Monday, February 28, 2011

Israel's Oscar

Documentary on Tel Aviv School Wins Oscar

The documentary film "Strangers No More," about a Tel Aviv elementary school, won an Oscar on Monday for Best Documentary Short Subject.

Children from 48 different countries attend the Bialik-Rogozin School in south Tel Aviv.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Arab Rejectionism and the Myth of Palestinian Victimization

Arab rejectionism is the root of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 
Westernized American Muslims [above] display their keen embrace of peace on a college campus.

Freezing Palestinian Myths -Gerald Steinberg

Palestinian myths of victimization have been the major obstacle to peace for more than 60 years.

In place of the myths, Palestinians have to acknowledge that their "suffering" and the refugee problem were the result of the unanimous Arab rejection of UN Resolution 181 - the November 1947 version of the two-state solution. This was followed by military invasions that killed one percent of the Jewish population. The Arab defeat on the battlefield was followed by the entirely fictitious claim to a "right of return" as refugees from illegal wars for which the Arabs themselves were responsible.
(Canadian Jewish News)

Shifting Sands in the New Middle East: Abbas Humiliates Obama

Palestinians to ‘boycott US’ over UN veto -Khaled Abu Toameh

The Palestinians stepped up their protest against Washington following, calling for a boycott of the US.

At the request of Fatah, several Palestinian local councils in the Jerusalem area announced that they would boycott the US in protest against the veto.  The boycott includes US government officials and American journalists.

Palestinian Authority and Fatah officials have also called for a “day of rage” against the US and President Barack Obama.

Fatah supporters staged a demonstration in east Jerusalem in protest against the Security Council veto. Similar demonstrations have taken place in a number of Palestinian cities, where Fatah supporters chanted slogans denouncing Obama as a “despicable” man.

Hatem Abdel Kader, a senior Fatah official and former PA minister for Jerusalem affairs, told The Jerusalem Post that he has called on Hamas and other Palestinian factions to join the anti-US boycott.

PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad announced that he was ready to go to the Gaza Strip to talk with Hamas about the formation of a Palestinian unity government.
[Jerusalem Post]

Playing Israel's Good Hand -Caroline Glick

Israelis received our first taste of the new Middle East with the missile strikes on Beersheba. Iran's Palestinian proxy, the local branch of the Muslim Brotherhood known as Hamas, carried out its latest war crime right after Iran's battleships entered Syria's Latakia port. Their voyage through the Suez Canal to Syria was an unadulterated triumph for the mullahs. For the first time since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran's warships sailed across the canal without even being inspected by the Egyptian, US or Israeli navies.

On the diplomatic front, the Iranian-dominated new Middle East has had a pronounced impact on the Western-backed Fatah-led Palestinian Authority's political posture towards the US. The PA picked a fight with America just after the Obama administration forced Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to surrender power.

The shift in the regional power balance following Mubarak's fall has caused Fatah leaders to view their ties to the US as a strategic liability. If they wish to survive, they must cut a deal with Hamas. And to convince Hamas to cut a deal, they need to abandon the US. And so they have.

Fatah's first significant move to part company with Washington came with its relentless bid to force a vote on a resolution condemning Israeli construction in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria at the UN Security Council. In an attempt to avert a vote on the resolution that the US public expected him to veto, Obama spent 50 minutes on the phone with Mahmoud Abbas begging him to set the resolution aside. Obama promised to take unprecedented steps against Israel in return for Abbas's agreement to stand down. But Abbas rejected his appeal.

Not only did Abbas defy the wishes of the most pro-Palestinian president ever to occupy the White House, Abbas told the whole world about how he defied Obama.

Abbas's humiliation of Obama was only the first volley in the Fatah leader's campaign against the US. Abbas, Salam Fayyad and their PA ministers have sent paid demonstrators into the street to protest against America. They announced a boycott of American diplomats and journalists. They have called for a boycott of American products. They have scheduled a "Day of Rage" against America for Friday after mosque prayers.

At the same time as he publicly beseeched Hamas to join forces with Fatah, Fayyad announced that the PA is willing to forgo US financial assistance if that assistance continues to come with political strings attached. The only real string attached to US aid is the stipulation that no US financial assistance can be used to finance Hamas.
[The Jerusalem Post] 
Another Peace Process Trifecta  -Rick Richman

The U.S. traditionally vetoes one-sided UN resolutions. [But] you don't single out settlements as an alleged "obstacle to peace" without also mentioning the Palestinian ones. 

At the UN, the [US] administration tried to replace an anti-Israel resolution with an anti-Israel presidential statement and then issued an anti-Israel ambassadorial statement.

It is hard to remember the last time anyone achieved the trifecta of offending each side while embarrassing oneself in the process.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Iran Rising

How Freedom's Foes Exploit Arab Unrest -John Bolton

Iran's power is dramatically enhanced by the consequences of the region's anti-regime demonstrations.

When strong Sunni Arab governments are replaced by newer, unsteady regimes, Iran sees weakness to exploit for its own strategic purposes. In Egypt, Mubarak's fall inevitably means more internal focus, and less energy opposing Iran's regional hegemonic efforts. Moreover, Mubarak's successor will likely be less sympathetic to the Camp David Accords.
(New York Post)

Arab Unrest Propels Iran  -Michael Slackman

The popular revolts shaking the Arab world have begun to shift the balance of power in the region, bolstering Iran's position while weakening its rival, Saudi Arabia. The uprisings are driven by domestic concerns. But they have already shredded a regional paradigm in which Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, aligned with the West, supported engaging Israel and containing Israel's enemies, including Hamas and Hizbullah. Mubarak of Egypt has been forced to resign, King Abdullah of Jordan is struggling to control discontent in his kingdom and Saudi Arabia faces a rising challenge to its regional role.

"Iran is the big winner here," said a regional adviser to the U.S. government.
(New York Times)

Libya declares war against demonstrators

Libyan violence against demonstrators has been the most brutal, even surpassing Iran

Libya's Butcher -Editorial

Col. Muammar Gaddafi of Libya vowed that he would "fight on to the last drop of my blood" and die a "martyr." What he really meant is that he will butcher and martyr his own people in his desperation to hold on to power. Gaddafi's brutal suppression of antigovernment demonstrations has left no doubt that he is still an international criminal. He must be condemned and punished by the international community.
(New York Times)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Free Women in Egypt?

Ms. Logan surrounded by some of her attackers moments before she was brutalized

The majority of Egyptian women who report sexual victimization also report wearing Islamic garb

Lara Logan and Egyptian Liberation -Jeff Jacoby

The despicable sexual attack on CBS correspondent Lara Logan in Cairo's Tahrir Square wasn't shocking at all.

According to a 2008 survey by the Egyptian Center for Women's Rights, 83% of native Egyptian women and 98% of women visiting from abroad have experienced public sexual harassment.

More than half the Egyptian women reported being molested every day. And contrary to popular belief, most of the victims were wearing modest Islamic dress.
(Boston Globe)

Female Circumcision: 90 Percent of Women in Egypt?
-Evelyn Leopold

91 percent of Egyptian females aged 15-49 years old may have been circumcised, most of them when they were young and could not protect themselves. The surveys are conducted by the U.S.-based Macro International every 5-6 years.
(Huffington Post)

Little Hope of Democracy as Arab Despots Overthrown  -Kevin Myers

Across the Western world, as massacre and oppression mark the last days of secular Arab despotisms, there is almost silence. Had the butchery of Tripoli or Cairo or Yemen taken place in Israel, hundreds of thousands of protesters in European capitals would have been denouncing the cruel Jews.

Had U.S. journalist Lara Logan been grabbed and sexually violated by a mob of Israeli men, feminists across the world would rightly have been protesting. But she was instead the victim of a frenzied sex attack in Cairo by a score of Arabs, and there is accordingly silence.

In an ever-changing world, some things never change: to some in the West, the only real villains in the Middle East can only ever be Jewish.
(Irish Independent)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Change Egyptian Style

This disturbing video follows one family's quest to retrieve their loved ones from military detention

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Iran flaunts their muscle

Iranian Warships to Transit Suez Canal -Ethan Bronner

Israel warned that two Iranian warships were poised to pass through the Suez Canal en route to Syria.

Defense Minister Ehud Barak said, "Israel is closely monitoring the movement of the Iranian ships and has updated friendly states on the issue."
(New York Times)

Iranian Warships Having an Outsize Impact -J. E. Dyer

The Iranian ships themselves are hardly impressive. But the big shift here is in political perceptions of power.

Revolutionary, terror-sponsoring Iran - under U.S., EU, and UN sanctions - feels free to conduct this deployment, and Syria feels free to cooperate in it. Saudi Arabia considered it prudent to host the Iranian warships last week - in spite of the Saudis' own conviction that Iran has been aiding rebel groups that threaten Saudi territory.

Report: Egypt Blocked Iran Ships from Canal -Avi Issacharoff

Al-Arabiya reported that Egyptian authorities had blocked plans by two Iranian naval ships to cross the Suez Canal, an official said on Thursday.

U.S.Intelligence: 'Warships? I Heard Something about That'

If the Obama Administration played the Ahmadinejad team in the international affairs Superbowl, I'd put my money on Iran by two touchdowns.
[The Rubin Report]
[Hat Tip: Joe S]


Egypt to Let Iranian Warships through Suez Canal

Egypt agreed to allow two Iranian warships to cross through the Suez Canal, state media reported.

Iranian Vessels Enter Suez Canal -Gil Ronin

Two Iranian warships have entered the Suez Canal on their way to the Mediterranean Sea, Canal officials said. 

There has been concern in Israel and elsewhere that the permission for the Iranian ships passage signals a rapprochement between Iran and Egypt, following the revolution against Hosni Mubarak.

Obama breaks with Israel at UN; Palestinians kick sand at Obama anyway

U.S. Agrees to Rebuke Israel in Security Council  -Colum Lynch

The U.S. informed Arab governments that it will support a UN Security Council statement reaffirming that the Council "does not accept the legitimacy of continued Israeli settlement activity," a move aimed at avoiding the prospect of having to veto a stronger Palestinian resolution calling the settlements illegal.

But the Palestinians rejected the American offer and said they are planning to press for a vote on the resolution. 

[T]he U.S. offer signaled a renewed willingness to seek a way out of the current impasse, even if it requires breaking with Israel and joining others in the council in sending a strong message to its key ally. U.S. officials were not available for comment, but two Security Council diplomats confirmed the proposal.
(Foreign Policy) 


U.S. Offers Rebuke to Israel -Richard Grenell

[A]s foreign policy experts hail the region's recent democracy movement, Rice is at the UN agreeing to condemn the Middle East's strongest democratic government.
(Huffington Post)

Assessing the Post-Veto Fallout -Jonathan S. Tobin

Obama followed in the footsteps of his predecessors and refused to allow the UN body to brand Israel a criminal lawbreaker. But the unnecessary explanation given after the vote that branded the Jewish state's position on the issue of settlements as "illegitimate" undermined any notion of U.S. support for Israel.

Had the U.S. not vetoed the resolution, it would have been the final signal that this administration really was determined to cut loose the Israelis. But by showing that the veto was cast reluctantly and with ill will, the effect is not much different.

Abbas Prefers Posturing to a Peace Process

The Obama administration has all along insisted that Abbas is willing and able to make peace with Israel - despite considerable evidence to the contrary. If the UN resolution veto has one good effect, perhaps it will be to prompt a reevaluation of a leader who has repeatedly proved both weak and intransigent.
(Washington Post)

Did U.S. Veto Hinge on One Word?  -Joe Lauria & Charles Levinson

President Obama telephoned PA President Mahmoud Abbas, offering to either adopt or abstain on the resolution if the Palestinians agreed to replace the word "illegal" with "illegitimate" in reference to the settlements, according to a person briefed on the call. But Abbas refused.
(Wall Street Journal)*

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Egyptian transformation: reflections

Egypt's Chance -Daniel Pipes

[T]he U.S. administration naively downplayed the threat of the Muslim Brotherhood, calling it but "one faction in Egypt," while his director of national intelligence, James Clapper, actually praised the brotherhood as "a very heterogeneous group, largely secular, which has eschewed violence" and pursues "a betterment of the political order in Egypt."

This nonsense points to a U.S. policy in deep disarray. In June 2009, during a would-be revolution against a hostile regime in Iran, the Obama administration stayed mum, hoping thereby to win Tehran's good will. But with Mr. Mubarak, a friendly dictator under assault, it effectively adopted George W. Bush's impatient "freedom agenda" and supported the opposition. Mr. Obama seemingly encourages street demonstrators only against our side.

Something remarkable, unpredictable and unprecedented took place in recent weeks on Egyptian streets. A leaderless mass movement galvanized large numbers of ordinary citizens, as in Tunisia days earlier. It did not rage against foreigners, scapegoat minority Egyptians, nor endorse a radical ideology; instead, it demanded accountability, liberty, and prosperity. Reports reaching me from Cairo suggest a historic turn toward patriotism, inclusion, secularism, and personal responsibility.

For confirmation, consider two polls: A 2008 study by Lisa Blaydes and Drew Linzer found 60 percent of Egyptians hold Islamist views. But a Pechter Middle East Poll last week found only 15 percent of Cairenes and Alexandrians "approve" of the Muslim Brotherhood and about 1 percent support a brotherhood president of Egypt.
[The Washington Times]

Egypt Should Take Its Time Building a Democracy -David Makovsky

Apart from an election, democracy is about building the institutions that ensure there are safeguards for individuals. It also requires an independent judiciary, a free press, minority rights, and a security apparatus that maintains the monopoly on the use of force.
Democratic transition is hard enough without pressure demanding that it be rapid. The test is not a first election, but rather whether there is a second one.
(USA Today)

Israel Loves Egypt -Abraham Rabinovich

Israelis do not expect the new regime to sever the peace treaty in the near future. But in the absence of Mubarak, relations are expected to grow steadily colder, with war somewhere down the line a scenario that cannot be dismissed.
(Washington Times)

Abbas Worried about Popular Uprising -Khaled Abu Toameh

PA President Mahmoud Abbas' decision to reshuffle the Palestinian cabinet is seen as a sign of his concern that the tsunami that swept the Tunisian and Egyptian presidents from office would sooner or later hit Ramallah. Abbas knows that without the support of a majority of Palestinians, he could end up facing a popular revolt. The downfall of Mubarak's regime is a "catastrophe" for Abbas and an award for Hamas, admitted a senior Fatah official.
(Jerusalem Post)

Iran Sees Biggest Protests in a Year  -Thomas Erdbrink & Liz Sly

In Tehran, large crowds of protesters defied tear gas to march down a major thoroughfare, chanting "Death to the dictator," in the biggest demonstration in the Iranian capital since the government effectively crushed the opposition movement in December 2009.

Many protesters wore green, the symbol of Iran's opposition movement. At least one person was reported killed and several wounded in a shooting incident connected with the protests.
(Washington Post)

Monday, February 14, 2011

Shhh: "quiet military coup" in Egypt...don't tell anyone

Mohamed Hussein Tantawi,
head of Egypt's Military Council, holds more power than Vice President Suleiman

Quiet Military Coup Was Behind Mubarak's Resignation  -Avi Issacharoff & Amos Harel

President Hosni Mubarak stepped down after what appears to have been a quiet military coup. After Mubarak's Thursday night address in which he announced he was transferring his powers to Vice President Omar Suleiman but would not resign, Egyptian military leaders, anticipating the anger of the protesters, told Mubarak that if he did not step down voluntarily the army would force him out.

The Upsides of Egypt's Revolution -Jackson Diehl

Imagine an Egypt that consistently opposes the West in international forums while relentlessly campaigning against Israel. A government that seeds its media with vile anti-Semitism and locks relations with Israel in a cold freeze. A regime that allows Hamas to import tons of munitions and Iranian rockets into Gaza.

That would be the government of Hosni Mubarak - the same one that the U.S. propped up with tens of billions of dollars in aid. If Egypt now makes a transition to genuine democracy, its foreign policy might not get much better from Washington's point of view. But it is unlikely to get worse.
(Washington Post)

Sharansky: This Is the Moment to Put Our Trust in Freedom -David Horovitz

"[I]n Iran [when demonstrations erupted after 2009 'elections'] some - big student organizations, trade unions - felt that they could go to the barricades. And millions more were sitting and waiting, with all this Facebook and Internet. But then, at that moment, [President Obama] the leader of the free world  indicated that engagement with the regime was more important than changing the regime. And immediately, it all collapsed."

"[I]t is good that it is happening in an Egypt that gets the second biggest foreign aid package from the United States. America has a lot of leverage."
(Jerusalem Post)


A Recipe for Revolution or More of the Same? -Dr. Jacques Neriah

Egypt is ruled today by the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces, under the leadership of Field Marshal Muhammad Hussein Tantawi. The country is now ruled under military law, something which the masses did not expect and which does not fit in with the idea of democratic reform.

At 76, Tantawi is no revolutionary. He and his colleagues have a lot to lose if they accede to actual demands for change. A transformation of the regime into a civilian democratic regime will not be viable for the military, and he will likely try his best to maintain the advantages his class has always enjoyed.
(Institute for Contemporary Affairs-Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs)

The Revolutionaries' Gamble on Egypt's Future -Thanassis Cambanis

The Egyptian revolutionaries have asked a military dictatorship to manage the transition in the hope that a committee of unelected generals who have spent a career defending Mubarak's order will now willingly write themselves out of power.
(Atlantic Monthly)

Friday, February 11, 2011

BreakingNews: Mubarak goes down, protesters chant "Egypt is free"...we shall see

Joy marked the resignation of Mubarak in the streets of Cairo

Mubarak Steps Down, Ceding Power to Military

President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt turned over all power to the military, and left the Egyptian capital for his resort home in Sharm el-Sheik, Vice President Omar Suleiman announced on state television.

The announcement, delivered during evening prayers in Cairo, set off a frenzy of celebration, with protesters shouting "Egypt is free!"

The Egyptian military issued a communiqué pledging to carry out a variety of constitutional reforms in a statement notable for its commanding tone. The military's statement alluded to the delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman and it suggested that the military would supervise implementation of the reforms.
[New York Times]

-Abraham Rabinovich

The chaos in Egypt raised the prospect that a hostile regime could again rise in Cairo and renounce the treaty. Should that happen, Jordan would likely renounce its treaty with Israel too and the informal relations Israel has developed with several other Arab countries would wither. Once again, Israel would find itself surrounded only by hostile neighbors.

As long as Egypt, with its million-man army, was no longer part of the confrontation, Israel felt no existential threat. Thus, Israel was able to wage two wars in Lebanon (in 1982 and 2006), put down two Palestinian intifadas and undertake a massive incursion into the Gaza Strip (in 2009) without having to cover its Egyptian flank.
(The Australian)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Saudi King Pissed @ Obama

Saudis Warned Obama Not to "Humiliate" Mubarak

Saudi Arabia has threatened to prop up embattled Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak if the Obama administration tries to force a swift change of regime in Egypt, the Times of London reported. In a testy personal telephone call on Jan. 29, Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah reportedly told President Obama not to humiliate Mubarak and warned that he would step in to bankroll Egypt if the U.S. withdrew its aid program, worth $1.5 billion annually. "Mubarak and King Abdullah are not just allies, they are close friends, and the King is not about to see his friend cast aside and humiliated," a senior Saudi source told the Times.
(Fox News)

Egypt Military in Power Grab Amid Unrest  -Hamza Hendawi

The military, already the country's most powerful institution, has taken advantage of the unrest to solidify its authority, using a combination of force and public relations to deliver what amounts to a soft coup.
(AP-Washington Post)

Egyptian Military Detains Opponents  -Chris McGreal

The Egyptian military has secretly detained hundreds and possibly thousands of government opponents since mass protests against President Mubarak began, and at least some of these detainees have been tortured, according to testimony gathered by the Guardian.

Egypt's Power Players  -Daniel Williams

In Egypt, the military is not a profession; it's a ruling caste.
(Los Angeles Times)

VideoBite: Political Satire on Egypt

A poignant piece of political satire on Egypt's transformation into...G*d knows what
[Hat Tip: LindaF]

Monday, February 07, 2011

Free Online for a limited time: The new film IRANIUM

You'll have to enter a valid email address to view this stunning film documentary

Thoughts on Islam & Democracy

Islam and Democracy -Daniel Pipes, PhD

A half millennium ago, democracy reigned nowhere; that it emerged in Western Europe resulted from many factors. 

Just as Christianity became part of the democratic process, so can Islam. This transformation will surely be wrenching and require time. The evolution of the Catholic Church from a reactionary force in the medieval period into a democratic one today, an evolution not entirely over, has been taking place for 700 years. When an institution based in Rome took so long, why should a religion from Mecca, replete with its uniquely problematic scriptures, move faster or with less contention?

For Islam to encourage political participation implies a giant shift in approach, especially toward the Sharia, its law code.

Sharia as classically understood cannot be reconciled with modern life in general, democracy in particular. For Muslims to achieve political participation means either rejecting the law's public aspects in total – as Atatürk did in Turkey – or reinterpreting them. The Sudanese thinker Mahmud Muhammad Taha offered one example of the latter when he reread the Islamic scriptures and wholesale eliminated noxious Islamic laws.

Some Islamists denounce democracy as heretical and a betrayal of Islamic values but the more clever of them, noting their own widespread popularity, have adopted democracy as a mechanism to seize power. Their success in a country like Turkey does not transform Islamists into democrats but demonstrates their willingness to adopt whatever tactics will bring them power.

Yes, with enough effort and time, Muslims can be as democratic as Westerners. But at this time, they are the least democratic of peoples and the Islamist movement presents a huge obstacle to political participation. 
[National Post]

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Where will the MidEast land?

The New Arab World Order -Robert Kaplan

The most telling aspect of the anti-regime demonstrations that have rocked the Arab world is what they are not about: They are not about the existential plight of the Palestinians under Israeli occupation; nor are they at least overtly anti-Western or even anti-American.

The demonstrators have directed their ire against unemployment, tyranny, and the general lack of dignity and justice in their own societies. This constitutes a sea change in modern Middle Eastern history.

Were demonstrations to spread in a big way to Jordan and Saudi Arabia, a catastrophe could be looming. Imagine all that weaponry the U.S. has sold the Saudis over the decades falling into the hands of Wahhabi radicals.
(Foreign Policy)


Muslim Brotherhood's Presence Grows Among Egyptian Protesters -Hamza Hendawi

Egyptian Vice President Omar Suleiman said he had invited the Muslim Brotherhood into negotiations over Egypt's future and the transition to democracy - a stunning concession to a group that the regime considers its worst enemy.

The Brotherhood's presence among protesters has visibly grown.
(AP-Washington Post)

Jordan's King Meets with Muslim Brotherhood -Ethan Bronner

Jordan's King Abdullah II, struggling to stave off growing public discontent, met with the Muslim Brotherhood for the first time in nearly a decade, where he affirmed "that it is important for them to work together to press political reform that will increase the role of citizens in decision making," according to a statement from the royal court. The Muslim Brotherhood is estimated to have the support of 25 to 30% of Jordan's six million people. Abdullah, 49, has been paying surprise visits in recent days to poor areas and villages and ordering assistance to the families he has encountered.
(New York Times)

Toward a Soft Landing in Egypt -Charles Krauthammer

Who doesn't love a democratic revolution? Who is not moved by the renunciation of fear and the reclamation of dignity in the streets of Cairo? The Egyptian awakening carries promise and hope and of course merits our support. But only a child can believe that a democratic outcome is inevitable.

We are told by sage Western analysts not to worry about the Muslim Brotherhood because it probably commands only about 30% of the vote. In a country where the secular democratic opposition is weak and fractured after decades of persecution, any Islamist party commanding a third of the vote rules the country. The primary U.S. objective is to guide a transition period that gives secular democrats a chance.

Mohamed ElBaradei, who has lived abroad for decades, has allied himself with the Muslim Brotherhood. A man with no constituency allied with a highly organized and powerful political party is nothing but a mouthpiece and a figurehead, whom the Brotherhood will dispense with when it ceases to have need of a cosmopolitan frontman.
(Washington Post)

Hamas, the Brotherhood and Egypt -Editorial

Hovering like a dark cloud over the demonstrations in Egypt is the memory of the 2006 Palestinian parliamentary elections. For critics of the Bush administration, those elections, in which Hamas scored an unanticipated win, were proof that the "freedom agenda" would only grease the way for anti-American, Islamist parties to come to power. Those who believe that a democratic Egypt is doomed to fall into the Muslim Brotherhood's hands frequently cite the 2006 elections as Exhibit A. But the lesson of those elections is that Hamas should not have been allowed to participate, not that elections should never have been held.

If the Brotherhood wants to participate in elections, it should have to promise to play by democratic rules, respect religious and social pluralism, and honor Egypt's treaty commitments, especially to Israel.
(Wall Street Journal)

A Quick Mubarak Exit Is Too Risky -Edward N. Luttwak

Elite opinion in the West is almost unanimous that Mubarak must go now. Fears of an Islamist takeover are overblown, they argue. It is not often recalled that Hamas is simply the Gaza branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, which won power by election - and now refuses to hold more elections.
[Wall Street Journal]

Desert Storm -Yossi Melman

Though Mubarak, a former commander of the air force who fought in the wars against Israel, was committed to the peace with Israel signed in 1979, he didn't allow the relationship between Egypt and Israel to prosper and be extended. Israel called it the "cold peace." But Mubarak's Egypt protected Israel's southern flank, enabling Israel to cut security budgets, enjoy economic prosperity, and divert its attention to the north, where enemies such as Hizbullah, Syria, and Iran posed much graver threats.

Israel Faces Danger in Every Direction -David Horovitz

[A]ll [of Israel's] borders are now "in play" - that the Israel Defense Forces must overhaul their strategy to meet the possibility of dangers in every direction.
The writer is editor-in-chief of The Jerusalem Post.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SNL on Mubarak

VideoBite: A winner from Saturday Night Live

Obama's kiss of death for Mubarak...and Egypt

A cartoon worth a thousand words.
Will Egypt go the way of Gaza, where Hamas ascended through a single, never to be repeated election?  Obama repeats Bush's mistake today, seeing a role for "nonsecular actors," as the news item below relates.

U.S. Open to Role for Islamists in New Egypt Government  -Paul Richter and Peter Nicholas

The Obama administration said for the first time that it supports a role for groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood, a banned Islamist organization, in a reformed Egyptian government.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said that a reformed government "has to include a whole host of important nonsecular actors that give Egypt a strong chance to continue to be [a] stable and reliable partner." The Muslim Brotherhood, the largest and best-organized Egyptian opposition group, advocates tearing up Egypt's peace treaty with Israel.
(Los Angeles Times)

U.S. Attitude toward Egypt Raises Questions for Israel -Herb Keinon

Former Mossad head Danny Yatom said in an Israel Radio interview that U.S. treatment of Egyptian President Mubarak sent a dangerous message to Washington's allies in the region - including Israel - that they could not rely on America.

"The way Obama and Hillary Clinton abandoned Mubarak at once is very problematic, and I think hints to other allies - for instance Israel - that these things can happen under certain grave circumstances to us as well, and to others." "They should have supported him [Mubarak], but demand more reform," he said.
(Jerusalem Post)