivity against the Islamic State so far, we should be mindful of the political-historical complexities of this rough-'n-tumble neighborhood.
But some of the blame resides in Washington, too. Team Obama hasn't inspired confidence among potential partners whether it's wrangling the Islamic State, Iraq, Libya, Syria or how it has played any other number of pressing international security problems (for example, Ukraine). While Ankara is wrongfully AWOL in the war with ISIS, based on Washington's handling of the region and, more broadly, violent Islamist extremism, it's no wonder Ankara is reluctant to cozy up to the U.S.-led coalition.
***Dr. Peter Brookes is a Senior Fellow for National Security Affairs at the Heritage Foundation and is a member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. He writes a weekly column for the New York Post and frequently appears on FOX, CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, NPR and BBC. He is the author of: "A Devil’s Triangle: Terrorism, Weapons of Mass Destruction and Rogue States." Mr. Brookes served in the U.S. Navy and is now a Commander in the naval reserves. He has over 1300 flight hours aboard Navy EP-3 aircraft. He is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy; the Defense Language Institute; the Naval War College; the Johns Hopkins University; and Georgetown University.
Peter Brookes is a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and a former deputy assistant secretary of defense. firstname.lastname@example.org
You Can’t Reform Islam Without Reforming Muslims
by DANIEL GREENFIELD October 23, 2014
Family Security Matters
Every few years the debate over reforming Islam bubbles up from the depths of a culture that largely censors any suggestion that Islam needs reforming. But Islam does not exist apart from Muslims. It is not an abstract entity that can be changed without changing its followers. And if Islam has not changed, that is because Muslims do not want it to. Mohammed and key figures in Islam provided a template, but that template would not endure if it did not fit the worldview of its worshipers. Western religions underwent a process of secularization to align with what many saw as modernity leading to a split between traditionalists and secularists. The proponents of modernizing Islam assume that it didn't make the jump because of Saudi money, fundamentalist violence and regional backwardness. These allegations are true, but also incomplete. If modernizing Islam really appealed to Muslims, it would have taken off, at least in the West, despite Saudi money and Muslim Brotherhood front groups. These elements might have slowed things down, but a political or religious idea that is genuinely compelling is like a rock rolling down a hill.
It's enormously difficult to stop.
Muslim modernization in the West has been covertly undermined by the Saudis and the Muslim Brotherhood, but for the most part it has not been violently suppressed.
It suffers above all else from a lack of Muslim interest.
Muslims don't spend much time fuming over a progressive mosque that allows gay members or lets women lead prayers. Such places occasionally exist and remain obscure. They don't have to be forcibly shut down because they never actually take off. The occasional death threat and arson might take place and the average ISIS recruit would happily slaughter everyone inside, but even he has bigger fish to fry.
The best evidence that Muslim modernization has failed is that even the angriest Muslims don't take it very seriously as a threat. The sorts of people who believe that Saddam Hussein was a CIA agent or that Israel is using eagles as spies have trouble believing modernizing Islam will ever be much of a problem.
They know instinctively that it will never work. Instead Muslims are far more threatened by a cartoon mocking their prophet for reasons that go to the heart of what is wrong with their religion.
Islam is not an idea. It is a tribe.
Talking about reforming the words of Islam is an abstraction. Islam did not begin with a book. It began with clan and sword. Even in the modern skyscraper cities of the West, it remains a religion of the clan and the sword.
The left has misread Islamic terrorism as a response to oppression when it is actually a power base. It is not the poor and downtrodden who are most attracted to the Jihad. Instead it is the upper classes. Bin Laden wasn't a pauper and neither are the Saudis or Qataris. Islamic terrorism isn't a game for the poor. It becomes the thing to do when you're rich enough to envy the neighbors. It's a tribal war.
To reform Islam, we can't just look at what is wrong with the Koran or the Hadiths. We have to ask why these tribal calls for violence and genocide, for oppression and enslavement, appealed to Muslims then and why they continue to appeal to Muslims today. The modernizers assume that Western Muslims would welcome a reformation of Islam. They are half right. The reformation that they are welcoming is that of the Wahhabis trying to return it to what it was. It's hard to deny that ISIS touches something deep within Muslims. The gay-friendly mosques don't.
Understanding Islam only in terms of the Koran makes it seem as if Muslims are unwillingly trapped by a tyranny of the text, when the text is actually their means of trapping others into affirming their identity.
There is no reforming Islam without reforming Muslims. The reformers assume that most Muslims are ignorant of their own beliefs, but even the most illiterate Muslim in a village without running water has a good grasp of the big overall ideas. He may hardly be able to quote a Koranic verse without stumbling over it, he may have added local customs into the mix, but he identifies with it on a visceral level.
Its honor is his honor. Its future is the future of his family. Its members are his kinfolk. Like him, it ought to have been on top; instead it's on the bottom. Its grievances are his grievances.
The rest is just details.
The progressive diverse mosque is the opposite of this tribal mentality. It is the opposite of Islam. Its destruction of the tribe is also the destruction of the individual. The Western Muslim who already has only a shaky connection to the culture of his ancestral country is not about to trade Islamic tribalism for anonymous diversity. Islam tells him he is superior. The progressive mosque tells him nothing.
Whether he is a Bangladeshi peasant watching soccer matches on the village television or a Bangladeshi doctor in London, it is the violent, racist and misogynistic parts of Islam that provide him with a sense of worth in a big confusing world. That is how Islam was born.
Islam began in uncertain times as empires were tottering and the old ways were being displaced by strange religions such as Judaism and Christianity, when its originators mashed bits of them together and then founded their own crazy wobbly murderous empire built around a badly plagiarized religion.
It was horrible and terrible for everyone who wasn't a Muslim man, but it worked.
Islam is less of a faith and more of a set of honor and shame responses. It's a cycle of oppression and victimhood. It's the assertion of identity by people who see themselves as inferior and are determined to push back by making themselves superior. The responses are familiar. We saw it in Nazi Germany as the defeated nation became a master race by killing and enslaving everyone else.
But it's not those at the bottom most driven by such dreams. It's the desert billionaires who have money, but no culture. It's the Western Muslim doctor who still feels inferior despite his wealth. It's a merchant named Mohammed with a lot of grudges who claims an angel told him to kill all his enemies in Allah's name.
It's Islam. And it's Muslims.
The things that we believe, bad or good, reflect the bad or good inside us. When Muslims support killing people, it's simplistic to assume that they are robotically following a text and will follow any other text slipped in front of their faces, instead of their passions and values. Religions may make people kill, but it starts when people make religions kill.
The good devout Muslim may kill because the Koran tells him to, but he would not do so if the Koran's justifications of violence did not speak to him on a deeper level. The Nazis were following orders, but they wouldn't have followed them if Nazism didn't connect with their fears, hopes and dreams.
The text is only half the problem. The other half is in the human heart.
Reforming Islam is not a matter of crossing out certain words and adding others. Religions carry a powerful set of values that appeal to people on a deep level. To change Islam, we would have to understand why its ugliness still speaks to Muslims. To change it, we have to change them.
When we talk about reforming Islam, what we are really talking about is reforming Muslims.
**Daniel Greenfield is a blogger, columnist and freelance photographer born in Israel, who maintains his own blog, Sultan Knish.
To Defeat ISIS, Save Syria
By: Amir Taheri/Asharq Al Awsat
Friday, 24 Oct, 2014
Given the media’s focus on the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), some “experts” claim that the crisis in Syria, now heading into its fourth year, has become a sideshow. The truth, however, is that Syria remains at the center of the crisis shaking the political architecture of the Middle East. Unless Western democracies and regional allies develop a policy on Syria, hopes of a return to even a semblance of stability will remain forlorn. ISIS is an effect, Syria is the cause. Even from a narrow military perspective, the war against ISIS makes little sense outside the broader context of the Syrian quagmire. The reason is simple: Either directly or in conjunction with jihadist allies, ISIS has taken control of some 40 percent of Syrian territory, starting from Al-Bukamal in the south, on the border with Iraq, to the Syrian–Turkish border passing by Mayadin, Deir Ezzor, Raqqa and Manbij. If Kobani falls, ISIS will secure a band of contiguous territory between Aleppo, Syria’s most populous city, and Iraqi Kurdistan. Unlike other jihadist groups, for example Al-Qaeda, ISIS is trying to morph into a state with its own territory. Thus, defeating it can only mean driving it out of territories it controls. In military terms, this is expressed through the mantra of the “3 Cs”: capture, cleanse, control. At some point, someone, maybe the Iraqi army, Kurdish forces, the Turkish army, or even US and allied troops, would have to capture territory seized by ISIS. They would then proceed to cleanse it of any ISIS presence.
But what do they do once they reach the third “C”: control? Such control cannot be handed over to other jihadist groups. Even those that are not as nasty as ISIS would still be bad news for the people living in the areas affected. It would also be impossible to let ethnic Kurds seize control since that could mean the emergence of a statelet controlled by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) right on Turkey’s border, something no government in Ankara would tolerate. The other option, handing territories back to what is left of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime, could be even more problematic. Today, Assad controls about 40 percent of Syria’s territory, including Damascus and parts of its environs plus the coastline, with around 50 percent of the country’s pre-war population. A further 20 percent is controlled by forces opposed to Assad while almost a quarter of the population is now displaced in neighboring countries or inside Syria itself. Some in Washington and Israel suggest a deal with Assad to help him re-impose control in territories recaptured from ISIS. The trouble is that it is unlikely those who have shaken off Assad’s yoke would want to resubmit to it. More importantly, Assad no longer has the wherewithal to re-impose effective control over the entire country. Right now, no one has the coercive clout or the persuasive appeal to claim effective power in Syria. Whichever of the participants in this deadly game comes on top, for whatever reason, is sure to be challenged by others.
Some experts suggest that Syria is a dead state with no hope of Lazarus-like resuscitation. The argument is that Syria, like other states in the Levant, were put on the map by Western “imperialists” and do not reflect the ethnic, religious and ideological diversity of a complex region. A decade ago, Joe Biden, now US vice-president, suggested that Iraq be carved into three states. Today, his buddies fly a similar kite about Syria. It is true that a war is best fought on the basis of accomplishing immediate goals with focus kept on the defeat and destruction of the enemy. However, war is only useful if it changes an intolerable status quo by creating a new one in the interests of the victors. Prudent warriors, while not distracted by “what-happens-afterwards” concerns, nevertheless, give some thought to the possible shape of a post-war balance of power. Today, none of the options being discussed is likely to prove helpful. You can’t leave ISIS in control, or hand power to “ISIS-lite” groups either. Replacing a jihadist regime with a Marxist–Leninist one under the PKK would be a surrealistic jump from the frying pan into the fire. Inviting the genocidal Assad to regain control is indecent, to say the least. The idea of carving up Syria, and for that matter other states of the region, is one underpinned by cynicism, and the entrenched belief in some Western quarters that Arabs are incapable of governing themselves without violence and terror. To suggest that Syria is an artificial state is to say nothing, if only because every state under the sun is artificial, starting with the United States and Russia, and passing by Australia and India. No nation-state simply fell from the heavens fully-formed. The only realistic option is to envisage the revival of the Syrian state in a new context. One way would be to create UN-supervised “safe havens” adjacent to the borders with Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq. That could provide a basis from which to promote a national dialogue aimed at power-sharing with the goal of restoring the Syrian state. Those in the Assad camp who still believe in a united Syria would be invited to attend. The permanent members of the UN Security Council would act as brokers for a national compromise.
It is only as a war to liberate Syria and restore its status as a nation-state that the campaign against ISIS might make sense. solving the Syrian problem, no amount of bombing, or even a ground invasion, would bring the Middle East back from the edge of disaster.
In other words, it’s Syria, stupid!
The Islamic Madness Persists
by ALAN CARUBA October 23, 2014
Family Security Matters
The lull in the coverage of all things Islamic was broken by two terrorist attacks in Canada, a reminder that so long as the world does not unite to destroy the Islamic State, we shall all remain vulnerable. A "lone wolf" terrorist can kill you just as dead as one in a terrorist organization, particularly one encouraging these attacks. While the media's herd mentality continues to report about Ebola in West Africa and gears up for massive coverage of the forthcoming November 4 midterm elections, the Middle East remains in a low state of boil, never failing to produce bombings, skirmishes, and the usual inhumanities we associate with Islam. Americans pay attention to the Middle East only when blood is flowing and at the present time the only element generating that is the Islamic State (ISIS) which continues to attack Kobani in northern Syria and assault the Yazidis and other targets in Iraq. The U.S., Britain and France are bombing ISIS forces, largely to protect and assist the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, the only fighting force of any consequence.
Virtually unreported are the 18 million Muslim refugees throughout out the Middle East. The U.N. reports that these and internally displaced persons reflect the turmoil in Afghanistan, Iraq. Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen. To grasp this, think about what either the U.S. or Europe would be like with a comparable number of refugees. As David P. Goldman, a Senior Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research and Wax Family Writing Fellow at the Middle East Forum, noted October 20 on the Forum website, "That is cause for desperation: unprecedented numbers of people have been torn from traditional society and driven from their homes, many with little but the clothes on their backs."
"There are millions of young men in the Muslim world sitting in refugee camps with nothing to do, nowhere to go back to, and nothing to look forward to...never has an extremist movement had so many frustrated and footloose young men in its prospective recruitment pool."
So what does John Kerry, our Secretary of State, think is the greatest problem in the Middle East? While discussing the ISIS coalition with Middle East leaders, Kerry expressed the opinion a week ago that the Israeli-Palestine situation was the real problem. Apparently he is unaware that there is no Palestinian state and never has been. The one on the West Bank exists thanks to Israeli support and the one in Gaza, controlled by Hamas, provoked Israeli defense measures by rocketing it for months.
Prof. Efraim Inbar, director of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies and a Shillman/Ginsberg fellow at the Middle East Forum, has a quite different point of view. "In reality, however, the novelty of the Islamic State, as well as the magnitude of the threat it poses, are greatly exaggerated."
Noting that many of the Arab states have "failed to modernize and deliver basic services" Prof. Inbar has little anticipation that ISIS could do that either. Moreover "Much of the fragmented Arab world will be busy dealing with its domestic problems for decades, minimizing the possibility that it will turn into a formidable enemy for Israel or the West."
What has seemed to escape Kerry's and the President's attention is the threat of a nuclear armed Iran. The negotiations to encourage Iran to step back from its efforts to create the warheads for its missiles do not appear to promise a favorable outcome. Iran managed to get some sanctions lifted and that was likely why Iran entered into them. They don't care what the West or the rest of the Middle East wants.
Neither Israel, nor Saudi Arabia are as naïve as the U.S. In March, Richard Silverstein, writing in Tikun Olam, reported that "the level of intense cooperation between Israel and Saudi Arabia in targeting Iran has become clear. Saudi Arabia isn't just coordinating its own intelligence efforts with Israel. It's actually financing a good deal of Israel's very expensive campaign against Iran." A recent explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility suggests that the campaign is still quite active.
Noting "airtight military censorship in Israel", Silverstein pointed out that information about the Israeli-Saudi relationship would not have been reported in an Israeli daily newspaper, Maariv, if both governments did not want Iran and the U.S. to know. In effect, the Saudis have replaced the U.S. as a source of support given President Obama's barely concealed dislike of Israel.
"But Israel," wrote Silverstein, "isn't going to war tomorrow." Israel will watch the outcome of the U.S.-Iran negotiations and determine what action to take or not at that point. Meanwhile, it will keep the pressure on Iran with its covert program.
At some point the news media will begin to pay more attention to the Middle East. It will not get much cooperation, however, from ISIS because the Islamic State has made it clear that only journalists that obey its rules and write what it wants will live very long.
The "religion of peace", Islam, has not produced much peace in the Middle East and elsewhere in the world for the last 1,400 years.
© Alan Caruba, 2014
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Alan Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center, and he blogs at http://factsnotfantasy.blogspot.com. His book, "Right Answers: Separating Fact from Fantasy", is published by Merrill Press.
Obama’s dangerous strategy of linking Iran, ISIS and
by BARRY SHAW October 23, 2014
Family Security Matters
In fifty days of Gaza conflict, Israel launched 5500 precision air strikes against terror targets. In 70+ days, the US launched less than 500 air strikes in Iraq and Syria against ISIS. Why? It's not lack of planes and fire power. It's a lack of political will, despite all the rhetoric of having to degrade and defeat the Islamic State rampage and mayhem. Despite Obama's late decision to launch air strikes he has only tickled the enemy. He could do more. He won't. He doesn't want to. What is the reason for this procrastination?
Part of the reason for Obama's reticence in attacking ISIS with more force seems to be contained in a think tank policy document he commissioned entitled "The Iran Project. Iran and its Neighbors. Regional Implications for US Policy of a Nuclear Agreement."
https://www.scribd.com/doc/239959345/Iran-and-Its-Neighbors-Regional-Implications-for-U-S-Policy-of-a-Nuclear-Agreement Experts who signed off on this document include Thomas Pickering, Brent Scowcroft, Daniel Kurtzer, Nicholas Platt, and Zbigniew Brzezinski.
The document mistakenly sees the possibility of using ISIS to drive Iran and Israel closer together in a common cause. This misguided strategic fantasy is described thus, "If ISIS were to continue to progress, Israel and Iran might find themselves with a common enemy."
The dream of bringing Iran and Israel together seems so devoutly to be wished by the Obama Administration that it surmounts any political reality to facts on the ground. Could this be the reason that America has not applied the full measure of air power at its disposal in killing and driving back ISIS? If it is, it's dangerous and false thinking. It appears as if the US president is cynically allowing thousands to be slaughtered in front of our eyes for a strategy that will never happen.
Does he, or his experts, really think that Iran and Israel will join his feckless coalition out of joint fear of ISIS? If so, he is dead wrong.
In contrast to President Obama's recent statements, the document does call ISIS a state of sorts.
"In parts of the territory it now controls, ISIS exercises a kind of governance: it collects revenue, executes brutal Islamist law, has a police force, and controls a jihadist conventional army."
The only force that is bravely standing and confronting ISIS on the ground are the Kurds, and yet Obama is still not arming them directly. He should. Instead, the documents points to the US Administration playing a double game by recruiting not only Iran but also Tehran's ally Assad to fight against ISIS;
"Syrian forces should be urged by Tehran to attack ISIS directly in Syria. Syrian military commanders, security personnel, and top government oﬃcials should be motivated to avoid an ISIS victory."
However you read this, the Administration think tank policy document is calling on the White House to back an Iranian, Assad, even Hezbollah coalition to fight ISIS in Syria.
A nuclear agreement with Iran runs through the document. It is the center piece of a US Middle East policy. At parts it reads like an illusion world of smoke and mirrors.
"A nuclear agreement could help the United States and its allies ﬁnd common ground with Iran for a creative response to ISIS, although the United States must avoid seeming to ally itself with the Shi'a and thereby enhance the appeal of radicals to Sunnis."
It is hard to comprehend a policy in which the ISIS threat is seemingly put off until after the signing of a nuclear agreement with Iran on the supposition that it will make for closer buddies between the rival states in the region. As if Saudi Arabia and Erdogan would link arms with Ayatollahs and Assad to defeat ISIS. If only! Putting off a strong direct attack on ISIS until after a nuclear deal with Iran is dangerous wishful thinking, not foreign policy.
The mixing of two unrelated issues, a nuclear deal with Iran and the threat of ISIS, leads to a muddling Middle East strategy. The dangers implied here is that it is impossible to defeat ISIS without a nuclear deal, and from that stems the desire to rush through a nuclear deal in order to solve the ISIS issue.
"The degradation and defeat of ISIS presents an opportunity for America to work evenhandedly with the nations of the region to achieve a common goal. Cooperation with Iran would thus take place within a larger regional grouping that should include the Gulf States and Turkey in addition to the Government of Iraq."
The reason this is doomed to failure is in the description of the nuclear deal that the Administration is trying to reach. It talks of "limiting" the Iranian program, "lengthening" the time for Iran to reach nuclear breakout, and "reducing" the risk that Iran "might" acquire nuclear weapons. It does not talk of stopping Iran's march to a nuclear weapon. Israel will never tolerate that.
Obama will not allow American soldiers to enter into ground operations against ISIS. The US-trained Iraqi army has proven itself to be cowardly and incompetent.
This think tank should recommend the recruitment of a mercenary force made up of retired vets of special-ops units from the United States, British armies and others to initially back up the Kurds in fighting back against ISIS in Iraq while the Iraqi army is trained to stand up to this Islamic terror army on their land.
Private security forces are no longer covert in Middle East conflicts. It was Blackwater personnel who fought their way into and held the US compound in Benghazi when attacked by Islamic terrorists in 2012.
The Iraqi government should be persuaded that this temporary force in essential to push back against the ISIS insurgents that have taken over much of their country. The US military vehicles and equipment that have already been supplied to both Iraq and to Saudi Arabia should be requisitioned and provided to this special force on the grounds that current Iraqi units have not proven themselves capable of using them efficiently, and Saudi Arabia have the equipment but have no will to send their troops into this battle and use them.
Failing this scenario, there is another option. Israel sees ISIS creeping closer to its border. It can visibly see the Al-Nusra terror group on the Golan Heights. ISIS is not far away, and the think tank document states the threat for Israel;
"The ‘Islamic State' declared an end to the 1916 British and French-imposed Sykes-Picot borders, and announced that its next goal would be to free Palestine."
This threat would give Israel a justification to get into the fight. If it did, it is more likely to assist the Kurds than get into bed with Iran, as the document wrongly suggests. Covertly arming and trained the brave Kurds, before the ISIS threat becomes a face-to-face confrontation for Israel, could become a necessity for Israel.
There is another case to be made for Israel arming the Kurds, particularly in Iraq.
The Kurds are close to America and sympathetic to Israel's plight in a radical region. They are more democratically minded than other players in the region. They have proven themselves to be the only courageous fighters on the ground in Iraq.
Israel sees convergence of interests with Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and Egypt over the growing threat of the ISIS brand of Islamic terror. As happened with its conflict against Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, it is reasonable to assume that these countries will turn a blind eye to Israel arming the Kurds.
Israel looks on the Kurds with great sympathy, but it could do more. Helping them overcome their confrontation with ISIS would be one way for Israel to demonstrate to the world what a small, but courageous and just, coalition can achieve in a regional war against radical Islamic terror.
As the document states, "if allowed to consolidate its control over large parts of Syria and Iraq, ISIS would also represent a terrorist threat to the American homeland."
***Barry Shaw is the Consultant on Delegitimization Issues to The Strategic Dialogue Center at Netanya Academic College. He is the author of ‘Israel Reclaiming the Narrative.' www.israelnarrative.com
L'Islam en France : des peurs héritées aux peurs cultivées (1999)
October 23, 2014
Je voudrais tout d’abord rappeler ici les obstacles historiques au développement d’une relation mutuellement acceptable entre musulmans et non musulmans français. J’aborderai ensuite une dimension plus conjoncturelle de cette relation « Islam-Occident », qui aggrave ces difficultés structurelles héritées de l’histoire longue.
1. LA CULTURE, RELIGIEUSE , D’UN « AUTRE » TROP PROCHE - AU COEUR D’UN PAYS « DESENCHANTE »
Parler de l’Autre, parler de soi
L’Islam en France est d’abord et avant tout le marqueur identitaire de « la culture de l’Autre » et donc de l’Autre tout court. Parler de « l’Islam », établir une relation avec « l’Islam » c’est donc, par excellence, parler de l’Autre ou communiquer avec lui. Or parler de l’Autre, on le sait , c’est à bien des égards parler de soi. C’est l’Autre qui nous dit qui nous sommes, quelle place nous occupons dans l’espace et , pour beaucoup, quel rôle nous y jouons. L’identité n’existe qu’au contact de l’altérité. C’est le second arrivé au sommet de la montagne ou sur les rivages de l’île déserte qui détermine la composante dominante de l’ego du premier occupant , mâle ou femelle, noir ou blanc, intellectuel ou manuel, gros ou maigre etc. Même si celui qui me rejoint sur mon île déserte est originaire de mon petit village, je chercherai et je trouverai de toutes les façons le trait qui me/le spécifie et me permettra d’exister dans ma nécessaire unicité.C’est de l’Autre que dépend notre « relativité » et c’est donc sur ou contre lui que repose notre « identité ».
L’impossible « distance »
Dans le cas de la relation à l’Islam, la propension de l’Autre à affecter l’équilibre interne toujours fragile de notre ego est d’autant plus forte qu’il n’est pas « n’importe quel autre » . Il ne vient pas de la planète Mars, n’évolue pas dans un contexte vierge de représentations croisées. Il est tout au contraire majoritairement originaire (au niveau des représentations mais également , pour une fois, à celui des statistiques) d’une Afrique du Nord doublement proche, par l’étroitesse du détroit de Gibraltar comme par une histoire très largement commune à défaut d’avoir été véritablement « partagée ». De ce long tête à tête jalonné d’ Andalous et de croisés, de colons et de « fellagas », de rapatriés et d’ immigrés « ne témoignent pas seulement les événements avec leurs blessures, pas toujours cicatrisées, ou les noms de fruits et de légumes, de sciences ou d’étoiles, les transferts artistiques et littéraires, techniques et conceptuels, mais les fantasmes, les phobies ou les séductions obérant encore trop souvent les essais de rencontre » (Jean Michot) . Significativement, la relation à la culture de l’Autre dans sa version chinoise ou indienne dont, quelque part, l’usage est tout aussi nécessaire pour déterminer les frontières du territoire identitaire est moins traumatisante qu’elle ne l’est avec le voisin arabo-musulman. Au coeur du verdoyant Morvan, sur le chemin qui le conduit à un Centre de formation des Imams (de Château Chinon) dont la création a nourri tant de fantasmes médiatiques, le visiteur étonné découvre un temple bouddhiste dont l’or et l’écarlate de la façade soulignent l’exotisme tonitruant de l’architecture. Contrairement à la plus petite mosquée de nos banlieues, ce temple d’une autre « religion de l’Autre » a pu bénéficier du silence approbateur des vigilants gardiens de notre nationale «identité ». L’Autre musulman ne vient pas non plus du Viet-Nam, que la tempête coloniale a pourtant lui aussi traversé, à l’instar de l’Algérie, mais dont l’éloignement obscurcit le souvenir et dissout l’ appréhension. Dans le temps comme dans l’espace, le Musulman nous est ainsi doublement (trop) proche. Il l’est tout autant sur le terrain de la référence religieuse, puisque, pour une bonne part, nous revendiquons les mêmes écritures. Notre « vieux » et « trop proche » voisin, est donc logiquement l’acteur le plus direct de la construction de notre identité collective, dans ses diverses strates linguistique (ses références ne sont pas latines) ethnique (il ne veut pas des Gaulois comme ancêtres) et bien sûr religieuse (son ultime prophète nous est méconnu et il refuse par dessus tout le nec plus ultra « laïque » de notre modernité) : c’est à l’aune du Sarrazin ou du Maure que s’est construit une partie de notre identité ethnique et politique, à celle du Mahométan que (sans oublier tout de mêmes nos propres guerres de religions) nous avons voulu rester chrétiens d’abord, laïques ensuite.
Sur ce même registre spatial est venu s’ajouter le traumatisme de la reterritorialisation de la rencontre entre voisins. La perception de l’Islam se construit certes encore pour une part sur le territoire de l’Autre, par le biais - on y viendra - de ces « informations » qui traversent si rapidement mais si mal les mers; mais elle se fait de plus en plus souvent dans « l’ intimité de nos espaces publiques » , au sein de notre propre société. Nous ne plantons plus nos cathédrales sur les collines d’Afrique : nous découvrons avec stupeur des mosquées dans nos banlieues. Nous ne sommes plus « accueillis » chez l’Autre mais, écho prévisible du tourbillon colonial d’abord, produit délibéré de nos stratégies industrielles ensuite, c’est l’Autre qui est aujourd’hui chez nous. La précieuse distance est plus encore abolie. Mentionnons enfin la spécificité sociologique- héritée de la relation post coloniale- du vecteur humain de l’Islam : même si il est aujourd’hui en rapide évolution, il compte plus de travailleurs manuels que de représentants de l’intelligentsia technique ou artistique.
Un pays doublement « désenchanté »
L’Islam est la culture du plus proche de nos voisins à l’heure où le formidable déséquilibre né de la relation coloniale se résorbe, fut-ce très lentement, au bénéfice de la rive sud et donc « au détriment » subjectif de la rive nord. En 1930, année de l’apogée coloniale, « l’Islam », pourtant déjà « culture de l’Autre-voisin proche», pourtant déjà implanté en France, trouble moins de consciences que celui de nos banlieues des années 9O. L’identité nationale de la France s’accommode alors tout à fait de l’Islam folklorisé de la grande exposition coloniale du « centenaire de la conquête de l’Algérie ». Mahomet a-t-il changé depuis lors de message ? Certes non. Mais le support sociologique de la religion de l’Autre s’est irrésistiblement extirpé de l’architecture de la domination coloniale. Le « temps béni » d’une relation parfaitement unilatérale n’est plus. En cette fin de siècle, aussi inégalitaire soit elle demeurée, la relation entre les deux rives laisse donc au Nord le sentiment diffus et pas totalement infondé que le temps de sa fugitive hégémonie politique est derrière lui.
Le désenchantement de l’hexagone n’est pas seulement le résultat de la fin du rassurant paradigme colonial. Le triomphe de la rationalité économique a certes, en matière de développement, montré son formidable potentiel quantitatif. Mais il a peu à peu laissé entrevoir également ses contradictions et ses limites qualitatives : coût écologique élevé, affaiblissement du lien social, perte de repères éthiques. La crise des valeurs, masquée un temps par les paillettes du progrès technologique, s’exacerbe aujourd’hui au rythme du tassement des courbes de la croissance et du redressement arrogant de celles du chômage.
Si elle est à l’évidence accentuée par le caractère « allogène » du vecteur humain de « la nouvelle religion » (1) la tension générée par l’affirmation de l’Islam, participe aussi, pour une bonne part, de celle que génèrerait toute affirmation religieuse -quelle qu’elle soit- dans une société qui est en fait, stricto sensu, bien moins laïque qu’en perte accélérée de sens religieux. Tout autant que de son statut de « religion de l’Autre » l’Islam doit surmonter la réticence que génère son statut de religion tout court. Derrière l’étendard de la laïcité, c’est en effet l’étiolement de la superficie de la sphère religieuse davantage que sa séparation de la sphère publique qui a marqué le siècle des héritiers de Jules Ferry. La « tension islamique » exprime dès lors moins la concurrence de deux révélations que le trouble produit par l’énoncé d’une exigence de spiritualité dans une société qui croyait avoir réussi à « dépasser » toute prise en compte publique de la demande sociale de sacré.
2. L’ISLAM AU PIEGE DU POLITIQUE ARABE
A bien des égards, l’image de l’Islam en France est ensuite, plus conjoncturellement, la résultante d’une pernicieuse coopération internationale tri-partite. Le premier acteur de ce trio est la communauté d’accueil dont vient d’être évoquée la difficulté compréhensible à s’accommoder de ce que l’on pourrait appeler la « perte de son monopole d’expression de l’universel ».
Les peurs exploitées
Le deuxième acteur de cette forme particulièrement stérile de la coopération Nord-Sud est la stratégie de communication que les régimes arabes ont adopté à l’égard de l’Occident depuis le début des années 80 et, de manière plus caricaturale encore, depuis le début de la crise algérienne. Elle consiste à exporter une image démonisée des oppositions islamistes qu’ils ont en fait eux mêmes largement contribué à radicaliser - y compris par toutes sortes de manipulation de la violence - et à capter ainsi à leur profit les dividendes des peurs occidentales. L’essentiel de la légitimité internationale de bon nombre de régimes arabes résulte en effet aujourd’hui de leur seul talent à discréditer, en la diabolisant, toute alternative à leur propre pouvoir. L’entreprise est aisée. Pourvu qu’on veuille bien conforter son ignorance et ses craintes, le public occidental est prêt à reconnaître à « ceux qui luttent contre les intégristes » le monopole de représentation des valeurs universelles et à faire d’eux ses seuls interlocuteurs politiques.
Du Caire à Alger en passant par Tunis, c’est pourtant une identique formule institutionnelle arabe qui porte la responsabilité de la plus large part de cette violence dite « intégriste ». Le premier ingrédient de cette recette en voie de généralisation est l’interdiction faite aux forces politiques réelles d’accéder à la compétition parlementaire; les élections ne servent donc pas désigner les gouvernants mais seulement à dire la qualité et le nombre des opposants que d’indéboulonnables princes entendent tolérer, pour les besoins d’une démocratisation seulement « cosmétique » et dépourvue de tout enjeu. Ce pluralisme de façade, cautionné avec complaisance par l'environnement occidental, permet de masquer le verrouillage absolu du système institutionnel, la banalisation de la répression (incluant toutes les formes de torture) et la généralisation de la corruption. Ce cocktail pernicieux génère inévitablement un certain degré de violence ou de contre violence contre le régime et contre ses soutiens locaux ou étrangers. Cette violence dite « terroriste » permet alors au régime d'entretenir la confusion entre les pratiques de la frange de ses opposants qu'il a lui même contribué à radicaliser et l'entière opposition légaliste, "justifiant" ainsi aux yeux de ses partenaires occidentaux le report éternel de toute ouverture démocratique.
Une fraction de l’intelligentsia arabe dite laïque, en Tunisie et en Algérie notamment, a fait le choix courageux de marquer sa différence et a pris le risque de dénoncer publiquement l’amalgame pervers entre dictatures militaires et « protection » « de la femme », « de la démocratie » ou « de la modernité » (2). Un autre compartiment de cette même intelligentsia a fait en revanche le pari plus douteux de confier son destin et celui des idéaux démocratiques dont il se dit porteur aux seules dictatures militaires ou para militaires incrustées au pouvoir depuis des décennies. Au nom de la « défense de la modernité » ou « des droits de l’homme » elle contribue largement aujourd’hui à conforter dans l’opinion occidentale la légitimité des entreprises éradicatrices qui permettent à des régimes coupés de toute racine populaire de se maintenir au pouvoir par la violence répressive et la manipulation de l’information.
D’une intolérance, l’autre.
Le troisième acteur de ce trio néfaste, dont il ne saurait être question de nier l’existence, est la composante extrémiste du courant islamiste et la rhétorique d’intolérance qui lui sert à « légitimer » ses modes d’actions politiques et à en amplifier l’impact médiatique. Même si la centralité de tels acteurs est pour une bonne part le résultat de la stratégie délibérée des régimes et la conséquence inévitable de l’aveuglement de l’environnement occidental qui les soutient, la rencontre entre la rhétorique intolérante de la fraction extrémiste des oppositions arabes et le ton assuré inhérent à tout prosélytisme religieux nourrit ici et là des représentations de l’Islam plus propres à conforter les fantasmes occidentaux qu’à les résorber. Ces diatribes conquérantes, qui ne proposent comme alternative à l’absolutisme des juntes militaires qu’un autre absolutisme aussi inquiétant, ou qui, sur la scène internationale, exigent la conversion immédiate des chefs d’Etats européens et annonce à l’Occident son inéluctable « islamisation » ne sont sans doute pas toujours très différentes de celles qu’en d’autres temps de vaillants « missionnaires » firent résonner dans les églises d’Afrique. Mais tel est bien le problème que posent ces discours qui laissent poindre, au détriment de toute perspective de coexistence, l’ambition plus prosaïque de substituer un impérialisme à un autre, de remplacer l’impéralisme occidental vieillissant par « impérialisme alternatif » que rien ne semble dissocier de son prédécesseur.
Les acteurs du piège médiatique une fois réunis, la représentation à grand spectacle peut se jouer, dans une orgie de décibels, de projecteurs et d’audimat. La parole est aux peurs ancestrales et à tous ceux qui par inconscience ou par stratégie ont décidé de les cultiver. Toutes voix intermédiaires, qu’elles viennent du centre modéré des courants islamistes, c’est à dire de l’immense majorité de ces courants , ou des oppositions arabes laïques non éradicatrices, ou des intellectuels occidentaux ayant dépassé le syndrome « intégriste », sont peu ou prou chassées de l’avant scène médiatique et cantonnées, dans le meilleur des cas, au silence relatif... des revues associatives.
"Les islamistes sont des fauteurs de guerre !" peuvent alors tonner les plus puissantes voix de nos médias avant de remplir leurs titres, couvertures et éditoriaux de provocations caractérisées à leur égard. "Nous ne cherchons qu'à "promouvoir la démocratie" peuvent alors se justifier aux heures de grande écoute les chantres intellectuels ou les stratèges politiques de notre "patrie des droits de l'homme" avant de cautionner les pires dérives militaires ou de signer avec les dictateurs de tout bord de juteux accords de défense qui -sous l'inusable label de la "lutte contre le terrorisme" - serviront à perfectionner d'épouvantables machines répressives. « Aidez-nous à combattre les terroristes » peuvent alors implorer nos alliés « laïques » c’est à dire éradicateurs avant que leurs policiers, geôliers et autres tortionnaires ne retournent alimenter la fureur de toute une génération de désespérés de la politique. Aidez nous à « sauvez la paix » peuvent prétendre les pompiers pyromanes de la coalition occidentale avant de recommencer à fabriquer en Palestine, en Irak, en Arabie Saoudite ou ailleurs, à coup d' occupations militaires, de colonisation arrogante, de "bouclages de territoires", d'embargos et autre perfusion de dictateurs, les désespoirs qui généreront la violence "islamique" de demain.
A quand la fermeture de ce tunnel-là ?
(1) On considérera que les Français de souche convertis à l’Islam ne jouent pour l’heure qu’un rôle très marginal dans sa représentation.
(2) Cf. par exemple Louisa Hanoune Une autre voix pour l’Algérie, La Découverte, 1996, Salima Ghazali dans l’hebdomadaire La Nation qu’elle dirige où la pétition d’un groupe de syndicalistes tunisiennes qui avaient dénoncé en 1994 l’usage de la cause des femmes comme instrument de pérennisation des pouvoirs autocratiques.
How Turkish Enchantment Fails to Enchant
By: Burak Bekdil/Hürriyet Daily News
October 22, 2014
Turkey's regional rivals aren't so easily enthralled as the audience at the 2013 Children's Day Festival, Incirlik Air Base, Turkey.
Diplomacy may be the art of telling people to go to hell in such a way that they ask for the directions, but in the Turkish case there are too many people whom the Turks are telling to go to hell and, more problematically, they do not seem to be asking for the directions. But Ankara is trying nonetheless.
As part of a new diplomatic offensive that will enable Turkey to become a regional leader inspired by a blend of neo-Ottoman and pan-Islamist ideologies, the Turkish Foreign Ministry will acquire 115 new office cars in 2015 (according to the 2015 draft budget bill). Fancy cars flashing their lights and speeding between various ministries can help build better policy coordination. Confusion can therefore be averted at every level.
One of the pages of our flagship newspaper, Hürriyet, ran a story on Oct. 16, quoting Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu as telling Al-Jazeera that: "We have never used the term buffer zone [along Turkey's border with Syria, or, more realistically, with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant – ISIL]. We have used the term safe haven."
On the same page, a news story quoted Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş as saying, "We want a no-fly zone and a buffer zone." Inevitably, one wonders what topics are discussed at Cabinet meetings in Ankara. If the honorable ministers do not have the habit of exchanging cooking recipes or enjoying backgammon tournaments, they must be debating subjects that are more important than the threat of ISIL.
The Turkish myopia fails to even see its own creation of the Frankenstein monster, as well as the future monsters it intends to create in order to kill the only monster it sees: Bashar al-Assad. Members of the press ought to be prepared for a Turkish prime minister (or president) who may soon start to blame global warming and water shortages on al-Assad. "We as the world's major powers cannot seriously tackle starvation, corruption, piracy, drug abuse and unfair income distribution on our planet if we do not depose al-Assad." Cue thunderous applause.
But Mr. Davutoğlu's diplomatic enchantment fails to enchant even "our dear Muslim brothers." The Turkish Foreign Ministry recently felt compelled to summon Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Alireza Bigdeli. Ironically, Ambassador Bigdeli is the same man who only a year ago had passionately praised Turkey's rulers: "Just as Imam Khomeini did in Iran, the Justice and Development Party [AKP] has paved the way for the advancement of Islam in Turkey."
Anyone who is not passionately pro-Hamas or pro-Muslim Brotherhood, or not their sponsors in this part of the world, is a foe or a potential foe of Messrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu.
Mr. Bigdeli was summoned because Ankara wanted to denounce recent remarks by Iranian officials. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Emir Abdullahyan recently accused Turkey of pursuing "neo-Ottomanist" policies in the region. And Iranian Chief of General Staff Hasan Firuzabadi, meanwhile, indirectly criticized Turkey for blocking aid to Kobane, a Kurdish town on Syria's border with Turkey that has been attacked by ISIL.
Could that be the reflection of a sectarian rift? It could. But Egypt remains overwhelmingly Sunni. And a few weeks ago an influential group of Egyptian intellectuals, artists and political NGOs called for a boycott of Turkish products in response to what they describe as "unjustified attacks on Egypt by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan."
For instance, Samir Sabri, an Egyptian lawyer, recently filed a lawsuit to force the Egyptian government to ban the entry of Turkish products into the country. Gamal Anayet, a television anchor and writer, has also called for a boycott of Turkish products and has even encouraged Egyptians to drop Turkey as a tourist destination.
Sadly, anyone who is not passionately pro-Hamas or pro-Muslim Brotherhood, or not their sponsors in this part of the world, is a foe or a potential foe of Messrs. Erdoğan and Davutoğlu. And there are more than plenty of them.
**Burak Bekdil is a columnist for the Istanbul-based daily Hürriyet and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.