What Direction Syria?

March 28, 2011

As the tidal wave that is the Middle East Revolutions swept into Syria last week, many in the West began to ask whether this foretells the end of the Assad dynasty.  The present ruler’s father Hafez al Assad took control of Syria in 1969 in a military coup, imposing martial law under an emergency decree that has never been lifted.  His son, Bashar, a English trained dentist, has shown little desire to change the repressive tactics of his father and has followed the same anti- Zionist anti Western policies.

And why not?  The policies worked.  Maintaining an outside enemy who threatened the country with annihilation was the stock in trade of both Assads and has ensured the longevity of their minority Allawite rule.

But the risings in Daara, unthinkable a few months ago, have put the regime on notice.  The repressive tactics that resulted in the slaughter of 10,000 Shiites in Hama in 1982 and the fear ofthe the long arm Syrian Secret Service, may no longer be enough to bottle the curdling hatred of the regime.  Assad has already been seen making economic and social concessions to the demonstrators in an effort to avoid the fate of Hosni Mubarak in Egypt and Ben Ali in Tunisia.

It is probably too little, too late.  The momentum of change in the Middle East is running against him and the present occupant of the Syrian presidency  may not have the wit nor the cunning his father might have mustered to avert a coming disaster.

Meanwhile the West cannot afford to ignore the unfolding Syrian drama.  Consumed with assault on the Ghaddafi regime in Libya, it will lose a vital opportunity if it does not come to the aid of the Syrian opposition.   Syria holds the key to much of the instability inthe Middle East.  Its sponsorship of Hezbollah in Lebanon ( which has reduced that state to practical vassalage);  its alliance with Iran which is a constant threat to a nascent Iraqi democratic state and its willingness to house exiled Palestinian leaders, places it front and center in the struggle to defeat terrorists and their state sponsors.

A Syria free of the crushing dictatorship that has rul the past ed it for the  past 42 years may not suddenly become a Western ally.  But the success of  a rebellion against the Assad regime will send a voluble message to other dictatorships that change, supported, if not led by the West, was not just a fluke in Libya and Egypt and may be coming their way.

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Libyan Attack May Represent a Shift in Global Power

March 21, 2011

There is good news for internationalists in the recent coalition attacks on Libya.  The assault, led by France, with vigorous support from Britain and sanctioned by the U.N. Security Council, provides an example of the muscular application of the principle of collective security upon which the United Nations was founded.

If only the international community had mustered the same tenacity in Rwanda in 1995 or in the Sudan in this decade, then perhaps millions of innocent Africans would be alive today.

The news is not quite as good for the projection of American power.  There is no doubt that Barack Obama’s hesitancy and lack of resolve in defending those struggling for  freedom will be noted – by America’s foes and allies alike.  By adopting a multilateral approach to  addressing a threat to national security, he has begun the outsourcing of American foreign policy.

And in case there are doubts, a Ghaddafi victory does represent a threat to national security.  It offers challenges to the supply of U.S. oil; it threatens the war on terror and it presages a cycle of revenge which was exemplified 25 years ago with the downing of U.S. Air 109 over Lockerbie in Scotland.

We will learn soon enough what the outsourcing of American policy will mean for the United States’ standing in the world. The continuing failure of the same policy of multilateralism in its attempt to prevent Iran’s acquisition of nuclear weapons has only increased that country’s determination to pursue policies inimical to U.S.national security.  No one should count on the Libyan excursion acting as a precursor to an invasion of Iran.  There is no comparison in terms of international consensus.

Rather, the decision of the Obama Administration to follow rather than lead will send a message to the mullahs that they indeed have very little to fear at all from a United States whose own penchant for collective action and consistent dithering will compromise any serious efforts to permanently strangle the Iranian menace.

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Conference of the Air: The Middle East Revolutions and their Impact on Women’s Rights

March 14, 2011

American Freedom Alliance presents

Its 4th Conference of the Air

The Middle East Revolutions and their Impact on Women’s Rights

Featuring:

Wafa Sultan, Nonie Darwish, Kiran Zaidi, Parvin Dabati, Raheel Reza,

Sunday, March 20, 2011

10:00 am – 1:00 pm PDT
(1:00 PM – 4:00 pm EST)

Streamed live on the Internet and then archived.
Log in from anywhere in the world and listen at any time at:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/ WesternWordRadio

The cataclysmic events which have roiled the Middle East over the past three months have produced their share of concern around the world. Who or what will replace the dictatorial regimes of Libya, Tunisia and Egypt? What will the fallout for other Arab nations in the region and will the fragile peace agreement between Egypt and Israel survive?

Among some of the more pressing questions however, and the one most forgotten, is what do these upheavals signal for the future of Muslim women and their role in Muslim society? Do the revolutions signal greater openness to women’s participation? Or is the New Middle East going to look much like its older version? For without a greater public presence for women in Muslim society can there really be any advance towards the kind of liberty and freedom the revolutions have so far extolled?

Join AFA for a three hour Conference of the Air as Muslim women from around the world give voice to ideas and philosophies regarding their own and their compatriots’ future.

Join us at this extraordinary first time debate on issues of vital importance to the future of the United Sates and the world.

 

Click here for AFA Lecture Series Page

Contact AFA for further information at (310) 444 3085 or access AFA website www.americanfreedomalliance.org


Peter King’s Valuable Investigations

March 14, 2011

The new Chairman of Homeland Security, Peter King, has begun an overdue investigation into radicalization among America’s Muslims. For years, reporters, journalists and authors have been warning us about the increasing dangers we face from a home-grown jihad that is both nurtured and protected by an overweening political correctness which has brooked no opposition. Yet investigators such as Steve Emerson ( The Investigative Project); Robert Spencer ( JIHAD WATCH) and David Gaubatz ( author of Muslim Mafia) have made the case over and over again that there are some very serious problems emanating from the Muslim community in this country which go largely unaddressed because of fears of provoking charges of religious intolerance. Finally this ridiculous taboo has been jettisoned and our political leaders are beginning to act like grown ups who recognize they are faced with a serious internal dilemma that is not going to be dealt with by the expression of pieties about multicultural sensitivities.

The escalation of Islamic inspired attacks on American soil since 9/11( with over 30 attacks committed or foiled in the intervening ten years) should have been cause enough for several such inquiries.

Movies such as The Third Jihad and Homegrown Terrorism have given us plenty of cause for thought. Peter King is translating that thought now into action. Lets hope that political correctness does not inhibit further development of these important investigations into the problems lurking within our Muslim communities.

 

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The NPR Meltdown

March 11, 2011

The astonishing revelations that an important NPR fundraiser regards part of his network’s own listening audience with contempt shouldn’t come as a surprise to any conservative.   For decades the suspicion that the most popular public broadcasting network in the country is illiberally partisan and insensitive to conservative viewpoints has been a source of great frustration and resentment among those who believe that a tax payer funded radio network should be open to views from all quarters of the political spectrum.

But the sting that netted former NPR fundraiser Nicholas Schiller revealed far more than bias.  It  lifted a rock on a curdling hatred and seething paranoia which added together amounts to open bigotry.  And all from the mouth of an institution which regularly decries it.

Here are some of his verbatim comments:

The Tea Party is fanatically involved in people’s personal lives and very fundamental Christian — I wouldn’t even call it Christian. It’s this weird evangelical kind of move.”

Tea Party people” aren’t “just Islamaphobic, but really xenophobic, I mean basically they are, they believe in sort of white, middle-America gun-toting. I mean, it’s scary. They’re seriously racist, racist people.”

I think what we all believe is if we don’t have Muslim voices in our schools, on the air … it’s the same thing we faced as a nation when we didn’t have female voices.”

In the heavily edited tape, that last comment followed Schiller being told by one of the men that their organization “was originally founded by a few members of the Muslim Brotherhood in America.”  There’s no sign in the edited tape that Schiller reacted in any way after being told of the group’s alleged connection to an Islamic group that appeared to be connected with Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood.

Schiller is also caught laughing at a joke made by one of the men who suggests that NPR should be renamed ‘National Palestinian Radio.’

Rarely are the inner workings and thinking of an institution given such flagrant and obvious exposure.

There is little way the officers and staff of NPR can avoid being tarred with the same brush as Schiller by ascribing his comments to their errant fundraiser alone.   After all, Schiller was the leading NPR fundraiser in the country for nearly a decade.    And while it is true that fundraisers will say and do anything to close a pledge,  no one should forget that Schiller was representing a public facility with a huge national audience  and therefore bore a responsibility to be both cautious and circumspect in the expression of his own views.

Even more troubling is the revelation that radio networks like NPR, just like our universities, can be bought for the right amount of money and that the representatives of these organizations are as craven and money driven as the institutions they regularly pillory.

Of course no one  in the liberal sphere calls this bigotry since in these circles it is the prevailing belief  that only conservatives can be bigots.   But lets forget even bigotry.   Schiller’s comments reveal not just hatred and intolerance  – but a corruption that is as pervasive as it is soul deep.

NPR may now well dump its CEO and its officers.  It may dispense with its entire Board.  But nothing will save its reputation if  the partisanship for which it has become notorious is not immediately repudiated and its internal rules for fair and balanced reporting rewritten and then rigorously enforced.

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Palestinian “Peace Process” By-passes Israel and the U.S.

March 11, 2011

For seventeen years it has been dubbed the Israel-Palestinian Peace Process.  Forget, of course, that most of the “peace” took place only in the minds of  the Israelis or that the “process” has more than often seen Israeli concessions met with Palestinian intransigence.

Forget all of it.  Because the Palestinians now, after establishing their international bona fides as an oppressed minority, have sought to by-pass the very process they once co-initiated. Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas has made it clear that he has no further use for negotiations with Israel and that the path to his version of peace lies in obtaining international recognition of a Palestinian state ,within borders that the Palestinians themselves will define – and regardless of whatever the Israelis need or demand.

It is easy to understand why Abbas and his prime minister Sallam Fayyad would seek to circumvent Israel.  It is diplomatically weak and  fundamentally isolated.  It is also relatively simple to characterize Benjamin Netanyahu as a defiant hawk who has no interest in serious negotiations because that is clearly the image the world already possesses of both him and almost every one of his predecessors.

But to flout the United States – now that takes some chutzpah.  Clearly such a strategy derives from a sense that the United States itself is weak – led by a naive and ill informed president who has made a complete mess of  his Middle East policy as he has spent two years watching the Palestinians stonewall negotiations and effectively scuttle any U.S. plans for a final peace deal.

Having won the recognition of 112 countries, including eight South American nations, the Palestinians are now hoping to have at least 150 nations recognize them by September – including Spain and Britain.

What an unmitigated disaster for American foreign policy!  The notion, embedded in Obama’s thinking for two years, that only Israel should be pressured into make concessions, has tragically backfired as the Palestinians took this as a signal not that the U.S. stood resolutely by the Palestinians’ side, but that the special relationship between the United States and Israel was rapidly evaporating.

The situation might have been far different if the Palestinians had been told, in no uncertain terms, that they could expect nothing themselves from the United States – no aid, no diplomatic cover, no visits to the White House -until they reformed their education system, stopped naming streets after men and women who had slaughtered Jews and ceased constant incitement against the State of Israel.

To any cleared headed analyst these are the true obstacles which stand in the way of any effective peace agreement between Israel and a future state of Palestine.  None one mentions it because these facts are too inconvenient and don’t jibe with the established wisdom that only Israeli concessions can deliver the peace. But the Palestinians have spent years taking advantage of the world’s ignorance.  Now, to everyone’s sad amazement, a failed American policy has allowed the Palestinian Frankenstein to restlessly wander the earth seeking comfort and support from other nations who will one day turn not only turn hostile to Israel, but eventually to the United States as well.

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Guantanomo Has the Last Laugh

March 9, 2011

So there was the new president, two days following  his historic  inauguration, signing into law the order to close the Guantanomo Bay prison, ensuring that his administration, in contrast to his predecessor’s, would “ restore the standards of due process and the core constitutional values that have made this country great even in the midst of war, even in dealing with terrorism.”

A certain euphoria accompanied the signing of  the three executive orders that day – given that they fulfilled a heavily peddled campaign promise. Obama was giving notice that the new administration would no longer sanction indefinite detention of foreign nationals without trial and that the torture sanctioned by the Bush Administration, which had left an indelible stain on the nation, would be expunged.

It was of course a great deal easier to sign that executive order than it was to actually close down the prison.  For two years the administration has embarrassingly attempted to find a solution to the most obvious and glaring question posed by the potential closure:  where to put the prisoners.  According to every report and inquiry received by the new administration these guys were dangerous – lethally so – and no state in the Union seemed overly eager to receive them.

Attorney General Eric Holder’s announcement on November 13, 2009 that five of the Guantanomo inmates, including 9/11 mastermind Khald Sheikh Mohammed, would be remanded to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York for trial raised an outcry from that city and across the nation. Exactly one year later when Ahmed Ghailani, tried on 280 counts of murder and conspiracy to murder in the Kobar Towers attack in 1998 was acquitted of all but one of the charges leveled against him, the Administration began to see how bad things could go.   “Imagine,” they must have said to themselves, “if Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the admitted mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was able to walk free because of a technicality – what would it do to us and our reputation?”

In December 2010,  Congress answered that question for them. On December 22nd  it passed legislation effectively barring transfer of detainees to the U.S.  for trial.

And so now, after twenty-two months of twiddling thumbs and attempting to find an answer to the increasingly intractable problem, the Obama Administration has not only decided to keep Guantanomo open, but is now resorting to the Bush inspired decision of trying them there in military tribunals.

So the Gulag remains and the Bush era policies for detaining terrorists and trying them as prisoners of war are essentially retained.

Such sloppy, unsophisticated policy making deserves the ridicule with which the Administration is now being lacerated.  Obama is learning the hard way that it is far easier to make election promises that obtain great political mileage than it is to fulfill them – particularly when absolutely no thought has been given to how to do so.

He might be finally appreciating that the man and administration he has spent four years vilifying might actually have got it right – a lesson history could soon also be teaching many Americans – grown nostalgic for the good old days of decisive leadership.

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